Records Show Interior Officials Knew Climate Protesters Might Turn Violent But Didn’t Stop Them
- January 30, 2023
Tristan Justice, The Federalist
Internal records made public by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show officials at the Department of the Interior downplayed the threat presented by left-wing climate protesters who, in October 2021, launched what could be called an insurrection by Democrats’ standards.
On Oct. 14, 2021, a swarm of demonstrators with the group People vs. Fossil Fuels stormed the Department of the Interior’s D.C. headquarters to conclude five days of activism in the nation’s capital. Fifty-five protesters were arrested in the demonstrations that turned violent, and “multiple injuries were sustained by security personnel,” according to the Interior Department. One officer was hospitalized.
Records compelled by the nonprofit government watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust show agency leaders were caught off guard and unprepared for the eruption of violence despite clear warnings of unrest.
On the morning of the riot, Mili Gosar, the deputy chief of staff for operations in the secretary’s office, commiserated with colleagues about protesters outside the building.
“Hey all, just a heads up if you’re in the building, Lt. [REDACTED] just called me to say there were about 30 protestors inside the building at C st. and another 60 or so outside,” she wrote. “I’m sure they’re friendly and everything is fine, but just passing along the message in case anyone is trying to head out for lunch or anything like that!”
About 15 minutes later, Interior Department Communications Director Melissa Schwartz responded with a word of caution.
“Not friendly,” Schwartz wrote. “And everyone should avoid C Street, thanks.”