A 127-page Senate report examining the Capitol riot of January 6 details how intelligence failures ahead of the attack contributed to the chaos that forced lawmakers to scramble for safety. The report is the first full review of the attack from a congressional committee and comes as Democrats and Republicans are starkly divided on the creation of a commission to more completely investigate the event.
The report, a joint effort from the Senate Rules Committee and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says the bureaucracy delayed in getting assistance to Capitol Police officers who were overwhelmed by the large mob of ex-President Donald Trump’s supporters, who’d stormed the Capitol at his behest in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 general election.
“The failures are obvious. I think to me it was all summed up by one of the things in our report where one of the officers was heard on the radio that day asking the tragically simple question: ‘Does anybody have a plan?’ Sadly, no one did,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who chairs the Senate Rules Committee.
Among the reports findings:
- “The federal Intelligence Community—led by FBI and DHS—did not issue a threat assessment warning of potential violence targeting the Capitol on January 6.” –– “Law enforcement entities, including USCP, largely rely on FBI and DHS to assess and communicate homeland security threats… Despite online calls for violence at the Capitol, neither the FBI nor DHS issued a threat assessment or intelligence bulletin warning law enforcement entities in the National Capital Region of the potential for violence. “
- “USCP’s intelligence components failed to convey the full scope of threat information they possessed.” –– “Although USCP mainly relies on the FBI and DHS for intelligence and threat information, USCP has three components responsible for intelligence-related activities. These components, and the materials they produce, are supposed to inform USCP’s security and operational planning. This, however, was not the case for January 6.”
- “USCP was not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to the January 6 security threats, which contributed to the breach of the Capitol.” –– “Steven Sund, the USCP Chief on January 6, and Yogananda Pittman, who was designated as Acting Chief after Steven Sund announced his resignation on January 7, both attributed the breach of the Capitol to intelligence failures across the federal government… USCP leadership also failed to provide front-line officers with effective protective equipment or training.”
- “Opaque processes and a lack of emergency authority delayed requests for National Guard assistance.” –– “The USCP Chief has no unilateral authority to request assistance from the National Guard; the USCP Chief must submit a request for assistance to the Capitol Police Board for approval… The members of the Capitol Police Board who were in charge on January 6 did not appear to be fully familiar with the statutory and regulatory requirements for requesting National Guard support, which contributed to the delay in deploying the National Guard to the Capitol.”
- “The intelligence failures, coupled with the Capitol Police Board’s failure to request National Guard assistance prior to January 6, meant DCNG was not activated, staged, and prepared to quickly respond to an attack on the Capitol. As the attack unfolded, DOD required time to approve the request and gather, equip, and instruct its personnel on the mission, which resulted in additional delays.” –– “Miscommunication and confusion during response preparations, demonstrated by conflicting records about who authorized deployment and at what time, contributed to the delayed deployment.”
The Senate committees offered several recommendations, including ensuring that the Capitol Police has enough training, equipment, and personnel in the event of future threats. The committees further suggested that lawmakers change the existing statute so that the Capitol Police chief is empowered to request National Guard assistance in emergencies. Intelligence gathering operations should also be centralized, they noted, and establish operational plans for special events.
The full report is available to read HERE.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.