WASHINGTON (AP) – Intelligence reports compiled by the United States Capitol Police in the days leading up to last year’s insurgency only considered an unlikely or distant risk of violence, even as others Assessments have warned that crowds of thousands of pro-Trump protesters could converge in Washington and create a dangerous situation.
The documents, obtained by the Associated Press, highlight the patchy and confusing intelligence that circulated to Capitol Hill police officers prior to the January 6 riot, when thousands of Donald Trump worshipers stormed the Capitol compound and fled. are fiercely clashed with law enforcement in their efforts to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Intelligence reports in particular show how the police agency severely underestimated the prospect for days chaotic violence and disruption.
Conflicting intelligence produced by law enforcement leading up to the riot has been at the forefront of Congressional scrutiny of the Jan. 6 preparations and response, with officials struggling to explain how they failed. not anticipated and planned the murderous riot on Capitol Hill that day. . The shortcomings led to upheavals in the upper ranks of the department, including the ousting of the chief, although the deputy chief in charge of protection and intelligence operations at the time remains in his post.
There was, according to a severely critical Senate report published in June, “a lack of consensus on the seriousness of the threat posed on January 6, 2021”.
âMonths after the attack on the US Capitol, there is still no consensus among USCP officials on threat analysis of intelligence reports by Jan.6, 2021,â the report said.
The findings of the documents, known as the âDaily Intelligence Reportâ and marked âFor Official Use Only,â have been described over the past year in congressional testimony and in the Senate report. But the PA obtained the full versions of the documents for January 4, 5 and 6 of last year on Friday evening. The New York Times highlighted the Jan. 4 report in an article last year on intelligence gaps.
During each of the three days, the documents showed, Capitol Police classified as “highly unlikely” the likelihood of acts of civil disobedience and arrests arising from the “Stop the Steal” protest scheduled for Capitol Hill. The documents ranked this event and the gatherings planned by about 20 other organizers on a scale of “distant” to “almost certain” in terms of the likelihood of major disruption. All were classified as “remote,” “very unlikely” or “unlikely,” the documents show.
“No further information has been found on the exact actions planned by this group,” said the Jan. 6 report of the “Stop the Steal” rally.
The Million MAGA March planned by Trump supporters is called in the document “unlikely,” officials saying it was “possible” that organizers could demonstrate at the Capitol complex, and that although there was talk of counter-demonstrators, there is “no clear plan on the part of these groups at the moment.
These optimistic forecasts are difficult to reconcile with separate intelligence assessments compiled by Capitol Police in late December and early January. The documents, also obtained by AP, warned that the crowds could number in the thousands and include members of extremist groups like the Proud Boys.
A January 3, 2021 memo, for example, warned of an “extremely dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public” due to the potential presence of “white supremacists, militiamen and others who promote actively violence “.
“Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they once were, but Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the report said.
A January 5 bulletin prepared by the FBI field office in Norfolk which warned of the potential for “war” on Capitol Hill adds to the mixed intelligence picture. Capitol Police officials said they were unaware of the document at the time. FBI Director Chris Wray said the report was released through the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, discussed at a command post in Washington, and posted on an Internet portal accessible to other agencies responsible for law enforcement.
Capitol Police officials have repeatedly insisted that they have no specific or credible information that any demonstration on Capitol Hill will result in a full-scale attack on the building. Despite careful scrutiny of intelligence gaps, Yogananda Pittman, the deputy chief intelligence officer at the time of the riot, remains in that position.
Current police chief J. Thomas Manger defended Pittman in an interview with the PA in September, highlighting her decision when she was acting chief to implement the Inspector General’s recommendations and expand the department’s internal intelligence capabilities so that agents do not. must rely equally on information gathered by other law enforcement agencies.
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