Bipartisan Senate Homeland Security, Rules, Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services Committee Leaders Press Security Agencies for Information Related to Capitol Attack

Request Continues Joint Oversight Efforts of Security Failures that Led to a Breach of the Capitol Building

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), leaders of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), leaders of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), leaders of the Judiciary Committee; Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), leaders of the Select Committee on Intelligence; Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), leaders of the Appropriations Committee; and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), leaders of the Armed Services Committee, are pressing key law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to provide them with all relevant information related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol. The bipartisan information requests follow an announcement from the leaders of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules Committees to conduct joint oversight of the security failures that led to the breach of the Capitol building. 

“The January 6, 2021 attack on our Capitol, one of the great symbols of American democracy, will forever be a stain on our Nation’s history.  The attackers failed to disrupt the work of Congress, due in large part to the heroic acts of many officers and congressional staff.  Nevertheless, the security failures that led to the breach endangered not just the Vice President and the Congress, but the peaceful, democratic transfer of power itself.  The American people deserve a complete accounting of those failures,” wrote the Senators.

The Senators are requesting information from 22 agencies and departments related to the preparations for and response to the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress and the security failures that led to a breach of the Capitol. The Senators are seeking information on intelligence gathering on potential violence prior to the attack, security preparations, and detailed explanations of the agency’s security response.

The following is a full list of the agencies the Senators are seeking information from: Senate Sergeant at Arms, House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms, United States Capitol Police, Architect of the Capitol, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia Executive Office of the Mayor, District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Park Police, United States Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Department of Homeland Security, United States Secret Service, Federal Protective Service, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau, United States Army and Department of the Interior.

The text of the letter is copied below and available here.

February 8, 2021

Dear Department, Agency, or Office Head:

The January 6, 2021 attack on our Capitol, one of the great symbols of American democracy, will forever be a stain on our Nation’s history.  The attackers failed to disrupt the work of Congress, due in large part to the heroic acts of many officers and congressional staff.  Nevertheless, the security failures that led to the breach endangered not just the Vice President and the Congress, but the peaceful, democratic transfer of power itself.  The American people deserve a complete accounting of those failures.

We respectfully request that you immediately arrange briefings with our Committees to provide all relevant information related to the attack on the Capitol, including all information known about potential violence prior to the attack, security precautions taken, and a detailed explanation of your agency’s or department’s security response.  Please also provide the following information in writing and requested documents as soon as possible, but no later than February 19, 2021.  All responsive classified documents and information should be provided to the Senate Security (SVC-217).

1. A detailed “tick-tock” timeline of your agency’s or department’s actions prior to the January 6, 2021, Joint Session of Congress, through the attack, and until the Capitol complex was declared secure.

2. What intelligence about potential demonstrations or violence on January 6, 2021 was generated or received by your agency or department in advance of the Capitol attack?  Please also provide an accounting on how and when intelligence was disseminated by or to your agency or department; who the intelligence was shared with, both internally and externally; and what actions were taken in response to the intelligence.  Please provide copies of all documents supporting these statements.

3. What protocols does your agency or department follow for a planned demonstration at the Capitol?  Were any deviations made from those standard protocols before, on, or shortly after January 6, 2021, including whether certain equipment and rules of engagement should be used, a perimeter should be established, or if additional personnel should be on hand?  If so, please describe who approved such deviations and when.  Please provide copies of all such protocols, as well as documents supporting deviations from those protocols.

4. Within the past ten years, has your agency or department participated in any planning, including but not limited to joint training exercises, threat assessments, or tabletop exercises, relating to large-scale demonstrations or violence at the Capitol?  If yes, please describe the date, scope, participants, and results of the planning, including any recommendations made.  Please provide all supporting documents, including all reports, summaries, and analyses.

5. What, if any, planning for large-scale demonstrations or potential violence, including but not limited to joint training exercises, threat assessments, and intelligence sharing, occurred in advance of January 6, 2021?  Where planning occurred, please describe when it occurred, what Federal, state, or local entities or task forces were involved, and all security recommendations made.  Please also provide all supporting documents.

6. Did your agency or department stand up an operations center for the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress?  If yes, when was it activated, for what purposes, and what agencies and departments participated?  If not, did your agency or department participate in an operations center led by another agency?  What was the chain of command should a catastrophic event occur?  Were plans discussed with your agency or department on the possibility of handling arrests of multiple individuals, including the transportation, housing, and processing of arrestees?

7. What role did your agency or department play during the January 6 attack?  Please include an accounting of the number of personnel on duty on January 6 in connection with the Joint Session of Congress, including where these personnel were located.  Please also explain how these figures changed throughout the day.

8. Does your agency or department have any mutual aid agreements with other law enforcement entities in the National Capital Region?  If yes, please list those entities and provide all supporting documentation.

9. Did your agency or department receive requests for assistance?  If yes, please describe the nature of the request, who made it and when, what assistance your agency or department provided, when it provided such assistance, who made the decision to provide such assistance, and how and when the assistance decision was conveyed to the requestor.  Please provide all supporting documentation.

10. If your agency or department protects Federal facilities and/or individuals, what advanced training, including training with other law enforcement partners, threat assessments, and perimeter security assessments are typically done in advance of large-scale special events or protest activities?  What modifications are typically made to perimeter security for Federal properties in advance of these kinds of events?

11. If your agency or department leads law enforcement or intelligence task forces, is the U.S. Capitol Police a participant?  If so, please list those task forces.

12. What directives or orders were given to frontline officers from your agency or department and how were those communicated?  Did your agency or department experience any radio outages or difficulty communicating?  Please provide all recordings and documentation of these directives and describe your agency’s or department’s policy for retaining records after a large-scale incident. 

13. Does your agency or department monitor and track potential demonstration activity on open source, public, or private social media platforms?  What information did your agency or department obtain regarding how social media was used to organize and promote events leading to the Capitol attack?  Did any social media company proactively communicate to your agency or department about potential suspicious or criminal conduct identified on its platform?  If yes, please describe which company, the nature of the conduct, and all actions taken in response to the information.  Please provide all reports, summaries, or analyses regarding social media developed by your agency or department.

14. Did your agency or department alter or change its planning for the Joint Session of Congress because of statements or input from any local, state, or Federal elected official?  If so, please describe those changes and provide all relevant documentation.

15. What coordination occurred between your agency or department and the D.C. Mayor’s office or private businesses in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia in advance of January 6, 2021?

16. Has your agency or department begun any investigation related to the events of January 6?  If so, please describe who is leading the investigation, the scope of the investigation, and all investigative steps taken to-date.

17. Have any disciplinary actions been taken against employees of your agency or department related to the events on January 6?  If yes, please describe those disciplinary actions in detail including, all investigations or removals from duty pending investigation.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.

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