Authorities believe military-like ‘small unit tactics’ were utilized during Capitol incursion: Report

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Federal law enforcement sources believe the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building was planned in advance after noting military-like “small unit tactics” being employed during the assault, according to reports Thursday.

If accurate, it could mean the incursion into the Capitol was not the result of a demonstration by supporters of President Donald Trump simply gone awry, or that those who planned it even backed the president.

“#CapitolRiot SCOOP: A law enforcement official confirms @CBSNews the identification of individuals using military or ‘small unit tactics’ is among the ‘highest priorities’ for DC US Attorney’s Sedition Task Force,” CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge wrote on Twitter.

“Video footage + eyewitness accounts of the apparent use of these tactics (trained to military + law enforcement) drew immediate scrutiny from investigators,” she continued.

“CBS News has learned these tactics were witnessed both OUTSIDE + INSIDE the Capitol Building. NOTE: These tactics are commonly used in hostile, unknown environments to clear rooms + reach mission objectives. They can include hand signals or physical contact, to unify the group + communicate directions. These are TRAINED behaviors (my emphasis),” Herridge noted further.

CNN filed a similar report Thursday.

“Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack on the US Capitol was not just a protest that spiraled out of control, a federal law enforcement official says, Evan Perez reported.

As part of their probe, FBI investigators are looking at indications that some people who attended President Trump’s Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, near the White House, left early, possibly to retrieve pre-positioned items that were later used in the breach, Perez added.

Investigators are also examining a potential “command-and-control aspect” to the riot by focusing on travel records and communications to see if it is possible to put together a case that resembles a counterterrorism probe, one official told the network.

Among the more than 126,000 digital tips received from the public “that appear to show some members of Congress with people who later showed up at the Capitol riot,” law enforcement sources told Perez.

On Wednesday, BizPac Review reported that Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), in a Facebook video to her constituents, said she saw some congressional members leading people through the Capitol in what she described as a “reconnaissance” tour.

Saying that she backed measures to hold President Trump and “those responsible” for the incursion to account, Sherrill added: “I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him, those members of Congress who had groups coming through the capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day.”

“Those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd. Those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable,” she continued without citing any lawmakers by name.

Perez also did not name any lawmakers but did report that it “doesn’t mean members of Congress and staff are under investigation,” just that at present, “the FBI is checking the veracity of the claims,” according to law enforcement sources.

Democrats and some Republicans have claimed that President Trump “incited” the attack on the Capitol, which they have characterized as an “insurrection.” The thus-far unsubstantiated allegation was nonetheless utilized as the basis for the Democrat-controlled House’s unprecedented second impeachment vote on Wednesday.

Previous reporting has noted that federal investigators and other law enforcement officials believe the attack was pre-planned.

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Jon Dougherty

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