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J6 security footage: Secret Service brought Kamala Harris within yards of undetected DNC pipe bomb

A veteran of the U.S. Secret Service says apparent security failure involving then-vice president-elect Harris 'obviously concerning.'

Published: July 21, 2023 3:30pm

Updated: July 21, 2023 6:21pm

U.S. Capitol complex security footage shows the Secret Service brought Vice President-elect Kamala Harris into a garage at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Jan. 6, 2021, just a few yards from where a pipe bomb had been planted the night before by an unidentified suspect.

The video footage, obtained by Just the News and released on Friday, raised immediate concerns with experts on presidential security and top lawmakers in Congress on how the explosive device was overlooked during security sweeps.   

"I'm still trying to make sense out of what we're seeing," Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., the chairman of the House Administration oversight subcommittee investigating the Jan. 6 security failures, told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Friday. "First of all, we know that there was actionable intelligence that there was going to be an attack on the Capitol. It seems like most every three letter agency knew about it. But the chief of police didn't because of the intelligence failure that happened within Capitol Police.

"That also leads us to believe that the Secret Service knew about it. We knew that people in the White House knew about the intelligence. So, why did they not catch a pipe bomb? And when you look at the video, and you see the still pictures from the FBI, that pipe bomb was placed to be found," he added. "It wasn't placed to be in an area to do damage. You would put it inside the bush all the way under the bush. This thing was left so it would be found. How in the world was it not found before they brought the future vice president into the Democrat club there?"

The footage, which you can watch in the player above, was made available by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's office and Loudermilk's committee. While it was reported in 2021 that Harris had to be evacuated from the DNC when the bomb was found, the footage of the motorcade was never before made public.

It emerges as the mystery of two unexploded pipe bombs -- one planted at the DNC and the other at the Republican National Committee on Jan. 5, 2021 -- deepens with the FBI saying it has been unable to identify and locate the masked suspect more than 900 days later, even though the subject was captured on extensive videotape footage and public rewards have been offered.

FBI officials recently told Congress that phone data that would typically help in such an investigation was corrupted, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told Just the News.

"They weren't able to use phone data to find out who the suspect was that they think may have planted it on Jan. 5. So it's like the Keystone Cops or they're not trying," Massie said Friday.

Just the News reviewed the several angles of security footage the FBI collected showing the planting of the bomb the evening before the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, security sweeps the next morning, and then the arrival of Harris motorcade late that morning, about three hours before the Capitol was breached.

The footage shows the suspect calmly sitting at a park bench near the DNC's garage entrance the night before, taking out the explosive device and planting it between the bench and a bush about 10 yards from the driveway before walking off. A photo of the device as it was found while Harris was still visiting the DNC shows it clearly visible to the human eye.

Despite the bomb's proximity to the garage entrance where Harris arrived, the footage shows the Secret Service motorcade bringing the future vice president into the driveway and into the building around 11:25 a.m. the next day, seemingly unaware an explosive device was in the immediate vicinity.

The Secret Service detail sat in the driveway for quite some time with Harris inside before a passerby wearing a backpack alerted the security detail around 1 p.m. that a bomb-like device was by the bench, prompting Harris to be evacuated, according to separate footage released by Massie on Twitter.

You can view that footage here:

The lawmaker said he was disturbed that a passerby could spot the bomb when the Secret Service didn't and that officials did not appear to have retained the identity of the person who alerted them.

"Who was that person that randomly walked up past the DNC, seemed concerned, had a backpack, talked to one of the police cars then went to the other side of the police car, went to Kamala Harris' Secret Service detail, talked to that police car? And then it's like, they are sort of there, I don't know, 30 seconds, a minute, minute and a half eating their lunch or something," he said.

"And then they decide to meander out and look around. And lo and behold, there's the pipe bomb. How did somebody find it after you've been sitting there for 17 hours out in the open at just the right time?" he asked.

The Secret Service declined to answer why the pipe bomb was missed during its security screening.

"In order to maintain operational security, the Secret Service does not discuss protective means and methods," a spokesperson said.

Charles Marino, a security expert who worked with the Secret Service for more than 20 years, said agents normally sweep the area before the president or vice president arrive.

"It's obviously concerning, to be sure, because if the sweep was conducted of the area, how was it missed or was it not there? And if it wasn't there, then how was it missed while the vice president-elect was there?" Marino said during an interview with Just the News. "It was in very close proximity, as you can see from the video, to where the vice president-elect was."

Marino said it "would have been a bad day" had the pipe bomb gone off while the vice president-elect was on-site at the DNC.

He also said he's surprised that a pipe bomb suspect has still not been identified. 

"Even more disturbing is that we still don't have an identified suspect for this going on now well over 2 years," he said.

According to Marino, one has to wonder why the pipe bomb suspect is still unknown considering the "overall net that's been cast" and the vast efforts federal authorities have taken to identify Jan. 6 riot suspects, including reviewing video footage and social media activity.

"Why isn't the same true for this person?" he asked. "I mean, we're talking about the same types of technologies that are in play for this type of person and caught on video, right? And, you know, we've got a time frame of this individual in the area, and still nothing."

Loudermilk said his committee is making enormous progress identifying security and intelligence failures across all the various agencies that dropped the ball on Jan, 6 and leading up to it and expects to recommended sweeping reforms in the weeks ahead. But he said until then, the Capitol isn't much more safe than it was before the riot.

"The short answer is people here do not feel safe, and that this could not happen again," he said. "They feel like there has not been a significant enough reforms. And I can tell you, that a lot of the officers that we speak with, they feel the same way. There's still a lot of work to do."

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