CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nearly eight weeks after a huge, angry mob overpowered security officers and stormed the U.S. Capitol - looking to capture or kill several top American officials - the Justice Department on Friday promised that such a domestic terror plot would never again be executed.
The Jan. 6 attack was "not America and it will not happen again," said Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin during a call with some U.S reporters about how DOJ is ramping up resources for a potential next wave of domestic terror. The ABC7Chicago I-Team was on the call with Carlin.
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"We must return to an America where no one fears violence for who they are or what they believe," said Carlin, who previously worked as an assistant attorney general under the Obama administration and was chief of staff for Robert Mueller when Mueller was director of the FBI.
A few weeks ago when Carlin was sworn in as acting deputy attorney general, he described being unnerved by the appearance of checkpoints, armed agents and "hallways filled with hundreds of soldiers" who were in place protecting the U.S. Capitol.
Since the Capitol assault following a Jan. 6 political rally hosted by outgoing President Donald Trump, federal authorities have charged "more than 300" people according to Carlin and arrested at least 280 suspected violent extremists.
The I-Team reported on Thursday that FBI officials are currently looking for more suspects than have been arrested.
Federal agents are now circulating pictures of the unidentified men and women who were seen in and around the Capitol on January 6, a photo array aimed at trying to put names on the faces. Some of the most-wanted individuals are depicted wearing tactical outfits including body armor and shields, others are adorned in Trump paraphernalia, a few are pictured with makeshift weaponry clashing with police.
The Justice Department briefing came one day after the acting chief of U.S. Capitol Police said that militia groups were winding up for another D.C. attack, timed for President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech sometime this year.
Carlin pledged that federal law enforcement was putting together a response plan for all extremist threats that includes the "detection, disruption and deterrence of domestic extremism."
The primary threat to American targets today is the "lone offender," according to a senior FBI official who spoke on Friday's call with the I-Team and other news organizations. The official said that investigators today have "far less time to detect and prevent" attacks than at any time in the past and that domestic terrorists have claimed more lives in recent years than foreign terrorists.
"2019 was the deadliest year since the Oklahoma City bombing" of a federal building there on April 19, 1995.
Federal officials on Friday said they were adopting an "all tools approach" to battling the surge in domestic terrorism, bringing together widely-based U.S. agencies with state and local law enforcement organizations who would have a full range of criminal charges to detain suspects.
Arrestees from the Jan. 6 attack are facing weapons and explosive charges and hate crimes offenses as well as other federal felonies, in some cases having been elevated from initial misdemeanor charges.
The aim of U.S. agencies now is to "disrupt and hold accountable" all of those who were involved in the Jan. 6 attack and those who may be planning future attacks, the senior DOJ official said.
Feds pledge another DC domestic terror attack 'will not happen again'