The FBI and Capitol Police identified “credible threats” leading up to January 6, 2021, but they and other agencies failed to fully process or share information with their partners, according to a government watchdog agency.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, released on Tuesday a 122-page assessment regarding security measures taken ahead of the day, more than two years ago, when crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
Through human source reporting, investigations, and observed activity, and information from social media platforms, investigators tracked individuals of concern, GAO says.
Of the 10 federal agencies that identified “potential threats” of violence before January 6, GAO says the FBI and Capitol Police detected “credible threats,” which the watchdog agency defines as “specific and actionable threats, such as threats that prompted action by law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations or modify security measures.”
On January 5, 2021, Capitol Police “received a tip regarding plans to block and confront Democratic members of Congress from entering the Capitol through the tunnel system via the basement of the Library of Congress,” GAO says.
“Further, Capitol Police personnel identified a group’s intentions to form a perimeter around the Capitol complex on the morning of January 6,” the GAO report adds. “As a result, Capitol Police deployed a Civil Disturbance Unit platoon one hour earlier than originally planned to increase the security presence at locations identified in the credible threat.”
However the FBI, in addition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), “did not consistently follow agency policies or procedures for processing tips or potential threats because they did not have controls to ensure compliance with policies,” GAO says. The Capitol Police, the watchdog adds, “did not share threat products with its frontline officers.”
GAO made 10 recommendations to five agencies, including the FBI and Capitol Police, to shore up weaknesses, including “internal control deficiencies related to processing or sharing information.”
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An FBI spokesperson pointed The Daily Wire to a letter by Larissa Knapp, executive assistant director for the FBI’s national security branch, to the GAO saying the bureau accepted the watchdog’s recommendations.
The FBI “was not aware of actionable intelligence indicating that a large mob would storm the Capitol building. It is worth emphasizing that the findings of the GAO do nothing to dispute that assertion,” she emphasized.
The Daily Wire also reached out to the Capitol Police for comment.
Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger said in a letter to GAO the Capitol Police is drafting a new policy that will feature guidance for sharing threat-related information agency-wide.
For its inquiry, GAO says it interviewed officials and reviewed agency threat products, but did not examine threat information that was subject to ongoing investigations or prosecutions. The release on Tuesday is an unclassified version of a sensitive report issued in January. It is the seventh in a series of reports put together by GAO focused on January 6, 2021.