- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2016

The heads of the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation expressed concern Thursday over the possibility of violence at the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is planning to travel to Cleveland on Friday ahead of the start of the GOP convention next week and to Philadelphia next week to personally inspect the security in place in both cities for the upcoming conventions.

“I am concerned about the prospect of demonstrations getting out of hand,” Mr. Johnson said Thursday during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am concerned about the possibility of violence.”

Various groups have encouraged members to arm themselves in Cleveland, where the open carry of firearms is allowed.

But the call for citizens to carry firearms at the convention comes as authorities are on edge after a lone gunman last week killed five police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in a sniper-style attack in Dallas, where open carry is also permitted.

Reuters reported that the New Black Panther Party urged members to carry firearms to protect themselves, though that report is now apparently in dispute, and The New York Times reported that the Oath Keepers plan to attend events in Cleveland with firearms.

Mr. Johnson said that while there is worry about demonstrations getting out of control, there will be a large security presence at both conventions, including thousands of law enforcement officers and more than 3,000 DHS personnel.

Ahead of the conventions, FBI Director James B. Comey said agents are keeping a close eye on any potential threats of domestic terrorism given the number of radical groups expected to attend both events.

“Anytime there is a national spotlight on a political event in the United States, there’s a risk that groups that aspire to do just that, to engage in acts of domestic terrorism, will be attracted,” Mr. Comey said. “It’s a threat we are watching very, very carefully.”

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