WASHINGTON — Although the House Jan. 6 committee presented evidence of the carnage of law enforcement on Capitol Hill that day, little time was spent on law application inability to foresee and prevent the attack – at least not publicly.
But behind the scenes, sources tell NBC News, these failures was not of oblivion. As the committee prepares for a new round of public hearings in September, it is expected to focus more on intelligence and law enforcement failures. to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security this left the police woefully underprepared for the mob that stormed the Capitol. These failures will also be a key part of the committee’s final report on January 6.
One of the online sleuths who worked with both the January 6 committee and the FBI has a little story that helps illustrate many of the bureau’s challenges in the sprawling federal investigation into the Capitol attack and why the office did no more to make sure law enforcement was prepared ahead of the attack on the Capitol, given all the alarm bells ringing around the web.
When they had to send a large file to the committee on January 6, they put the files on Dropbox.
When they needed to give something to the FBI, a special agent came to their house to manually transfer the files.
Due to last-minute revelations, the committee’s public presentations in June and July skewed more toward Trump’s actions before and during the attack on Capitol Hill. But there’s a lot left on the editing room floor, including new information collected by the “blue team,” which focuses on the law enforcement failures that led to the attack, as NBC News reported in January.
A committee aide told NBC News last week that this team of investigators is singularly focused on the preparation and response of law enforcement, intelligence agencies and the military.
“The team has conducted more than 100 interviews and depositions on these security and intelligence matters at multiple federal and local agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Fusion Centers, Office of Intelligence & Analysis, among others,” the assistant said. The team examines what intelligence these agencies had; how that intelligence was analyzed, assembled, and distributed; and whether law enforcement operationalized that intelligence.
The “blue team,” a separate source told NBC News, is led by Soumya Dayananda, who spent more than a decade as a federal prosecutor — and worked the case against Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – before joining the committee.
Liz Cheney said in a Fox News interview on Sunday last week that the work of the blue team would be featured in the committee’s final report and would be “likely” appear in future hearings.
“What we’re not going to do … is blame the Capitol police, blame law enforcement, for Donald Trump’s armed mob that he sent to the Capitol,” Cheney said. “Obviously there were intelligence failures, clearly security should have worked better than it did. But that was a crowd that Donald Trump sent to the Capitol, and I think important to keep an eye on.
The FBI has been generally defensive about its preparations ahead of Jan. 6, and has noted in the past that it took some steps to discourage extremists from traveling to DC ahead of the attack. But one new FBI statement at NBC News indicated that the office had “We have increased our focus on sharing information quickly” and “improving the automated systems in place to help investigators and analysts” since January 6.
There is a limited timeframe to help draw attention to the need to fix intelligence failures. If Republicans take over the House midterm, as many analysts expect, oversight could very quickly shift from looking at FBI shortcomings to alleged investigation law enforcement is going too far against those who stormed the Capitol in Trump’s name. Instead of trying to figure out how to ensure the FBI can ensure it is prepared for domestic extremist violence in the future, some congressional Republicans have minimized the insurgency, protested the provisional detention of certain January 6 rioters whom they transformed into “political prisoners” and flirted with the “fedsurrection” plot which posits that the FBI launched the attack to set up Trump supporters.
The potential for deadly violence from Trump’s misrepresentations about the 2020 election was no big secret. Law enforcement officials raised concerns about the deadly danger of Trump’s rhetoric both before and immediately after the November 2020 election. NBC News ran an article on the night of January 5, 2021 about violent threats that were spreading across Twitter, TikTok, Parler and TheDonald message board.
One of the people who raised concerns before the attack was Bill Fulton, a former FBI informant and expert on right-wing extremism, who sounded the alarm bell November 2020 that Trump was “leading” his supporters “to the edge” with his election rhetoric.
“You have the President of the United States taking these people to the brink, and the second something happens, he’s going to turn around and say, ‘Well, I didn’t tell them to do this. ‘” Fulton said, ominously, at the time.
In a recent interview, Fulton said the office faces a host of challenges in trying to prevent attacks from domestic extremists, including legacy systems and processes that aren’t as fluid as corporate communications and technology. used in modern workplaces.
“You have to remember, it’s the feds, man. The bureaucracy is in the f**king name of the FBI,” Fulton told NBC News this month.
He also noted that it is critically important that, even as the bureau takes overdue steps to improve open-source intelligence, that First Amendment rights are well protected.
“What we don’t want is the FBI going back to being Hoover’s FBI. We don’t want the FBI investigating people for no reason, do we? Fulton said. “And we don’t want these investigations to go on forever.”
In a statement to NBC News, the FBI said the bureau “continues to evolve to address the persistent threats posed by domestic violent extremists” across the country.
“Since the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, the FBI has become more focused on sharing information quickly with all of our state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement partners across the United States. United,” the statement said. “We have also enhanced the automated systems in place to assist investigators and analysts across all of our 56 field offices throughout the investigative process. The FBI is determined to aggressively combat the threat posed by all domestic violent extremists, regardless of their motivations.”
The congressional investigation won’t be the final word on why law enforcement officials haven’t done more. In the weeks following the attack on the Capitol, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General announced a review examining “the role and activity of the DOJ and its components in preparing for and responding to events on the U.S. Capitol. January 6, 2021”.
The review, the DOJ Inspector General said in a January 15, 2021 announcement, “will include reviewing information relevant to the January 6 events that was available to the DOJ and its components prior to January 6; the extent to which such information has been shared by the DOJ and its components with the United States Capitol Police and other federal, state, and local agencies; and the role of DOJ personnel in responding to events at the United States Capitol United States on January 6.”
The review would also address “any weaknesses in DOJ protocols, policies, or procedures that have impaired the ability of the DOJ or its components to effectively prepare for and respond to events on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.” A spokesperson for the DOJ’s inspector general said the review “remains ongoing.”