Home opens investigation into vulnerabilities in deadly assaults on the US Capitol
A member of the National Guard took the post near the U.S. Capitol Building as the House of Representatives debated the charges against U.S. President Donald Trump on January 13, 2021, a week after the storming of the Capitol Building in Washington, United States.
Brandon Bell | Reuters
The Democratic-run House of Representatives sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray and other agency chiefs on Saturday for information on intelligence and security deficiencies that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and forcing lawmakers to go into hiding.
Four House Committee Chairs signed the letter calling for documents and briefings from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Counter-Terrorism Center, and the Director of National Intelligence on what was known prior to the attack.
“This still-emerging story is about the amazing courage of some US Capitol Police and other officials, dizzying betrayals by violent criminals, and obvious and high-level mistakes – particularly in relation to intelligence and security preparedness,” the committee wrote.
The letter was signed by the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., The Chairman of the Justice Committee, Jerry Nadler, DN.Y. and Chair of the Supervisory Committee Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y.
The investigation comes because lawmakers – and especially the Democrats – are demanding more information on how a crowd of President Donald Trump’s supporters broke into the so-called “People’s House,” which has its own police force, and is delaying certification Election victory of President-elect Joe Biden by several hours.
The Inspectors General of the Ministry of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security and Home Affairs have launched reviews of their agency’s actions related to the attack.
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in front of the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Stephanie Keith | Reuters
In the letter, lawmakers quoted press coverage that the U.S. Capitol police had been warned that Trump supporters were attempting to forcefully enter the Capitol.
NBC News reported Jan. 10 that the FBI and the New York City Police Department had provided the Capitol Police with information of threats of violence for the electoral college vote.
The Washington Post reported Jan. 12 that an FBI field office in Virginia had warned of the attack that extremists were planning a “war” on the way to Washington.
“Security and logistical preparations before January 6th were inconsistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence. According to media reports surfaced in recent days, federal and other agencies previously owned information – and may have shared it with some Parties shared and other information predicting a serious security threat to the congressional session to confirm election results, ”wrote the committee chairmen.
The US Capitol Police are seen with “less lethal” weapons as they confront a crowd of supporters of US President Donald Trump as they storm the US Capitol building in Washington, USA, January 6, 2021.
“These latter reports, if worked on, could have resulted in more extensive planning of the event and the infusion of far greater security and other resources,” they added.
Capitol Police officials said they did not see FBI intelligence services prior to the attack.
The committee chairs identify three broad lines of investigation that they will pursue.
The first is what the intelligence community and law enforcement agencies knew before, during, and after the attack. Lawmakers also said they would examine whether foreign powers had a role in exploiting the crisis.
The second point the committees examine is whether current or past holders of national security clearances participated in the insurrection.
The committees are also soliciting information on government policies in response to the attack, including measures to prevent those involved in crimes from traveling.
“The committees expect and appreciate your full cooperation on this matter – and, of course, recognize that resources must be appropriately and promptly devoted to efforts to counter ongoing threats to the transfer of power, including the presidential inauguration and related activities “wrote the committee chairman.