One night before the attack on the Capitol building on January 6th, agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation felt it was necessary to alert the Congress that there was a threat of violence.
So they did what any law enforcement official would do: They sent an email. To low-level officials. And zero follow-up.
NBC News reported on the surreal revelation, which came out during today’s Senate hearing on the Capitol riots.
An FBI intelligence report describing plans for violence at the Capitol was sent via email to lower-level officials the night before the Jan. 6 riot, and was never read by Capitol Police or Washington, D.C. leaders, according to testimony at Tuesday’s Senate hearing.
Senators called that “an intelligence breakdown” by both the Capitol Police and the FBI.
The now-former officials responsible for Capitol security on Jan. 6 testified Tuesday that they did not receive an FBI threat report warning that extremists were planning to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war.”
The testimony by former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger came during the first in a series of congressional oversight hearings that will examine the security and law enforcement failures that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
However, the Capitol Police had warned the Congress days prior that there was a high potential of violence breaking out at a protest near the Capitol building. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund disclosed the information today at Senate testimony.
“As recent as Tuesday, January 5th, during a meeting I hosted with my executive team, the Capitol Police board and a dozen of the top law enforcement and military officials from DC,” he said. “No entity, including the FBI, provided any new intelligence regarding January 6. It should be also noted that the Secretary of Homeland Security did not issue an elevated or eminent alert in reference to the events at the United States Capitol on January 6th.”
“We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence, what we got was a military-style coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol building,” Sund said.
Sund also named intelligence that far-right extremist groups, anarchist groups and even Antifa was expected to be in attendance at a protest that could turn into a riot.
“The intelligence that we based our planning on indicated that the January 6 protests were expected to be similar to the previous [peaceful] MAGA rallies in 2020, which drew tens of thousands of participants,” he said. “The assessment indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups and Antifa and other extremist groups were expected to participate in on January 6th, and that it may be inclined to become violent.”
The January 6th capitol uprising was a pre-planned attack carried out by various extremist groups, including the far-right Proud Boys, the BLM-sympathizing anarchist group Boogaloo Bois, and even radical activists, like the Antifa-supporting founder of Insurrection USA John Sullivan.
The former Capitol Police Chief’s testimony has been indispensable in establishing that there was plenty of advanced warning for the House and Senate. Sund earlier stated that the House was warned six times about the pending danger. He revealed the resources the Capitol Police requested, including a stronger National Guard presence, in a resignation letter aimed directly to Speaker Pelosi.
The FBI reportedly did nothing to assist in the effort to secure the capitol, despite intelligence indicating that extremist groups were planning an assault as early as December. Americans really wish they could say that they are surprised.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.