‘Does anybody have a plan?’ New Senate report details security, intelligence failures before Jan. 6 attack

‘Does anybody have a plan?’ New Senate report details security, intelligence failures before Jan. 6 attack

June 8, 2021

WASHINGTON – A new Senate report on the Jan. 6 insurrection found U.S. intelligence officials failed to warn of potential violence at the U.S. Capitol, leaving law enforcement unprepared to contend with a violent mob that wanted to overturn the 2020 election.

The report also pointed to delays in getting National Guard support amid the attack but stopped short of calling for a permanent assignment at the Capitol — a prospect criticized by lawmakers of both parties who don’t want to militarize a public institution.

“Capitol Hill police were put in an impossible situation,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “Without adequate intelligence, training and equipment, they didn’t have the tools they needed to protect the Capitol. That’s the hard truth.”

The report published Tuesday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees offers a pointed assessment of security and intelligence failures surrounding the attack by former President Donald Trump’s supporters. The panels held oversight hearings, reviewed thousands of documents and received written statements from 50 Capitol Police officers as part of a probe that began earlier this year.

The bipartisan group of senators noted that seven people “ultimately lost their lives” from the attack, including an officer who died from natural causes the day after being sprayed with chemicals by rioters and two officers who died by suicide in the following days.

The report also found:

  • Neither the FBI nor the Department of Homeland Security issued formal intelligence bulletins or threat assessments despite repeated online threats, including one flagged by the FBI that called on people to “go there ready for war.”
  • FBI and DHS officials did not believe the online posts were credible and said most of the rhetoric was “First Amendment protected speech.”
  • The Capitol Police Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division had information about potential violence, including plots to breach the Capitol and the online sharing of its tunnel maps. Those officials did not share all of their intelligence with leadership and rank-and-file officers, leaving the department ill-prepared for Jan. 6. 
  • The division was also inconsistent in its view of the threat. A Jan. 3 special assessment indicated that protesters could become violent and target Congress. In the following days, daily intelligence reports prepared without supervisory review ranked the likelihood of civil disobedience from “remote” to “improbable.”
  • Capitol Police were not adequately trained to respond to civil disturbances and were not uniformly provided shields, gas masks and other equipment.
  • Capitol Police didn’t have a comprehensive staffing plan, and their command structure broke down because of problems with radio communications with frontline officers. During the attack, an officer recalled hearing a lieutenant repeatedly ask over the radio, “Does anybody have a plan?”
  • Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund never formally asked the Capitol Police Board, comprised of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol, to make the request for National Guard assistance before Jan. 6. Sund and the other officials have all been replaced since the attack.
  • Defense Department officials claimed they didn’t get a formal request for the National Guard until 2:30 p.m., although D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called them an hour earlier inquiring about requests. While the acting secretary of defense mobilized the troops at 3:04 p.m., they spent hours planning their mission and deployed shortly after 5 p.m.

Source: Read Full Article