Law Enforcement’s Forewarnings About Jan. 6 Violence Detailed in GAO Report

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Federal agencies created at least 26 intelligence reports ahead of Jan. 6, 2021, forewarning about potential violence on Capitol Hill, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO r

eport, released earlier this month, examined 10 federal agencies and their role in obtaining and sharing open-source information before the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Senior law enforcement officials have blamed a lack of intelligence for why law enforcement seemingly wasn’t prepared, but the GAO report said the U.S. government had at least 26 reports forewarning about violence in the days and months before the event.

“All 10 selected agencies—including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which have lead roles in countering domestic terrorism and violent extremism—were aware of open-source data about planned events on January 6 and seven were aware of potential violence planned for that day,” the May 2 report said.

“They obtained the data through manual web searches, sharing with each other, and social media platforms.”

The GAO report said the 10 agencies—which also include the U.S. Capitol Police, Secret Service, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)—created 38 election-related “threat products,” which are intelligence reports based on open-source data collection and social media analysis. Of the 38 threat products, 26 were related to Jan. 6, according to the GAO.

“For example, prior to January 6, the FBI reviewed information regarding an online threat that discussed calls for violence, including, ‘Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood … Get violent … Go there ready for war.’ In addition, in mid-December 2020, DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis received information regarding threats to Congress and elected officials and discussions of bringing guns into D.C. on January 6,” the report said.

“Further, one agency received data from a social media platform [Parler] on December 24, 2020, that included a user threatening to kill politicians and coordinate armed forces on January 6.”

By Ken Silva

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Capitol Attack: Federal Agencies’ Use of Open Source Data and Related Threat Products Prior to January 6, 2021 PDF


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