Capitol Police whistleblower memo lays out Jan. 6 'intelligence failures' on Pelosi watch
Three days after the Jan. 6 riot, a Capitol Police intelligence analyst sent a blistering email to supervisors, blowing the whistle on a failure to heed clear intelligence that right-wing rioters planned to storm the Capitol.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Just three days after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, one of the Capitol Police's top intelligence analysts sent a blistering email to supervisors, blowing the whistle on what he said was a failure to heed clear intelligence warning that right-wing rioters planned to storm the Capitol.
"We analysts have been reporting for weeks that Patriot groups are commenting on social media their intentions to storm the U.S. Capitol with overwhelming numbers," Eric Hoar wrote in the Jan. 9, 2021 email to his bosses. "I don't know what was occurring behind the scenes, but I hope that information was briefed with the veracity it deserved, and not just a one-time Event Assessment."
Hoar wrote he feared political considerations had overtaken security needs in the lead-up to the riot.
"The notion that valid intelligence is trumped by optics or political decisions is unacceptable and puts lives in danger," he said. "This is a concept I've understood for a long time, and I know you are aware of this as well, and I hope its meaning is now OBVIOUS to ALL Officials, Commanders, and Stakeholders."
You can read his full memo here:
The mention of "optics" appears to be a reference to the language used when House Democratic leadership rejected an offer days before Jan. 6 from the Trump Pentagon to send National Guard troops to assist Capitol Police.
After facing retaliation following the riot, Hoar left the Capitol Police's intelligence unit and landed at the Homeland Security Department, where he is now assigned to train numerous agencies — including the Capitol Police — on how to avoid future failures like the one he decried in his memo.
Contacted at his home Tuesday night, Hoar declined comment.
Hoar worked in the U.S. military overseas and then as a uniformed officer for the Capitol Police before a serious car accident left him confined to a wheelchair. He then moved to the intelligence unit, his friends and fellow officers told Just the News.
Republicans on the House Administration Committee led by ranking member Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) have taken testimony in private from several whistleblowers like Hoar but did not have a copy of his post-event intelligence failures memo. That was provided to Just the News by a senior Capitol Police source.
As Democrats wrap up their Jan. 6 probe, House Republicans are planning to soon release a wealth of evidence they have gathered showing intelligence and planning failures by the police and the first evidence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's contacts with the security apparatus leading up to the riots.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Jim Banks, head of the GOP Study Committee, have been working with Davis for months on a counter-investigation to the Jan. 6 committee's findings, officials told Just the News.
In his email entitled "1/6 intelligence failures," Hoar wrote he waited a few days to send his assessment to the department's leadership because he wanted to let subside his anger at watching his colleagues needlessly fight off a riot that could have been prevented or mitigated.
"I have been purposely quiet for several days in order to calm myself, but know that I am filled with anger and frustration," he wrote. "Watching videos of Officers and friends that I served next to when I was in uniform being bullied. Watching posts that I've held being overrun, still makes me nauseous."
He pleaded with both rank and file officers and supervisors to honestly acknowledge the intelligence failures that preceded Jan. 6 so that they would not be repeated in the future.
"The purpose of this message is not to investigate blame, but to hopefully provide insight to help prevent another disaster," he wrote at one point, candidly acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic had made intelligence sharing harder.
"I sincerely hope USCP Commanders have the fortitude to stand-up and LOUDLY convey the need for effective security posture, despite any optics or career repercussions," he added. "A meek commander is a worthless black hole."
Hoar's assessment is directly backed up by hundreds of pages of internal Capitol Police documents obtained by Just the News showing Hoar and other colleagues in the intelligence division receiving detailed warnings from the FBI, Homeland Security Department, the U.S. Marshals Service and D.C. Metropolitan Police that right-wing extremists were plotting to storm the Capitol and attack lawmakers.
The intelligence was processed and forwarded to department components starting on Dec. 21, 2020 up through Jan. 5, 2021, the day before the riots, the memos obtained by Just the News show.
In fact, some of the intelligence was repeatedly sent in an effort to get leaders' attention over the Christmas holidays. "I apologize if this is a double tap with the email," one of Hoar's colleagues, Matthew Hurtig wrote, in an email dated Dec. 31, 2020 where he re-forwarded information from the FBI about right-wing extremist threats on social media to "storm" the U.S. Capitol and "hang" politicians.
Hurtig, who was assigned by Capitol Police to an FBI joint terrorism task force, wrote he was concerned his first effort to forward the information a week earlier didn't appear to have gone through because he got no response.
Hoar assured Hurtig he was escalating the concerns anew to the Capitol Police intelligence division. "Thanks Matt, I will follow up for IICD," he wrote, using the acronym for the Capitol Police intelligence arm.
One of the starkest pre-Jan. 6 warnings came in the form of a Homeland Security Department intercept of online posts from a pro-Trump Web site called TheDonald.win, where detailed threats were made starting a month before the riots. Those threats included talk of penetrating the congressional tunnel system, using maps of the Capitol grounds to plot the best routes of attack and explicit instructions to storm the chamber where the Jan. 6 certification of election results was going to be held.
On Dec. 21, 2020, Homeland Security and Metropolitan Police sent the Capitol Police a six-page compilation of the most extreme threats and planning which had been posted in the 24 hours prior on the site.
The extremists discussed why having early maps of the tunnel system would be important to their plans. "It just means you know where to hang out for maximum impact," one post read.
Another came over the top with a chilling instruction that would mirror exactly what happened on Jan. 6 when rioters trapped House and Senate members in the chamber. “Forget the tunnels. Get into Capitol building, stand outside congress. Be in the room next to them . They won’t have time run if they play dumb.”
The threats sent to Capitol Police repeatedly made specific mention of two groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, that later would be accused by the FBI of fomenting the violence.
For instance, one threat posted on the site and provided to Capitol Police said the right wing extremists distrusted the Capitol Police force because of “how they defended antifa from proudboys like they were the swiss guard protecting the pope.”
The Dec. 21, 2020 intelligence bulletin that Hoar's division created to summarize the social media chatter about potential violence on Jan. 6 listed specific threats against members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Micth McConnell.
It also cited a suggestion to attack the power grid that provided electricity to the Capitol, a vow to burn down the Supreme Court and pleas to bring shovels, nerve gas and weapons to the event. "Bring guns, and don't let any patriot get arrested at any cost," the intelligence bulletin quoted one person planning to attend.
Despite all of the intelligence coming into Capitol Police, the department's final instructions to its front line officers made no mention of the potential warnings.
For instance, the department's Jan. 5, 2021 final Civil Disturbance Units plan for crowd and riot control contained this inexplicable language about threat assessment: "At this time there are no specific known threats related to the Joint Session of Congress - Electoral College Vote Certification."