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The Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees early Tuesday released a bipartisan report outlining multiple intelligence, communications, and leadership failures during and before the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. “The attack was, quite frankly, planned in plain sight,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) told reporters.
Capitol Police intelligence officers knew as early as Dec. 21 that “Stop the Steal” activists were organizing on social media to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 and “bring guns” and other weapons, the 127-page report says. They were also sharing maps of the Capitol and its tunnel system, discussing the best entry points and how to trap lawmakers inside the tunnels. This information was not shared with Capitol Police leadership, rank-and-file officers, or other federal law enforcement.
The report also sets out a detailed timeline of the Jan. 6 riot and contains interviews of Capitol Police officers recounting the “absolutely brutal” abuse they faced from the insurrectionists.
The Senate report “is the first — and could be the last — bipartisan review of how hundreds of former President Donald Trump’s supporters were able to violently push past security lines and break into the Capitol,” The Associated Press reports. “As a bipartisan effort, the report does not delve into the root causes of the attack, including Trump’s role as he called for his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ to overturn his election defeat that day. It does not call the attack an insurrection, even though it was.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the top Republican on the Rules Committee and one of the GOP senators who recently blocked an independent bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, argues such an investigation would be redundant and take too long. The new Senate report “clearly states its scope was limited, and ‘further scrutiny of these failures and the preparations and response of federal agencies’ is needed,” Axios notes.
Blunt and Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) plan to introduce legislation that would give the Capitol Police chief more authority to directly request help from the D.C. National Guard, one of 20 recommendations in their report.
“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” Peters said. “But it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly, as a country and as a democracy.”