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Feds Monitoring Activists on Facebook Ahead of Republican Convention

Federal authorities are watching political activists organizing protests ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention, warning that “anarchist extremists” pose a threat to Cleveland.

A “threat assessment” issued jointly by the FBI, Secret Service, and Department of Homeland Security warns law enforcement to be on the lookout for “potential indicators” of “violent anarchist extremist activity.” The indicators include “pilfering construction sites” for rocks, pipes, or bricks and “movement of newspaper containers and trashcans to create barricades” — but also carrying spray paint, eye drops, or wearing “clothing bearing anarchist symbols.”

The document, obtained by The Intercept, is dated July 7 and marked “For Official Use Only.” It says that the agencies had “no information to indicate a specific, credible threat to or associated with” the convention but also warns of the potential for a “lone wolf” terrorist attack or violence from Donald Trump supporters or people coming to protest him.

The only specific group identified in the document is described as “a known anarchist extremist network known as the Resist the Cleveland RNC,” which “is assisting anarchists by providing logistical support, training, and a communications platform for anarchist activities including anarchist extremist violence.” It notes that “known anarchist extremists” from Cleveland and elsewhere “have discussed the 2016 RNC and made plans to travel to Cleveland.”

The only evidence of the “network” provided is a link to a public Facebook page that describes itself as “dedicated to spreading information about the resistance to the 2016 RNC.” People have posted articles and basic information about the convention, links to the National Lawyer’s Guild and local medics, and events like “Stand Together Against Trump March and Rally,” “Art Making,” and “Circle the City with Love.” A second page cited in the report is titled “resistRNC Cleveland 2016 Transport Squad” and mainly consists of links to news articles about the convention and occasional requests to coordinate housing or rides.

A recent post on the page says, “This is not a organization. At all. This is just a page to share information.” …

 

“If you’re posting something on Facebook publicly, everyone can access it, including the government,” said Gary Daniels, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. “People would have to be awfully naïve to think that these things aren’t being monitored for people coming to Cleveland for the RNC.” …

 

The post Feds Monitoring Activists on Facebook Ahead of Republican Convention appeared first on The Intercept.

PRMG Analysis

Social media monitoring for protective intelligence and threat assessment purposes is standard practice for high-profile events, executive protection, and other security applications.

PRMG intelligence analysts monitor traffic on social media channels, pinpoint and locate those who may cause problems. The information is then forwarded to agents on the ground who can “be on the look out” for those individuals. When warranted, we seek out the individual for a conversation before the event.

Social media chatter often provides an excellent source of actionable intelligence for security purposes.


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