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Committees Open Review of Insurrection at Capitol and Threats to Stop Peaceful Transition of Power

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Committee on the Judiciary, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Homeland Security, and the Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence requesting relevant documents and briefings as part of a review of the events and intelligence surrounding the insurrection on January 6th incited by President Trump, and related threats against the nation’s peaceful transition of power, including the Inauguration.

The Committees plan to review what the Intelligence Community and federal law enforcement knew about the threats of violence, whether that information was shared or not, and whether the threats had any nexus to foreign influence or misinformation efforts. Additionally, the Committees plan to examine whether any current or former holders of security clearances or those who held positions involving U.S. national security, defense, justice or homeland security participated in the insurrection. Finally, the Committees will examine the federal response to the insurrection and domestic violent extremism in the wake of this attack.

In the letter, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA), Committee on Homeland Security Chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) wrote:

The Committees will conduct robust oversight to understand what warning signs may have been missed, determine whether there were systemic failures, and consider how to best address countering domestic violent extremism, including remedying any gaps in legislation or policy.

Security and logistical preparations before January 6 were not consistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence. Yet, according to media accounts that have surfaced in recent days, federal and other authorities earlier on possessed — and may have shared with some parties — intelligence and other information forecasting a dire security threat against the Congress’s meeting to certify the election results.   These latter reports, if acted upon, might have prompted more extensive planning for the event, and the infusion of far greater security and other resources.  

Tragically that did not happen. 

This still-emerging story is one of astounding bravery by some U.S. Capitol Police and other officers; of staggering treachery by violent criminals; and of apparent and high-level failures — in particular, with respect to intelligence and security preparedness.

The full letter can be found here, or read below:

Dear Director Wray, Acting Director Vanech, Mr. Maher, and Director Ratcliffe:

The American people continue to learn disturbing details about the horrific insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and surrounding area on January 6, and the growing public record is still far from complete. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (the “Committee” or “HPSCI”), the Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Oversight and Reform (collectively, the “Committees”), in exercise of their legislative and oversight jurisdictions, are reviewing the events of January 6 and related threats against the Nation’s peaceful transition of power. The Committees will conduct robust oversight to understand what warning signs may have been missed, determine whether there were systemic failures, and consider how to best address countering domestic violent extremism, including remedying any gaps in legislation or policy.

As a first step, and as described in the annex to this letter, the Committees ask that your organizations produce relevant documents, and schedule briefings, regarding specific intelligence matters associated with the insurrection and threats to the U.S. presidential inauguration.

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Security and logistical preparations before January 6 were not consistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence. Yet, according to media accounts that have surfaced in recent days, federal and other authorities earlier on possessed — and may have shared with some parties — intelligence and other information forecasting a dire security threat against the Congress’s meeting to certify the election results.   These latter reports, if acted upon, might have prompted more extensive planning for the event, and the infusion of far greater security and other resources.  

Tragically that did not happen. Emboldened by President Trump’s inciteful rhetoric and his false claims of a stolen election — at the National Mall that day and for weeks before — a pack of violent insurrectionists forced their way into the Capitol complex with the intent to stop Congress from discharging its constitutional duties to certify the results of the presidential election. The mob caused extensive damage to persons and property. They assaulted woefully under-resourced U.S. Capitol Police officers and other security personnel, a great many of whom bravely resisted. They reportedly tried to steal one officer’s gun, hoping to kill him with it, and injured another causing his death.  They brought firearms, ammunition, explosives, tactical gear, and zip ties to detain potential victims.  Some of them reportedly planned to take hostages and harm lawmakers. Among the riotous mob were suspected domestic violent extremists, including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-government militia, and, most shockingly, current as well as former law enforcement officers and former military servicemembers.

This still-emerging story is one of astounding bravery by some U.S. Capitol Police and other officers; of staggering treachery by violent criminals; and of apparent and high-level failures — in particular, with respect to intelligence and security preparedness.

The Committees therefore request the records and briefings described in the annex attached hereto in pursuit of the following inquiries:

  • What elements of the Intelligence Community (“IC”) and federal law enforcement knew about threats of violence and destruction before, during, and after the insurrection; whether such information was shared with appropriate personnel and if so, how; whether any information was paused, delayed or withheld; and whether the insurrection had any nexus to foreign influence or misinformation efforts, and to what degree foreign powers have sought to exploit and aggravate the crisis;
  • Whether any current or former holders of security clearances and/or of positions in U.S. national security, justice, defense or homeland security organizations participated in the insurrection; and
  • The policy and other responses to the insurrection, to include any measures to identify, apprehend or prevent the travel of those who committed crimes, including any Domestic Violent Extremists.  

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The Committees expect and appreciate your full cooperation with this matter – while of course recognizing that resources appropriately and immediately must be allocated to efforts to counter any continuing threats to the transfer of power, including the presidential inauguration and related activities.  The Committees stand ready to work with you to arrange for the requested production of documents and briefings.
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