Inauguration Day

Former FBI Special Agent: ‘Law Enforcement Has to Wake Up'

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Though no specific threats have been identified in the San Diego area, the FBI is monitoring the possibility of armed protests and resulting unrest leading up to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. Meanwhile, states are tightening security at their capitals, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he's ready to call in the National Guard if needed.

FBI former special agent Eric Jackson told NBC 7 he was sad and angry watching a huge mob easily breach the Capitol last week. After 21 years of working to protect the country from potential terrorist attacks, Jackson said Jan. 6 was an important lesson. Looking ahead to Inauguration Day, he said when it comes to security, law enforcement has to be ready this time.

"It was a monumental failure on law enforcement leadership," Jackson said, "Law enforcement has to wake up, it was a very painful wakeup."

Jackson said the FBI is now focusing on identifying and investigating the individuals and domestic terrorist groups that stormed the Capitol.

"These groups are not a surprise to any member of law enforcement," Jackson said. " We know who they are. We understand who the Proud Boys are, who the Boogaloo Boys are, these white supremacy organizations ... we know who they are and they hide under First Amendment speech."

While Jackson said he respects the rights of people to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are not focused on peaceful protesters, but, rather, on those threatening violence and the destruction of property.

The San Diego police and San Diego County Sheriff's Department told NBC7 they have no intelligence or information of any local threats. They did say, however, that violent actions would not be tolerated and they are ready to respond appropriately to any incident.

NBC 7 asked Mayor Todd Gloria about the city's plan for any violence leading up to or on Inauguration Day. His office sent a statement, that mirrored what the San Diego Police Department said.

Jackson said that, while details of any law enforcement plans may not be publicly released, having a plan in place is a high priority.

"When it's time to go, there should be absolutely no hesitation or confusion on putting this together," Jackson said.

Jackson also said that if people are arrested and charged and found guilty, the consequences need to be "as swift as possible."

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