A video circulating online purports to show US soldiers posted in Washington in anticipation of a forthcoming civil war. This is false; the footage was taken more than three years ago when thousands of National Guard troops were deployed after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
"AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: The US Army is deployed around the White House," says a January 27, 2024 post on X, formerly Twitter.
The post includes a TikTok video of people in fatigues in front of the US Capitol -- not the White House, as it claims.
Another X post sharing footage of troops in front of a different building says: "OVER 1 MILLION MILITARY ARE NOW ACROSS THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE ARRESTS."
Similar claims have circulated on X and other platforms -- including in Spanish. Many allege martial law has been declared, with one Facebook user linking the video to rising tensions over immigration.
The posts surfaced after a Supreme Court ruling that sided with the federal government in allowing Border Patrol agents to remove barbed wire barriers along the US-Mexico border. The ruling sparked a standoff between the Biden administration and Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, whose state continues to fortify the banks of the Rio Grande.
Abbott has invoked Texas's constitutional authority to defend and protect itself, but the footage is unrelated to his actions. It was taken in January 2021, when thousands of National Guard troops were sent to Washington after Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol while Congress gathered to certify Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.
"There are more U.S. troops in Washington than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined with new threats of extremist violence ahead of the inauguration," the caption says.
MSNBC's footage and the clip shared online have several identical elements, including parked vehicles, a sign, cones in the street and a barricade.
The other video circulating on social media is similarly outdated.
This morning in front of the Capitol: pic.twitter.com/fkm95tVIuO
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 19, 2021
AFP photographers also documented the militarization of the streets surrounding the Capitol in 2021.