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FBI: No specific threats of armed protest in Maine, N.H., Mass., R.I., but that could change

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI officeDavid L. Ryan/Globe Staff/David L Ryan, Globe Staff

The special agent in charge of the FBI Boston office said Tuesday that the bureau had no information on credible threats to any of the four New England state capitols in his jurisdiction, but he warned things could change “in a second.”

“What I’ll say is, speaking for the FBI Boston division” which covers Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is that “we are currently not in receipt of any credible information regarding violent activity in or around the capitol buildings, or anywhere else for that matter, connected to the events of Jan. 6 or the upcoming inauguration,” said Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta at a news conference in Chelsea on an unrelated murder investigation.


However, he said, “I want to be clear ... that intelligence can change by the second. And if and when it were to ... I would like all of you to know and the public to know that we are fully in synch with our federal, state and local partners.”

He said the FBI Boston office leads five separate Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

“And if there were any relevant information, it would immediately be disseminated, and if there were any other assistance needed by the FBI on behalf of our partners regarding investigations, forensic, or any type of other technical expertise, we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with our partners,” he said.

Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross also briefly addressed security concerns stemming from last week’s mob assault on the US Capitol.

“We’re very cognizant of what happened in D.C. at the Capitol,” Gross said during the same news conference. “Again, we’re going to rely on our state, local and federal partnership, as well as our members of the city of Boston and our Commonwealth to keep us in the know.”


Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday at a separate coronavirus briefing at the State House that officials didn’t know of any specific threats to the Commonwealth in the coming days.

“There are currently no known threats with respect to the State House or any other public building,” said Baker. “And we will continue to monitor and track the information that’s out there, and we will be appropriately prepared for anything that might happen.”

Baker said his team’s been “talking to our colleagues in local law enforcement, at the Mass. State Police, and at the federal level on a very regular basis now for months. And we continue to engage with them, based on the intelligence they gather and what they know and what they expect and anticipate. And that process is going to continue.”

The violent mob incited by President Trump that overran the US Capitol on Wednesday has raised alarms about state capitol security and prompted officials across the country to reexamine their security measures, the Globe reported Monday. Tensions are rising as the clock ticks down toward the Jan. 20 inauguration of Democratic president-elect Joe Biden.

An internal FBI bulletin warned that armed protests were being planned at all 50 state capitols from Sunday through at least Jan. 21, as well as at the US Capitol from Monday through Jan. 20, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, the Maine Department of Public Safety said it is preparing for potential events in Augusta on Jan. 17 and 20.


Maine State Police are in contact with federal agencies and are analyzing received intelligence and tips to maintain situational awareness, the statement said.

The Capitol Police has increased its presence around the state house building in Augusta, according to the statement.

“In the coming days, the Capitol Police will continue to adjust protocols appropriately, when and as needed,” the department said.

Correspondent Christine Mui contributed to this story.

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