FBI and Homeland Security Brushed Off “Massive Amount” of Intel Before January 6: Senate Report

June 27, 2023

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) downplayed or ignored a “massive amount of intelligence” ahead of the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

That’s according Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

A new report from the committee details how the government agencies failed to recognize the potential for violence in the lead-up to the deadly attempt to prevent Congress in its Constitutional duty to certify then-President-elect Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory over then-President Trump. 

Among the intel that the committee says was overlooked was a December 2020 FBI tip that members of the extremist Proud Boys—several of whose leaders have since been convicted of seditious conspiracy—planned to be in Washington on January 6 to “literally kill people.” 

The committee adds that the FBI and DHS were aware of many social media posts referencing violence amid phrases such as, “come armed” or “burn the place to the ground.”

Other social media posts ahead of January 6 referenced storming the Capitol and/or killing Congressional lawmakers.

Sen. Peters called the intel breakdown “largely a failure of imagination to see threats that the Capitol could be breached as credible.” His phrasing echoed the conclusion of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission following the 2001 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda. 

“Everybody should be accountable because everybody failed,” Peters added, spurning what he called “pretty constant finger pointing” by officials in the FBI and DHS. 

A report earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that “10 federal agencies that we examined identified potential threats of violence before January 6, but some agencies either didn’t follow their established policies or procedures for reviewing the threats, or didn’t share critical information with partners responsible for planning security measures.”

According to the GAO, more than 2,000 rioters overran law enforcement, assaulted police officers and caused more than $2.7 billion in damage to the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Justice Department, more than 1,033 suspects have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the assault on the Capitol. A reported more than 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.

Four people died during the January 6 insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.

PHOTO Source: GAO

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