WASHINGTON (AP) – Intelligence reports compiled by the US Capitol Police in the days leading up to last year’s uprising indicated only an unlikely or distant risk of violence, even though other estimates warned that crowds of potentially thousands of Trump supporters could gather in Washington and create a dangerous situation.
The documents obtained by the Associated Press highlight the unevenness and confusion of information that came to Capitol police ahead of the January 6 riots, when thousands of Donald Trump supporters filled the Capitol compound and violently clashed with law enforcement officials in their attempt to undermine the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Intelligence reports, in particular, show how the police department grossly underestimated the prospect of chaotic violence and unrest until the day of the riots.
Conflicting data gathered by law enforcement and leading to the riots were the focus of Congress in terms of preparation and response for January 6, and officials struggled to explain why they failed to foresee and plan the deadly Capitol riot that day. … The shortcomings led to upheaval in the highest echelons of management, including the dismissal of the chief, although the assistant chief in charge of security and intelligence operations remained in office at the time.
According to a sharply critical Senate report released in June, “there was no consensus on the severity of the threat posed on January 6, 2021.”
“Several months after the attack on the US Capitol, there is still no consensus among USCP officials on the threat analysis in intelligence reports until January 6, 2021,” the report said.
The documents, known as the “Daily Intelligence Report” marked “For Official Use Only,” have been described over the past year in Congressional testimony and in the Senate report. On Friday evening, the AP received the full versions of the documents for January 4, 5 and 6 last year. The New York Times highlighted the January 4 report in last year’s intelligence gaps.
The documents showed that on each of the three days, Capitol police rated it as “highly unlikely” the likelihood of acts of civil disobedience and arrests associated with the “Stop Theft” protest planned for the Capitol. In the documents, this event and the meetings scheduled for January 6th are rated by about 20 other organizers on a scale from “distant” to “almost certain” in terms of the likelihood of serious disruption. They were all rated as “distant,” “highly unlikely,” or “unlikely,” as the documents show.
“No further information has been found about the exact actions planned by this group,” said a January 6 message about the Stop Theft rally.
The Million MAGA march, planned by Trump supporters, is assessed in the document as “unlikely.” these groups currently have no clear plans. ”
Another event by a group known as the Prime Time Patriots was similarly described as having a “highly unlikely” chance of disruption, with the report again stating that “no further information was found about the exact actions planned by this group.”
These optimistic forecasts are difficult to reconcile with separate intelligence estimates made by Capitol Police in late December and early January. These documents, also obtained by the AP, warned that crowds could number in the thousands and include members of extremist groups such as the Proud Boys.
A memo dated January 3, 2021, for example, warned of “an extremely dangerous situation for both law enforcement and the general public” due to the potential presence of “white supremacists, militias and others actively promoting violence.” …
“Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of Trump supporters are not necessarily the opponents of the protest, as it was before, but rather Congress itself is the target of the 6th,” the report says.
Added to the mixed intelligence portrait is a January 5 bulletin prepared by the local FBI office in Norfolk warning of the possibility of a “war” in the Capitol. Capitol police chiefs said they were unaware of the document at the time. FBI Director Chris Ray said the report was circulated through the FBI’s Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force, discussed at a command post in Washington, and posted on an Internet portal accessible to other law enforcement agencies.
Capitol police officials have repeatedly insisted that they have no concrete or credible evidence that any demonstration at the Capitol would lead to a large-scale attack on the building. Despite careful scrutiny of intelligence shortcomings, Yogananda Pittman, assistant chief of intelligence during the riots, remains in that position.
Current Police Chief J. Thomas Munger defended Pittman in a September interview with AP, pointing to her decision when she was acting chief to follow up on the inspector general’s recommendations and expand the department’s internal intelligence capabilities so officers do not need to rely so heavily on intelligence gathered by other law enforcement officers. bodies.