A new report by Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Committee shows that America's federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies failed to recognize the serious threats posed by raiders on the United States Capitol. and other right-wing extremists in the lead up to the deadly attack on the headquarters of Congress that occurred on January 6, 2021.
The report titled “Planned by Eye: A Review of Intelligence Failures Before January 6, 2021”, was released Tuesday and details how federal officials from the Department of Homeland Security ( DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other law enforcement agencies downplayed the legitimacy of extremists' online threats and attempts to organize in preparation for the riots on Capitol Hill.
Investigators determined that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, known as the I&A, “did not issue sufficient warnings based on available intelligence indicating that January 6 could turn violent.”
For example, referring to the FBI, the report noted: “This investigation found that part of the reason the FBI did not took further steps to warn its federal partners and the public because it did not seriously consider the possibility that the threatened actions actually took place, dismissing each individual threat as not credible. in isolation, but did not fully consider the full range of threats and violent rhetoric associated with such a controversial event”.
The Senate Committee report cited instances in which the FBI recorded numerous online threats, some of which planned to “invade the capitol building,” which contrasted with an internal FBI email that said the Bureau of The agency's field in Washington, DC “does not have any information to suggest that these events will involve anything other than [First Amendment] protected activity.”
The email added that they had not identified any credible or verified threat to activities associated with January 6, 2021.
Not failures due to lack of information
The failures brought to the attention of the national intelligence community were not because information was not obtained, but because while multiple leads were obtained from numerous sources in the days and weeks leading up to the assault, those leads were not registered as alarms, highlights the report.
The report, written by committee chair Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and staff, provides specific examples of threats of violence and plans for an attack on the Capitol that were collected by agencies prior to May 6. January, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A).
Investigators also found that a lack of coordination between federal agencies led to confusion when the assault was taking place. to the Capitol.
The report recommends that DHS and the FBI should “conduct full internal reviews of their actions in the lead up to January 6” and “improve their processes for evaluating and sharing intelligence (including open source intelligence on social media)”, to avoid similar failures in the future.
The report concludes that agencies consistently downplayed the potential for violence and, as a result, the government did not prepare the proper security apparatus to protect the country's capital that day.