Watchdog: Authorities did not Share “Credible Threats” before January 6

February 28, 2023

A new government report concluded that the law enforcement agencies responsible for protecting the U.S. Capitol failed to share “credible threats” ahead of the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police had seen “threats that were true or credible” in the days leading up to January 6, but failed to connect the dots and share information across multiple agencies. 

The GAO’s conclusion was much the same as that of the 9/11 Commission on intel failures ahead of the 2001 terrorist attack.

In all, the Capitol Police, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service, Park Police, Senate Sergeant at Arms and Postal Inspection Service “developed a total of 27 threat products specific to the planned events of January 6 prior to the attack on the Capitol.” The GAO also found that “14 products included an assessment of the likelihood that violence could occur.”

“Some agencies did not fully process information or share it, preventing critical information from reaching key federal entities responsible for securing the National Capital Region against threats,” the GAO’s January 6 report said.

The report singled out the FBI, though, concluding that it “did not consistently follow policies for processing tips.”

The GAO also detailed specific tips that had been obtained ahead of January 6, such as information acquired by the Capitol Police “that a member of the Proud Boys had recently obtained ballistic helmets, armored gloves, vests, and purchased weapons, including a sniper rifle and suppressors for the weapons.”

That same tip had been obtained by the Secret Service’s Denver Field Office. It further revealed that the Proud Boys member had flown with others to Washington “on January 5, 2021” to incite violence. 

According to the GAO, the Secret Service even interviewed the Proud Boys member and his son when they arrived in DC, investigating whether they had “loaded weapons.”

The GAO also revealed that the Department of Homeland Security had reviewed a tip on January 5 about someone who “staked out parking lots of federal buildings to determine how to bring firearms” into Washington city limits the next day.

The report also indicates there was a threat against the DC water system between mid-December and January 4. Information about the threat was obtained by the Architect of the Capitol and was shared with the Capitol Police.

So far, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against more than 950 people following January 6. Four people died during the insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.

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