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perspective | Two-year investigation reveals law enforcement lapses related to Capitol riot

PoliticsElectionsperspective | Two-year investigation reveals law enforcement lapses related to Capitol riot
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A two-year investigation into law enforcement actions related to the US Capitol riot found missed opportunities, weak risk-mitigation processes and insufficient guidance to officers before and after the riots.

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“Capital Attack” Investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Repeated lapses have been detected in the exchange of information between and at times between the 10 federal agencies dealing with the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 by those who campaigned for Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election. Tried to reverse the damage. Findings echo previous reporting by The Washington Post and others on these shortcomings.

Seven reports came out in the investigation, Together Last Released last week. It said all agencies had “identified potential threats of violence” and notified law enforcement partners, but not always as widely as was necessary. In some cases, the agencies “did not fully process or share the information, preventing critical information from reaching key officials”.

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Capitol Police and the US Park Police, for example, “did not consistently share fully developed threat information,” said GAO, the congressional watchdog. The Capitol Police also did not share some intelligence with its frontline officers.

opposite monday Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson claims That the January 6 rioters “were not insurgents, they were bystanders,” Gao presented the stark facts of the attack in a letter accompanying the performance audit: “Over the course of approximately 7 hours, more than 2,000 protesters entered the US Capitol. January 6, disrupting the peaceful transfer of power and threatening the safety of the Vice President and members of Congress. The attack resulted in attacks on at least 174 police officers, including 114 Capitol Police and 60 DC Metropolitan Police Department officers. at least because of the events seven deaths And more than $2.7 billion has been lost, according to the Department of Justice.” So far, nearly 1,000 people from around 50 states have been arrested for crimes related to the insurgency.

According to the GAO, the day after the riot, the FBI’s Washington Field Office was “tracking 18 domestic terrorism subjects as potential travelers in the DC area.” But because “FBI personnel did not follow policies for processing certain tips,” they did not develop into “reports that could be shared with partners.” The San Antonio field office received 45 emails related to anti-terrorist threats from Parler, a right-wing social media platform, from November 20, 2020 to January 20, 2021, but “did not develop any related reports on the events of January 6 as required by policy.” .

“If the FBI does not process tips or information in accordance with policy and procedures,” Gao said, “the information may be lost or may not be developed into dangerous products that the FBI can share with partners.”

The GAO said the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis has developed threat information about anyone who has “enough ammo to win a small war” who plans to attend the January 6 events. That intelligence was shared with some agencies, but not the Capitol Police, the primary agency protecting the Capitol. DHS officials said the information was not shared because the DHS did not view the police force as part of the intelligence community, despite its ability to obtain classified intelligence.

What the Capitol Police would have done with that information, however, is questionable. The GAO found that police officers “did not share relevant threat information … agency-wide, resulting in some officers not having complete information.” A GAO survey noted that 57 percent of low-ranking executives indicated that the guidance they received was “little or not clear at all.”

When agencies like the FBI and DHS don’t handle tips or threats in line with their policies, “that tells GAO they lack internal controls over their process,” GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice director Triana McNeil said by phone. Said.

Two of the previous GAO “Capital Attack” reports were not released publicly because of the sensitive information to law enforcement. Others found that DHS failed take steps to strengthen security at the Capitol because of confusing procedures, and that of the Capitol Police emergency procedures are flawed and Its officers need better training for violent demonstrations. The GAO audit also looked at how effective Federal agencies used open-source data To assess the risks of 6 Jan.

Whereas The GAO study does not say whether insurgency violence could have been prevented or reduced by better procedures and sharing between and within law enforcement agencies. a prominent legislator That said the findings are worrying.

“While it is impossible to know whether the January 6 attack could have been prevented with better intelligence-sharing policies,” Representative Benny G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, said. Top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee in an email. “It is damning that some intelligence products and threat tips were not shared between agencies or even within some agencies.”

The GAO made its 10 most recent recommendations Reports relating to issues within federal agencies, including internal control problems, and the processing and sharing of information. All agencies accepted the recommendations. In a letter to GAO included in the report, the FBI commended GAO for its “comprehensive fact-gathering and thorough analysis”.

Now the recommendations have to be implemented, which the agencies said they will do.

Agencies “need to develop a control environment,” McNeil said, “to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing at all times.”

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