The U.S. Capitol Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were criticized for their failure to share crucial information about “credible threats” prior to the January 6th breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
According to a watchdog report released by the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI agents and U.S. Capitol Police officers identified “credible threats” of violence against lawmakers and their families several days before the January 6th insurrection, but failed to adequately communicate this information to leadership or other law enforcement agencies.
The lack of communication regarding these threats, which included specific plots to attack the Capitol and lawmakers, has been heavily criticized by lawmakers and security experts alike. If the information had been shared sooner, it is believed that security measures could have been heightened and possibly prevented the rioters from breaching the Capitol building.
The report notes that while some information was shared with select individuals within the U.S. Capitol Police, it was not distributed more broadly to key law enforcement partners. Furthermore, the report found that there were no written directives or procedures in place for sharing intelligence with other law enforcement agencies.
The failure to share credible threats was just one of several missteps that led to the breach of the Capitol building on January 6th. The report also identified a lack of preparation and coordination among law enforcement agencies as major contributing factors to the security breach.
In response to the report, U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger announced that the department would create a new intelligence division and install a “Chief Information Officer” to improve communication and information sharing among different agencies.
The FBI and U.S. Capitol Police have come under intense scrutiny since the events of January 6th. In the months following the Capitol breach, dozens of individuals were arrested and prosecuted for their roles in the violence. Some alleged that their actions were motivated by false information spread by former President Donald Trump and his supporters about election fraud.
The report highlights the urgent need for better communication and collaboration among law enforcement agencies to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. As the primary guardians of public safety, it is crucial that all law enforcement agencies work together to prevent violence and protect democracy.