n the wake of the Capitol riots, which left four dead and 52 arrested, a former FBI agent shared a message of reassurance and warning: the culprits will be found.
In an interview on America’s Newsroom on Thursday, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson shared insight into the steps that will be taken to track down those who committed the egregious acts of violence on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for any information that may help identify the pro-Trump protesters that participated in the violence as lawmakers were in the process of certifying the Electoral College votes won by Joe Biden.
“We know that this was instigator-generated. It didn’t just happen,” Coulson said. “There were people there that came to do it and generated it and caused this horrible mayhem.”
While it may seem next to impossible to find those that caused the mayhem, Coulson said that there are plenty of ways that justice will be served.
“First of all, cameras. There are cameras all over the place,” he said. “Also, remember that those police officers that were attacked, they had body cameras on…FBI and Secret Service and other institutions have very good facial recognition ability and they captured all that stuff,” he added. “It all becomes digitized.”
He urged that in the coming days and weeks, law enforcement agencies will have plenty of information.
“The FBI will see if other people were involved in other riots. There is a possibility. There is a culture in this country, people go from riot to riot,” he said. “They will have the cell phones of the people that got arrested. That’s going to be a treasure trove of information.”
Coulson, who worked for the FBI on Capitol Hill for many years, also praised the Capitol police for their acts of heroism.
“I know the Capitol police are taking a lot of hits,” he said. “They protected those members. They didn’t protect the building, but a lot of members up there who are very fragile and had they confronted these rioters think of the injuries that would have occurred,” he added.
“They acted valiantly. Not well prepared, but acted with heroism, as far as I’m concerned.”
Perhaps one of the most widely asked questions after the riot ensued is: why weren’t police more prepared?
Coulson said that they should have been more prepared, but that it was quite unexpected for a Trump march to turn violent.
“I think they should have been, but I think one thing to remember is that Trump rallies are historically very very peaceful and I think they were shocked at what happened. I think they didn’t account for agitators. I think that is the problem,” he said.
“The chief of police from L.A. is right. I dealt with crowd control, and I will tell you, once they get going you can’t stop them. There’s a very significant visual image of a lone Capitol policeman in a stairway trying to fight off the mob by himself. Why weren’t there more people there? I think that’s a question that has to be answered. It was scary,” he added.