FBI intelligence warning that Jan. 6 protesters might violently storm the Capitol, target lawmakers and blockade Democrats in tunnels was never sent to frontline police commanders and officers, but was quietly emailed the night before to a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to documents that raise new concern that politics trumped security preparedness in the fateful hours before the riot.
Capitol Police Deputy Chief Sean Gallagher emailed top Schumer aide Kelly Fado, now the Senate's deputy sergeant of arms, at about 9:40 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2021 saying he wanted to "provide you visibility" to new intelligence that an FBI threat analysis center had received from a website owner, according to documents obtained by Just the News.
The information explicitly warned that demonstrators had detailed maps of the tunnel systems around the Capitol frequented by lawmakers and their staffs and they were plotting to create a "perimeter" for potential violence and to find "Democratic members early to block them from entering the Capitol." One point of entry the rioters were targeting was the Library of Congress, he warned.
"The owner of the website submitted an online tip to the FBI NTOC (National Threat Operations Center) stating that he has noticed a significant uptick in new visitors to his website," Gallagher wrote. "We have identified numerous open-source comments indicating groups intentions of finding the tunnel entrances and confronting/blocking" members of Congress.
"Additionally," he said, "we have seen a huge uptick with reporting via open source of the groups intentions of forming a perimeter around the campus (indicated in image #5 above) from 0600-1000 hours in order to block all MOC's from getting inside our perimeter to the Buildings with spots identified for direct action."
You can read the email and attachments here:
Gallagher, Fado and the Capitol Police press office did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Gallagher's email to Fado included several screen shots of web communications where demonstrators had detailed maps and discussed plotting specific actions, such as a plan to "block all the tunnel exits" and to ensure that legislators feel "our anger and resolve."
Remarkably, according to a report the Senate published last year after a brief investigation of Jan.6 security failures, the FBI's warnings were not distilled to the Capitol Police's then-chief Steve Sund or its commanders and officers preparing security for the next morning, despite the rich detail and new threat analysis they provided.
"Similar to the intelligence already in IICD's possession prior to January 5, the FBI SIR and the warning regarding the tunnel system were not elevated to USCP leadership," the report noted as one of many intelligence and security failures of the department’s leadership.
Key Republican members of Congress told Just the News on Thursday they had been unaware of Gallagher's tip-off to the Schumer aide and said it provided further evidence that the House Jan. 6 committee, which unveiled prime-time hearings Thursday night, had constricted an investigation to shield Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from accountability for the botched security they oversaw.
"This is a really a shocking bombshell discovery ... that shows the political nature of who received intelligence and who did not," Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the influential House Republican Study Committee, told the "Just the News, Not Noise" television show. "Remember the Capitol Police officers' union chief said that they, the rank and file police officers, weren't tipped off [to] the intelligence, that it was never shared with them.
"But it was shared with Chuck Schumer's office, a Democrat leader in the Senate. I mean, this is unbelievable. It's unfathomable to think that that intelligence was shared on a political basis to Democrat leaders, but not with anybody else. And that is a great example of the type of questions ... that this sham committee should be investigating and digging into, but they're not."
Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which oversees Capitol operations and security, on Thursday sent a sweeping letter to the Democrat chairman of the Jan. 6 investigative committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), demanding that all evidence of communications between congressional leaders and Capitol Police be preserved so that Republicans could investigate it if they take control of Congress in the November elections.
Davis told Just the News that he was troubled that Schumer's aide would get the detailed FBI intelligence but not the Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund or the field commanders.
"It looks to me like Deputy Chief Gallagher only notified a political appointee of Chuck Schumer with this very, very delicate, important information that needed to get out to everyone," Davis told the John Solomon Reports podcast.
"Deputy Chief Gallagher should have had every single person who is part of the oversight of the Capitol Police on this email," Davis added. "He chose only a staffer, who was who was appointed by Chuck Schumer. These are questions that have to be answered."
The Gallagher-Fado email is part of a tranche of documents obtained by Just the News from Capitol Police and congressional sources that show widespread security and intelligence lapses before Jan. 6.
An internal after-action report by the Capitol Police Department identified 53 major failures, while the department's official timeline of the tragedy revealed the Trump Pentagon began offering Congress a deployment of National Guard troops on Jan. 2, 2021, four days before the tragedy, but it was turned down, first by police and later by aides to Pelosi and Schumer.
Internal memos show Capitol Police on the eve of the riot received two separate warnings from the FBI, the one about the targeting of tunnels and another in the form of an intelligence bulletin from the bureau's Norfolk, Va., office warning that protesters were planning bloodshed, invading the Capitol and targeting members of Congress. Neither were distilled to the frontline commanders responsible for security, multiple investigations have found.
"They weren't prepared for what happened because the intelligence never reached the rank-and-file members of the Capitol Police Department," Banks told Just the News on Thursday. "They weren't equipped for what would happen. They had faulty and outdated equipment, expired shields. Some of our Capitol Police officers didn't even have helmets on Jan. 6, and then they weren't trained for what happened on January 6, even despite of all of the BLM riots in the summer of 2020."