06.08.21

Peters Releases Bipartisan Investigative Report Detailing Security, Planning and Response Failures that Led to Breach of U.S. Capitol on January 6th

Report Offers Recommendations to Ensure Capitol is Secure from Ongoing and Future Threats and Builds on Peters’ Efforts to Combat Domestic Terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a joint bipartisan report detailing how security, planning and response failures led to a violent and unprecedented breach of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. The report offers bipartisan recommendations that lawmakers, Capitol security officials and national security officials can take to ensure the Capitol is secure from ongoing threats. Peters previously convened two joint hearings to examine the security and intelligence failures that led to the January 6th attack.

Peters was joined by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Rules and Administration, in releasing the report.

“Thanks to the heroic actions of U.S. Capitol Police, D.C. Metropolitan Police, the National Guard and others – rioters on January 6th failed to achieve their goal of preventing the certification of a free and fair presidential election. The events of January 6th were horrific, and our bipartisan investigation identified many unacceptable, widespread breakdowns in security preparations and emergency response related to this attack,” said Senator Peters. “Our report offers critical recommendations to address these failures and strengthen security for the Capitol to prevent an attack of this nature from ever happening again.”

READ THE FULL BIPARTISAN REPORT: “Examining the U.S. Capitol Attack: A Review of the Security, Planning, and Response Failures on January 6”

READ THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On January 6, 2021, the world witnessed a violent and unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the democratic process.  Rioters, intent on obstructing the Joint Session of Congress, broke into the Capitol building, vandalized and stole property, and ransacked offices. They attacked members of law enforcement and threatened the safety and lives of our nation’s elected leaders. Tragically, seven individuals, including three law enforcement officers, ultimately lost their lives. The Committees’ investigation uncovered a number of failures leading up to and on January 6th that allowed for the Capitol to be breached.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The Federal Intelligence Community—including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Capitol Police (USCP) – did not warn of potential violence and failed to convey the full scope of threat ahead of January 6th.
  • Capitol Police was not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to the January 6 security threats, which contributed to the breach of the Capitol.
  • Opaque processes and a lack of emergency authority delayed requests for National Guard assistance.
  • The intelligence failures, coupled with the Capitol Police Board’s failure to request National Guard assistance prior to January 6th, meant the District of Columbia National Guard was not activated, staged, and prepared to quickly respond to an attack on the Capitol. As the attack unfolded, the Department of Defense (DOD) required time to approve the request and gather, equip, and instruct its personnel on the mission, which resulted in additional delays.

The report also includes a series of recommendations for the Capitol Police Board, United States Capitol Police, federal intelligence agencies, the Department of Defense, and other Capital region law enforcement agencies. Some recommendations in the report include but not are limited to:

  • Empower the Chief of the USCP to request assistance from the D.C. National Guard in emergency situations.  
  • Ensure USCP has sufficient civilian and sworn personnel, with appropriate training and equipment, in the roles necessary to fulfill its mission.  
  • Review and evaluate handling of open-source information, such as social media, containing threats of violence. 
  • Fully comply with statutory reporting requirements to Congress on domestic terrorism data, including on the threat level and the resources dedicated to countering the threat.
  • Clarify the approval processes and chain of command within Department of Defense to prevent delays in authorizing the deployment of the DC National Guard when authorized.  

The bipartisan report builds on Peters’ oversight efforts to ensure our national security apparatus is tackling the rising domestic terrorism threat posed by white supremacists and anti-government extremists. A recent report required by a provision Peters got signed into law in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act found that racially and ethnically motivated violent domestic extremists pose the greatest national security threat to the United States. Peters also convened a hearing to examine the role of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and what changes are needed to strengthen efforts to protect civil rights and accurately assess domestic terrorism threats facing communities across the country.  Last Congress, Peters secured the expansion of a successful grant program to help houses of worship and other nonprofits protect their facilities from potential attacks. In 2019, Peters convened the committee’s first domestic terrorism hearing with a focus on white supremacist violence. 

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