April 14, 2009
National Guard on Alert for Violence from TEA Party Protesters?
A reader just sent me a Force Protection Advisory issued by the Maryland National Guard dated April 9, two days after the DHS report. It warns that during the protests that Guardsmen and Guard facilities might become "targets of opportunity."
There is a list of TEA party protest sites in Maryland included.
WTF? Leftwing protesters might show up at National Guard offices, but rightwing protesters are almost universally pro-military. If any one from the National Guard shows up at the protest in uniform (which they aren't supposed to do, but hypothetically) I'm betting he'll have a lot of high-fives, back-slaps, thank-yous, and more than a single offer to buy him a beer.
Oddly, the contact e-mail is for the Antiterrorism Program Coordinator.
One of three things is going on here:
1) There is some intel that the public isn't aware of connecting extremists to the TEA Party movement.
2) The Maryland National Guard is just being overcautious -- perhaps these kinds of memos are sent out for all major protests?
3) Someone somewhere is unable to distinguish between mainstream conservative resentment of Obama's disastrous economic policies -- which the TEA Party movement represents -- and fringe conspiracy and supremacist groups.
I'm hoping it's number 2. In fact, since the recommendations from the memo are that there be no change in alert status, I'm guessing it's just an over precautionary measure. But it does warn National Guardsmen to stay out of the protest area.
I asked the reader if she got this at another blog and she said she hadn't but it was given to her by a friend. Apologies if others have this up already, but I've been preoccupied with other matters and haven't been following this closely.
Here's the text of the memo. I've redacted the email from it and the name of the individual who produced the report.
UPDATE: I just got an email from an old friend who works in government security and he says #2 is right:
Anything that could impact forces - including transiting to/from a base - is included in FPAs. They do them for protests by the left (there was one by animal rights folks protesting pigs being used in military experiments testing damage from roadside bombs) to right (like when the Phelps family showing up to spew their vitriol). All the other stuff in it is boilerplate.Which kind of backs up my initial feeling about it. So, this is probably just a case of someone knowing a protest was coming up and then adding it to a boilerplate memo.
Possibly bad judgment thinking protesters = kooks, but then again you have to admit most of the time it's the kooks that come out to protests. Which is why the right has far fewer protests than the left.
Here it is anyway:
HEADQUARTERS, MARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL GUARD 13620 Meuse Argonne Circle Camp Fretterd Military Reservation Reisterstown, Maryland 21136
JFHQ-MDARNG-G3 9 April 2009
MEMORANDUM FOR SEE DISTRIBUTION
SUBJECT: Planned TEA Party Protests (FPCON Advisory 09-004)
1. (U) This Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG) Force Protection advisory is in response to a nationwide planned protest activities scheduled for April 15, 2009. Although there is no known direct threat to MDNG facilities and MDNG members, they may become a target of opportunity during plan protest activities throughout Maryland.
2. (U) FORCE PROTECTION CONDITIONS.
a. (U) USNORTHCOM FPCON baseline for the continental United States, Alaska, and Canada remains unchanged at ALPHA.
b. (U) MDARNG is not recommending a FPCON baseline change at this time.
3. (U//FOUO) SITUATION: Numerous entities have formed recently to express displeasure/anger over recent federal/state government actions: more taxes, increased spending, higher deficits, a surge of borrowing to pay for it all, bailout of the financial institutions, and etc. This movement can be identified by different variations of “TEA Party” or “Tea Party.” Past “TEA Party” events have been peaceful. There was a “Tea party” event at Solomons, Maryland, on March 22, 2009. “TEA” stands for “Taxed Enough Already.”
4. (U) KNOWN LOCATIONS AND EVENTS: According various websites and open source information, planned protest locations and time on April 15 in Maryland are:
Annapolis, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Campbell Park (Dock/Boardwalk), Annapolis Harbor
Baltimore, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, The Inner Harbor
Bel Air, 12:00 pm, Bel Air Courthouse Plaza on Main Street
Cecil County, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Elkton Christian Academy, 144 Appleton Road
Frederick, 3:00 pm, City Hall then march to Winchester Hall
Cumberland, 12:00 pm, Baltimore and Mechanic Streets
Havre de Grace, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Tydings Park Gazebo
Salisbury, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm, Downtown Salisbury
Westminster, 6:30 pm, Legends Cafe off of Route 140 in Westminster
Washington DC, 12:00pm-2:00pm, US Treasury Department - National Stage; 11:00am-3:00pm Lafayette Park - Grassroots Stage (not MD)
5. (U) FORCE PROTECTION RECOMMENDATIONS:
a. (U) Full-time personnel (i.e. armories) and recruiters need to be aware their surroundings. Contact local law enforcement when feel threaten by protesters or protesters trespass into MDNG property.
b. (U//FOUO) Commanders at all levels should establish relationship with local police in order to understand the local threats. Keep family members informed. Talk to other service personnel to share information. Practice OPSEC. Don’t provide personal information to anyone you don’t know. Avoid high risk areas.
c. (U//FOUO) Commanders are encouraged to update alert rosters and review emergency evacuation plans/rally points. Ensure all facilities have emergency phone lists posted (i.e. FBI, FIRE, POLICE, HOSPITALS, EMS, ETC…). Be aware of and avoid local protests. Report all potential protest activities to your next higher headquarters.
d. (U//FOUO) Continue implementation of RAM and a review of policies and procedures, especially in regards to cooperation or assistance with local emergency responders.
5. POC is Antiterrorism Program Coordinator, --[redacted- at (410) 702-[redacted] or by e-mail [redacted]@us.army.mil
[Redacted LTC author's name]