FBI, federal, state agencies ready to keep the peace on inauguration day nationwide

Reporter: Rich Kolko Writer: Jack Lowenstein

The FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security and many other partners are expected be in full security mode ahead of the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden Jan. 20.

Typically, that full-scale effort would begin Jan. 19. But, in one of his final acts as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf ordered it to begin Wednesday.

What is sometimes referred to as guns, gates, and guards will come from the State to protect the people and the Capitol Building.

We spoke to Michael F. McPherson, the FBI special agent in charge in Tampa, and his people are fully engaged alongside the State.

“Our role in this area is intelligence collection and dissemination,” McPherson said. “So figure out what we can learn by people, what’s happening on line, collect the information, disseminate it to our partners including our partners up in Tallahassee, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the local law enforcement agencies, so they can prepare as well.”

Last week, people from Southwest Florida traveled to Washington D.C. as part of the protest. Some entered the Capitol.

Our Safety and Security Specialist said there was clearly a lack of preparation last week. That won’t happen again. There will be more fences, more protection and more officers.

“If you do go, and you do cross that threshold, they’ll be plenty of law enforcement there to disrupt you and hold you accountable for what you do,” McPherson said. “This is a very serious situation, and acts of violence will not be tolerated.”

Investigators are actively searching for people in Southwest Florida who entered the Capitol Building unlawfully. Each of the 56 FBI field offices are involved.

“We are getting leads from our Washington field office to go out and identify people,” McPherson said. “We’ve arrested somebody already down in the Sarasota area. There will be more arrests to come, and we continue to investigate and collect intelligence.”

The FBI’s goal is to identify everyone, interview them and find every video and gather all the evidence, information and intelligence they can.

“If people entered the capitol, we want to know who they were and what they did and what they know,’ McPherson said. “We take it very seriously, and we intend to run down every lead out there of everybody that we can identify who entered the Capitol.”

You can submit a tip and add videos and pictures anonymously.

McPherson asked anyone with information to call it in and encourages anyone there to go ahead and turn themselves in.

MORE: FBI- Submit a Tip

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