UPDATED 10:04 AM PT – Wednesday, June 9, 2021
According to a bipartisan Senate panel, intelligence and security failures lead to the events on Capitol Hill on January 6. Poor planning and reluctance to establish a strong police presence led to the breach of the Capitol Building, according to officials.
In a 12 page report released Tuesday, senators found U.S. Capitol Police knew about possible threats of violence days before the event and failed to enact any additional security measures. The report found internal intelligence departments failed to share vital information with each other, in turn, leading to a breakdown in communication.
“We saw that there was certainly a breakdown when it came to the intelligence services from both the Capitol Police as well as the broader intelligence services that should have put out a warning to local law enforcement as to the potential for violence on January 6th”, stated Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich).
Operatives had been reportedly collecting data pertaining to the threats since December. They deemed flagged online message boards and social media posts “not credible.” However, the FBI’s Norfolk field office issued a report the day before the breach warning D,C, officials of people entering the capitol for “war.” However, the report fell through the cracks of the bureaucratic process.
The senators also highlighted the Capitol Police’s lack of operational capacity, equipment and training for an event like the Joint Congressional Session. They claimed officers hadn’t properly planned for the session, in turn, leaving them under-prepared amid boiling tensions from the crowd outside.
When the attack happened, the complicated buracuratic process debilitated the Capitol Police chief’s ability to unilaterally call in the National Guard. Deploying Guardsmen was further delayed due to another slow rollout process from the DOD and the agency’s reluctance to send in troops. This came after the department faced backlash for their “heavy handed response” during Black Lives Matter protests months prior.
In the meantime, the committees handed down 20 recommendations to better prepare for future attacks on the capitol. This includes creating a thorough plan to prepare Capitol Police officers for special events, giving the Capitol Police chief a direct line of communication with the National Guard and streamlining intelligence on domestic terror threats to Congress.
Additionally, as Democrats in both chambers are calling for a larger scale investigation into the incident, GOP lawmakers stressed the DOJ is handling a separate probe efficiently. Republicans highlighted investigators’ efforts in arresting more than 450 suspected participants in the event.