Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House panels reviewing what intel agencies knew before deadly Capitol siege

A man calls on people to raid the building as Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol

A man calls on people to raid the building as Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images.

The House Intelligence, Oversight, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees have opened a review of the events and intelligence surrounding the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol and other threats to the peaceful transfer of power, the panels said in a letter to federal intelligence agencies Saturday.

Why it matters: Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have faced sharp criticism for not being better prepared for the Capitol riot, despite reports that far-right Trump supporters discussed the idea of a violent protest on social media and chat platforms in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 event.

The state of play: The letter, signed by committee chairs, was sent to the FBI, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the National Counterterrorism Center and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

  • It requested relevant documents and intelligence associated with the deadly Capitol siege.
  • It also requested the agencies hold several briefings in the coming weeks.

What they're saying: "Security and logistical preparations before January 6 were not consistent with the prospect of serious and widespread violence. Yet, according to media accounts..., federal and other authorities earlier on possessed ... intelligence and other information forecasting a dire security threat against the Congress’s meeting to certify the election results," the panels noted in the letter.

  • "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," the panels said in the letter.

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