Capitol Police ‘knew of Jan 6 threat weeks ahead but did not prepare’

A report by two Senate committees found that US Capitol Police was aware about January 6 threats but did not prepare (Picture: AP)

The US Capitol Police had intelligence that then-President Donald Trump’s supporters planned to storm the Capitol at least two weeks before the January 6 insurrection but did not act in preparation, according to a new bipartisan report.

Released on Tuesday, the report titled Examining the US Capitol Attack detailed a series of miscommunications and omissions that stopped information on the planned riot from reaching Capitol Police leadership.

The report from the Senate Rules and Administration and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees states that the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit called violence threats ‘remote’ to ‘improbable’. That was despite federal authorities finding evidence that Trump fans planned to ‘storm the Capitol’ armed with weapons.

‘There were significant, widespread and unacceptable breakdowns in the intelligence gathering,’ said Senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the homeland security committee. ‘The failure to adequately assess the threat of violence on that day contributed significantly to the breach of the Capitol.’

Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, continued: ‘The attack was, quite frankly, planned in plain sight.’

The day before the riot, an FBI memo warned that people were traveling to Washington, DC, for ‘war’ – but that did not reach the top Capitol Police leaders.

Capitol Police’s own intelligence arm had information on threats on January 6 as early as December 21 but did not widely circulate it. Among the reports was one stating that Trump supporters and right-wing extremist groups posted online about bringing weapons to the Capitol to pressure Congress members to overturn the election results.

‘If they don’t show up, we enter the Capitol as the Third Continental Congress and certify the Trump Electors,’ one post read.

Another post stated: ‘Bring guns. It’s now or never.’

The report provided the most detailed timeline yet of the communication and planning failures. It comes just 11 days after Senate Republicans banned together to block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riot.

Among the report’s recommendations are better planning, intelligence gathering, training. The report does not analyze or draw a conclusion about Trump’s responsibility for the deadly attack on the Capitol.

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