Intel Reports Have Repeatedly Failed to Predict the Capitol Riot | New policies


WASHINGTON (AP) – Intelligence reports compiled by the United States Capitol Police in the days leading up to last year’s insurgency only considered an unlikely or distant risk of violence, even as others Assessments have warned that crowds of tens of thousands of pro-Trump protesters could converge on Washington to create a dangerous situation.

The documents, obtained by the Associated Press, highlight the patchy and confusing intelligence that circulated to Capitol Hill police officers prior to the January 6 riot, when thousands of Donald Trump worshipers stormed the Capitol compound and fled clash with law enforcement in their efforts to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Intelligence reports in particular show how the police agency severely underestimated the prospect for days chaotic violence and disruption.

Conflicting intelligence produced by law enforcement leading up to the riot has been at the forefront of Congressional scrutiny of the Jan. 6 preparations and response, with officials struggling to explain how they failed. not anticipated and planned the murderous riot on Capitol Hill that day. The shortcomings led to upheavals in the upper ranks of the department, including the ousting of the then chief – although the deputy chief in charge of intelligence and protection operations at the time remains in his post.

There was, according to a severely critical Senate report published last June, “a lack of consensus on the seriousness of the threat posed on January 6, 2021”.

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“Months after the attack on the United States Capitol, there is still no consensus among USCP officials on threat analysis of intelligence reports by January 6, 2021,” the report says. .

Daily intelligence reports were discussed in Congressional testimony and summarized in the Senate report. But the PA obtained the full versions of the documents from January 4, 5 and 6 of last year on Friday evening.

During each of the three days, the documents showed, Capitol Police classified as “highly unlikely” the likelihood of acts of civil disobedience and arrests arising from the “Stop the Steal” protest scheduled for Capitol Hill. The event and nearly two dozen others were rated on a scale of “remote” to “almost certain” in terms of the likelihood of major disturbance. All were classified as “remote,” “very unlikely” or “unlikely,” according to the documents.

“No further information has been found on the exact actions planned by this group,” said the Jan. 6 report of the “Stop the Steal” rally.

The Million MAGA March planned by Trump supporters is called in the document “unlikely,” officials saying it was “possible” that organizers could demonstrate at the Capitol complex, and that although there was talk of counter-demonstrators, there is “no clear plan on the part of these groups at the moment.

These optimistic forecasts are difficult to reconcile with separate intelligence assessments compiled by Capitol Police in late December and early January. The documents, also obtained by AP, warned that the crowds could number in the tens of thousands and include members of extremist groups like the Proud Boys.

A note from January 3, 2021, for example, warned of an “extremely dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public”.

A December 21, 2020 intelligence assessment showed how people searched and discussed the tunnels under the Capitol – typically used by members of Congress and staff – on public websites.

A January 5 bulletin prepared by the FBI field office in Norfolk that warned of the potential for “war” on Capitol Hill adds to the mixed intelligence picture. Top Capitol Police officials said they were unaware of the document.

Capitol Police officials have repeatedly insisted that they have no specific or credible information that any demonstration on Capitol Hill will result in a full-scale attack on the building. Despite careful scrutiny of the intelligence gaps within the agenda, Yogananda Pittman, the deputy chief intelligence officer at the time of the riot, remains in that role.

Current police chief J. Thomas Manger defended Pittman in an interview with the PA in September, highlighting her decision when she was acting chief to implement the Inspector General’s recommendations and expand the department’s internal intelligence capabilities so that agents do not. must rely equally on information gathered by other law enforcement agencies.

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