Sunday, June 23, 2024

FBI Intelligence Dropped The Ball On January 6th, 2021 Says Senator.

January 6th, 2021 is a date that will always be remembered for the invasion of the US Senate by protesters.
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By Editor-June 27th, 2023.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security simply underestimated or payed no attention to a heap of readily accessible  intelligence information ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S Capitol, according to Sentator Gary Peters of Michigan.

Peters is today releasing a new report on the intelligence failures that took place before the deadly invasion of Congress in which the Capitol Police were overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

The report details how the agencies failed to recognize and warn of the potential for violence as some of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters openly planned the siege in messages and forums online.

As Trump, a Republican, falsely claimed he had won the 2020 election and tried to overturn his election defeat, telling his supporters to “fight like hell” in a speech in front of the White House that day, thousands of them marched to the Capitol. More than 2,000 rioters overran law enforcement, assaulted police officers, and caused more than $2.7 billion in damage to the Capitol, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report earlier this year.

Breaking through windows and doors, the rioters sent lawmakers running for their lives and temporarily interrupted the certification of the election victory by Biden, a Democrat.

Even as the attack was happening, the new report found, the FBI and Homeland Security downplayed the threat. As the Capitol Police struggled to clear the building, Homeland Security “was still struggling to assess the credibility of threats against the Capitol and to report out its intelligence.”

And at a 10 a.m. briefing as protesters gathered at Trump’s speech and near the Capitol were “wearing ballistic helmets, body armor, carrying radio equipment and military grade backpacks,” the FBI briefed that there were “no credible threats at this time.”

Image credit: FBI. The FBI is still looking for some of the participants in the January 6th, 2021 riot.

The lack of sufficient warnings meant that law enforcement were not adequately prepared and there was not a hardened perimeter established around the Capitol, as there is during events like the annual State of the Union address.

The mass of intelligence that was overlooked included a hot tip in December to the FBI that members of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys planned to be in Washington, D.C., for the certification of Joe Biden’s victory and their “plan is to literally kill people,” the report said.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the Senate Homeland Security chair, told reporters on Monday that Jan. 6 was “planned in plain sight and yet it seemed as if our intelligence agencies completely dropped the ball.”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said the agencies were also aware of many social media posts that foreshadowed violence, some calling on Trump’s supporters to “come armed” and storm the Capitol, kill lawmakers or “burn the place to the ground.”

reports have examined the intelligence failures around Jan. 6 — including a bipartisan 2021 Senate report, the House Jan. 6 committee last year and several separate internal assessments by the Capitol Police and other government agencies — the latest investigation is the first congressional report to focus solely on the actions of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

In the wake of the attack, Peters said the committee interviewed officials at both agencies and found what was “pretty constant finger pointing” at each other.

The  key findings of the Peters Report include:

  • Domestic terrorism (in the US) has been increasing over the last several years, surpassing international terrorism as the most significant terrorism threat to the United States;
  • White supremacist extremists pose the primary threat among all domestic violent extremists;
  • Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, additional counterterrorism authorities and resources for the federal government have been focused primarily on international terrorist threats;
  • DHS and FBI have not fully complied with requirements in federal law to collect and report data on domestic terrorist attacks; and
  • Extremist content continues to proliferate on social media platforms, at least partially driven by the companies’ own business models, which prioritize engagement, profits, and growth over safety.

The report makes key recommendations, including:

  • Reassess the federal government’s counterterrorism efforts;
  • Create accountability for DHS and FBI to comply with data reporting requirements and create measurable criteria to assess counterterrorism efforts;
  • Clarify and improve federal agency guidelines on the use of social media while respecting individuals’ constitutional rights;
  • Create accountability for social media companies to prioritize safety on their platforms; and
  • Establish trust and safety as prioritized metrics for social media companies.
Souces: AP News, https://www.peters.senate.gov/, FBI Website, BBC.
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