Homeland Security had intelligence regarding Jan. 6 but didn't notify until 2 days later: report

While warnings were emailed to local law enforcement "this information was not as widely disseminated as I&A's typical intelligence products," the IG wrote.

Updated: March 8, 2022 - 6:03pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Department of Homeland Security knew about security threats prior to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol but did not issue intelligence on the event until two days after it occurred, according to a newly-released inspector general's report.

The DHS Intelligence & Analysis Office received "one product for review" on Jan. 5, 2021, but the information was not distributed until Jan. 8, the report states. The agency's counterterrorism center "identified indicators" that Jan. 6 could become violent, but the agency did not issue an alert for the protest as it had done for other events, the IG stated.

Many of the problems with not communicating threats prior to the riot were due to issues with the agency's Open Source Collection Operations department which identifies and reports online threats.

"Finally, the Field Operations Division (FOD) considered issuing intelligence products on at least three occasions prior to January 6, 2021, but FOD did not disseminate any such products ultimately. It is unclear why FOD failed to disseminate these products," the inspector general wrote.

While the Intelligence & Analysis Office did email warnings to local Washington, D.C., area law enforcement partners, "this information was not as widely disseminated as I&A's typical intelligence products," the IG wrote.

The 54-page report, which is partially still classified, goes through various department activities prior to Jan. 6. The inspector general also compares the department's response to the 2020 summer of riots in Portland, Oregon, to the "Probable Indicators of Escalation of Protest-Related Violence" on Jan. 6. The "Stop the Steal" rally had more indicators of violence before the attack than the portland riots did, according to the report.

Messages between Open Source Collection Operations officials are included in the report as well, showing that agency staffers were aware of the threat of violence days leading up to the Capitol riot. 

On Jan. 2, 2021, one official texted, "I feel like people are actually going to try and hurt politicians. Jan 6th is gonna be crazy, not to mention the inauguration."

In another message between officials on Jan. 2, one said, "Like there's these people talking about hanging Democrats from ropes like wtf."

The other Open Source collector responded, "They'd need alot of rope, I think DC is pretty much all democrat haha."

The inspector general recommended for DHS's Open Source Collection Operations to provide "enhanced annual training" on intelligence oversight. The watchdog also recommended Open Source Collection Operations to develop a process for new training and "a process to request and receive timely reviews for open source intelligence products when they relate to upcoming events or urgent threats."

The inspector general's report comes as the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot is ramping up its activity. Most recently, the panel subpoenaed Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiance of Donald Trump Jr.

Just the News Spotlight