Cyber Security Expert Says It's Harder Tracking Threats OnlineBy WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fears of violence at the Minnesota State Capitol this weekend did not materialize.

Reporters, state troopers, and National Guard members far outnumbered the handful of peaceful protesters who showed up.

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However, Gov. Tim Walz says the state will stay the course with heavy security, especially through this week.

The heavy security presence in St. Paul was triggered by an FBI warning from December that the anti-government group had cased the Minnesota State Capitol. Walz says law enforcement is continuing to monitor online chatter and data and, while there are no new specific threats, security will remain heavy.

“We will certainly keep that posture in place through the inauguration,” Walz said. “Maybe some folks got that message and that some folks decided not to come, not to show up.”

Cyber Security expert Mike Olson says keeping the heavy security presence is the right move.

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“I would much rather see them err on the side of caution,” he said.

Olson, a former U.S. Secret Service Agent, says tracking extremists on social media has suddenly gotten much harder. Thousands of users left or were banned from Twitter after President Trump was banned, and Parler, another popular site, has gone dark.

“It became a lot harder to track, follow where people are going and follow what is being said,” Olson said.

In addition, the Walz administration says it’s reviewing the state’s open carry law that allows permitted gun owners to carry openly in public and on the capitol grounds. That discussion and review will certainly be politically charged.

Gun rights advocates are certain to fight back and recent attempts at gun control in the divided Minnesota legislature have gone absolutely nowhere.

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Olson says massive shows of security like at the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. have been shown to help deter violent incidents.