Brigid Kennedy, Contributing WriterTue, August 17, 2021, 1:59 PM
WashingtonTunnels.com — an obscure website detailing the underground tunnel and pipe systems in Washington, D.C. — reportedly saw a “sudden and suspicious” spike in web traffic in the days leading up to the Capitol insurrection, reports NBC Washington.
The niche site includes maps and details of both the Hill’s underground transit rail system and its “heavily traveled” underground tunnels, which “connect the Capitol building to House and Senate Office buildings, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Visitor Center,” per NBC.
On Jan. 1, 2021, WashingtonTunnels.com started to see traffic grow nationwide — a notable departure from the “narrow but devoted” group of locals who typically frequent the page. And a deeper analytics review revealed many visits to be coming from “hyperlinks shared on anonymous message boards, sites and forums named after militias or firearms, or using Donald Trump’s name,” NBC reports.
“These people were suddenly obsessed with the Capitol building,” said Elliot Carter, the site’s founder and administrator. Worried the dramatic increase in visitors meant people were seeking escape routes or entry points to the Capitol ahead of January’s electoral vote count, Carter decided to contact the FBI, reports NBC.
Although Carter never received a response, a June U.S. Senate Rules Committee review reportedly mentioned the FBI having received an “online tip” regarding an increase in traffic on WashingtonTunnels.com.
Carter took the site offline for a short stint following the events of Jan. 6 but has since reposted it. He added that the page does not contain information that isn’t publicly available elsewhere. Read more at NBC Washington.