WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member and Chairwoman of the Committee on Rules and Administration, released a bipartisan report on the security, planning, and response failures related to the violent and unprecedented attack on January 6th.
The report also includes a series of recommendations for the Capitol Police Board, United States Capitol Police (USCP), federal intelligence agencies, the Department of Defense (DOD), and other Capital region law enforcement agencies.
“The January 6 attack on the Capitol was an attack on democracy itself. Today’s joint bipartisan congressional oversight report from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules Committee details the security and intelligence failures in the days leading up to the attack, the lack of preparedness at the Capitol, and the slow response as the attack unfolded,” said Senator Portman. “We make specific recommendations to address key failures in the Capitol Police Board structure and processes; ensure Capitol Police has the training and equipment necessary to complete its mission; update how the intelligence agencies assess and issue intelligence bulletins, particularly as it relates to social media; enhance communications between the chain of command at the Department of Defense; and ensure timely and effective cooperation and coordination amongst federal, state, and local law enforcement. We must address these failures and make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again.”
“Thanks to the heroic actions of U.S. Capitol Police, D.C. Metropolitan Police, the National Guard and others – rioters on January 6th failed to achieve their goal of preventing the certification of a free and fair presidential election. The events of January 6th were horrific, and our bipartisan investigation identified many unacceptable, widespread breakdowns in security preparations and emergency response related to this attack,” said Senator Peters. “Our report offers critical recommendations to address these failures and strengthen security for the Capitol to prevent an attack of this nature from ever happening again.”
“Over the past five months, our committees have worked together in a bipartisan way to thoroughly investigate the intelligence and security failures prior to and on January 6, and to develop recommendations to address them,” said Senator Blunt. “These recommendations are based on an extensive fact-finding effort that included interviews with key decision makers, firsthand accounts from law enforcement personnel, and the review of thousands of documents. Our focus now should be on immediately implementing these recommendations. We owe it to the brave men and women who responded that day to do everything we can to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again, and in every instance ensure that the Capitol Police have the training and equipment that they need.”
“On January 6th, brave law enforcement officers were left to defend not only those in the Capitol, but our democracy itself – and they performed heroically under unimaginable circumstances. At our first bipartisan hearing, I announced as Chair of the Rules Committee that our purpose was to find solutions and issue timely recommendations so it never happens again. This report lays out necessary reforms including passing a law to change Capitol Police Board procedures and improving intelligence sharing. I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement the recommendations in this report that are needed to protect the Capitol and, in turn, our nation,” said Senator Klobuchar.
On January 6th, 2021, the world witnessed a violent and unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the democratic process. Rioters, intent on obstructing the Joint Session of Congress, broke into the Capitol building, vandalized and stole property, and ransacked offices. They attacked members of law enforcement and threatened the safety and lives of our nation’s elected leaders. Tragically, seven individuals, including three law enforcement officers, ultimately lost their lives.
The Committees’ investigation uncovered a number of failures leading up to and on January 6th that allowed for the Capitol to be breached. These breakdowns ranged from federal intelligence agencies failing to warn of a potential for violence to a lack of planning and inadequate preparation by USCP and law enforcement:
- The Federal Intelligence Community—led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—did not warn of a potential for violence on January 6th.
- USCP intelligence components failed to convey the full scope of threat information they possessed.
- USCP was not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to the January 6th security threats, which contributed to the breach of the Capitol.
- Opaque processes and a lack of emergency authority delayed requests for National Guard assistance.
- The intelligence failures, coupled with the Capitol Police Board’s failure to request National Guard assistance prior to January 6th, meant the District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG) was not activated, staged, and prepared to quickly respond to an attack on the Capitol. As the attack unfolded, the Department of Defense (DOD) required time to approve the request and gather, equip, and instruct its personnel on the mission, which resulted in additional delays.
The report makes a series of recommendations, summarized below.
CAPITOL POLICE BOARD
- Empower the Chief of the USCP to request assistance from the D.C. National Guard in emergency situations.
- Document and streamline Board policies and procedures for submitting, reviewing, and approving requests from USCP to ensure coordination among all members of the Board.
- Ensure the Board is appropriately balancing the need to share information with officials with the need to protect sensitive and classified information.
- Appoint a new Chief of the Capitol Police with appropriate input from USCP officers, congressional leadership, and the committees of jurisdiction.
U.S. CAPITOL POLICE
- Ensure USCP has sufficient civilian and sworn personnel, with appropriate training and equipment, in the roles necessary to fulfill its mission.
- Require a department-wide operational plan for special events.
- Establish the Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) as a formal, permanent component of the USCP and ensure that its dedicated officers are properly trained and equipped at all times.
- Consolidate and elevate all USCP intelligence units into an Intelligence Bureau, led by a civilian Director of Intelligence reporting to the Assistant Chief of Police for Protective and Intelligence Operations; ensure the Bureau is adequately staffed and all agents and analysts are properly trained to receive and analyze intelligence information; and develop policies to disseminate intelligence information to leadership and rank-and-file officers effectively.
- Update its Incident Command System Directive to address how Incident Commanders are to communicate priorities, strategies, tactics, and threat assessment to front-line officers prior to and during an incident and ensure that the Directive is followed.
- Review and evaluate handling of open-source information, such as social media, containing threats of violence.
- Review and evaluate criteria for issuing and communicating intelligence assessments, bulletins, and other products to consumer agencies, such as the Capitol Police.
- Fully comply with statutory reporting requirements to Congress on domestic terrorism data, including on the threat level and the resources dedicated to countering the threat.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE/D.C. NATIONAL GUARD
- Develop standing “concept of operation” scenarios and contingency plans for responding quickly to civil disturbance and terrorism incidents.
- Enhance communications prior to and during an event between DOD and DCNG strategic, operational, and tactical decision-makers and commanding generals.
- Practice for the mobilization of additional National Guard members from neighboring jurisdictions to provide immediate assistance and report to command and control in the event of an emergency.
- For special events in which a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) is approved, consider proximity and response, among other factors, when deciding where to stage the QRF to ensure the ability to quickly respond to incidents at the Capitol.
- Clarify the approval processes and chain of command within DOD to prevent delays in authorizing the deployment of the DCNG when authorized.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND UNIFORMED SERVICES IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION
- Ensure that Mutual Aid Agreements among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies include all partners in the National Capital Region and that those agreements are regularly reviewed and updated.
- Conduct joint training exercises to ensure coordination across federal, state, and local governments concerning security threats in the Washington, D.C. area for requesting, receiving, and utilizing emergency assistance.
HOUSE AND SENATE SERGEANTS-AT-ARMS
- Develop protocols for communicating with Members of Congress, staff, and other employees during emergencies.
Two days after the January 6th attack, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration announced a joint bipartisan oversight investigation to examine the intelligence and security failures that led to the attack. Subsequently, the Committees held two oversight hearings related to the January 6th attack on February 23, 2021, and March 3, 2021. As part of this investigation the Committees reviewed thousands of documents, received written statements from more than 50 USCP officers about their experiences, and interviewed numerous current and former officials from USCP, Senate Sergeant at Arms, House Sergeant at Arms, Architect of the Capitol, FBI, DHS, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police, DOD, and the DCNG.
The executive summary and recommendations are available HERE.
The full text of the report and recommendations is available HERE.