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January 6 Committee Lays Blame on FBI, DHS for Failing to Prevent Capitol Riots

National Review 2/2/2023 Ari Blaff
Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. January 6, 2021. © Stephanie Keith/Reuters Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. January 6, 2021.

The lead investigator of the House select January 6 Committee,Tim Heaphy, believes that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security could have prevented the Capitol riots based upon intelligence the organizations had gathered leading up to the event.

Although Heaphy accepts that former President Donald Trump “was the proximate cause,” igniting the spark by encouraging rioters to intervene in the election validation process,  federal law enforcement agencies’ own incompetence contributed to the situation.

“[W]hat happened at the Capitol was also affected by law enforcement failures to operationalize the ample intelligence that was present before Jan. 6, about the threats of violence,” Heaphy told NBC News. “Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence.”

“There was a lot of advance intelligence about law enforcement, about carrying weapons, about the vulnerability of the Capitol,” Heaphy added. “The intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough, in our view, for law enforcement to have done a better job.”

As a result, committee investigators concluded, the Capitol was left unprotected as both the FBI and DHS failed to deploy adequate security forces.

Heaphy’s commentary, however, runs contrary to the accounts of FBI officials who claim the bureau prepared exclusively for “lone wolf” attacks based on the available intelligence.

In October 2020, the FBI conducted a preparatory exercise known as a red cell in which four post-election scenarios were considered, all of them revolving around the concept of a “lone wolf.”

“[N]one suggested the rise of a mass movement that might support an aggrieved losing candidate,” a draft document obtained by the New York Times states.

“If everybody knew and all the public knew that they were going to storm Congress, I don’t know why one person didn’t tell us,” a top FBI intelligence official previously told congressional investigators. “Why didn’t we have one source come forward and tell me that?”

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