Senate Committees Release Bipartisan Report Detailing Intelligence & Security Failures Related to January 6th Capitol Riot
Should the committees’ recommendations about fixing these failures be enacted?
by Causes | 6.8.21
What’s the story?
- A pair of Senate committees on Tuesday released a bipartisan report finding numerous intelligence failures and lax security preparation contributed to the riot at the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the Electoral College on January 6th.
- The report, prepared by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee with the Rules and Administration Committee, detailed the findings of the joint investigation and provided recommendations about addressing those shortcomings to prevent a future breach of the U.S. Capitol.
- The report found that the Intelligence Community (IC), including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), failed to provide a warning about potential violence on January 6th.
- The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) intelligence components failed to convey the full scope of the threat information they possessed about potential violence on January 6th.
- USCP wasn’t adequately prepared to prevent or respond to the January 6th security threats, which contributed to the breach of the Capitol complex.
- Opaque processes and a lack of emergency authority delayed requests for the National Guard to provide security assistance.
- Intelligence failures, coupled with the USCP Board’s failure to request National Guard assistance prior to January 6th, meant the District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG) wasn’t activated, staged, and prepared to quickly respond to an attack at the Capitol. As the attack unfolded, the Dept. of Defense required time to approve the request and gather, equip, and instruct its personnel on the mission, which resulted in additional delays.
- Ensure USCP has sufficient civilian and sworn personnel, with appropriate training and equipment, in the roles necessary to fulfill its mission.
- Require a department-wide operational plan for special events.
- Establish the Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) as a formal, permanent component of the USCP and ensure that its dedicated officers are properly trained and equipped at all times.
- Consolidate and elevate all USCP intelligence units into a single Intelligence Bureau led by a civilian director reporting to the assistant chief of police for protective and intelligence operations; ensure the Bureau is adequately staffed and all agents and analysts are properly trained to receive and analyze intelligence information; and develop policies to effectively disseminate intelligence information to leadership and rank-and-file officers.
- Update the Incident Command System Directive to address how incident commanders are to communicate priorities, strategies, tactics, and threat assessment to front-line officers prior to and during an incident and ensure that the Directive is followed.
- Review and evaluate the handling of open-source information, such as social media, containing threats of violence.
- Review and evaluate criteria for issuing and communicating intelligence assessments, bulletins, and other products to consumer agencies, such as the Capitol Police.
- Fully comply with statutory reporting requirements to Congress on domestic terrorism data, including on the threat level and the resources dedicated to countering the threat.
DEPT. OF DEFENSE & NATIONAL GUARD
- Develop standing “concept of operation” scenarios and contingency plans for responding quickly to civil disturbance and terrorism incidents.
- Enhance communications prior to and during an event between DOD and DCNG strategic, operational, and tactical decisionmakers and commanding generals.
- Practice for the mobilization of additional National Guard members from neighboring jurisdictions to provide immediate assistance and report to command and control in the event of an emergency.
- For special events in which a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) is approved, consider proximity and response, among other factors, when deciding where to stage the QRF to ensure the ability to quickly respond to incidents at the Capitol.
- Clarify the approval processes and chain of command within DOD to prevent delays in authorizing the deployment of the DCNG when authorized.
CAPITAL REGION LAW ENFORCEMENT
- Ensure that Mutual Aid Agreements between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies include all partners in the National Capital Region and that those agreements are regularly reviewed and updated.
- Conduct joint training exercises to ensure coordination across federal, state, and local governments concerning security threats in the Washington, D.C. area for requesting, receiving, and utilizing emergency assistance.
HOUSE & SENATE SERGEANTS-AT-ARMS
- Develop protocols for communicating with members of Congress, staff, and other employees during emergencies.
What they’re saying
- Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) offered the following statement:
“Thanks to the heroic actions of U.S. Capitol Police, D.C. Metropolitan Police, the National Guard and others – rioters on January 6th failed to achieve their goal of preventing the certification of a free and fair presidential election. The events of January 6th were horrific, and our bipartisan investigation identified many unacceptable, widespread breakdowns in security preparations and emergency response related to this attack. Our report offers critical recommendations to address these failures and strengthen security for the Capitol to prevent an attack of this nature from ever happening again.”
- Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH) said:
“The January 6 attack on the Capitol was an attack on democracy itself. Today’s joint bipartisan congressional oversight report from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules Committee details the security and intelligence failures in the days leading up to the attack, the lack of preparedness at the Capitol, and the slow response as the attack unfolded. We make specific recommendations to address key failures in the Capitol Police Board structure and processes; ensure Capitol Police has the training and equipment necessary to complete its mission; update how the intelligence agencies assess and issue intelligence bulletins, particularly as it relates to social media; enhance communications between the chain of command at the Department of Defense; and ensure timely and effective cooperation and coordination amongst federal, state, and local law enforcement. We must address these failures and make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again.”
- Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said:
“On January 6th, brave law enforcement officers were left to defend not only those in the Capitol, but our democracy itself – and they performed heroically under unimaginable circumstances. At our first bipartisan hearing, I announced as Chair of the Rules Committee that our purpose was to find solutions and issue timely recommendations so it never happens again. This report lays out necessary reforms including passing a law to change Capitol Police Board procedures and improving intelligence sharing. I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement the recommendations in this report that are needed to protect the Capitol and, in turn, our nation.”
- Senate Rules and Administration Committee Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) added:
“Over the past five months, our committees have worked together in a bipartisan way to thoroughly investigate the intelligence and security failures prior to and on January 6, and to develop recommendations to address them. These recommendations are based on an extensive fact-finding effort that included interviews with key decision makers, firsthand accounts from law enforcement personnel, and the review of thousands of documents. Our focus now should be on immediately implementing these recommendations. We owe it to the brave men and women who responded that day to do everything we can to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again, and in every instance ensure that the Capitol Police have the training and equipment that they need.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Tyler Merbler via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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