If the picture painted by these sources is true, it suggests an internal…
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress uncovered a number of problems that came from the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies that failed to work as they should have ahead of the attacks on Congress.
Writing for Just Security, former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that after the Sept. 11 Commission found failures, there were major changes to the government and intelligence community. In that case, however, there was no direct link to someone to blame. In the case of Jan. 6, there is a lot of evidence that federal agencies didn’t sound the alarm to the U.S. Capitol, elected officials, the Capitol Police or the Washington, D.C. Mayor to warn that they were certain an attack was coming.
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While the FBI has done a lot of good work since Jan. 6 in arresting militia members and thwarting attacks, there remains to be reports of a small minority of agents who think Jan. 6 are a waste of time and that the attack wasn’t that big of a deal.
“That’s a factor which, it stands to reason, may have played a role in the lack of proactive measures taken by the FBI in the face of multiple warnings of potential violence on Jan. 6,” wrote Rangappa. “The evidence presented by the Jan. 6 committee, combined with reporting over the last year, offer clues into what may be going on behind the scenes at the Bureau. If the picture painted by these sources is true, it suggests an internal, long-brewing problem that the FBI needs to investigate and nip in the bud. That, to date, FBI Director Christopher Wray has not taken action to address the problem internally also suggests that congressional oversight committees may need to get involved and demand answers.”
Two days after the attack on Jan. 8, 2021, the director of the Washington field office, Steve D’Antuono “had told reporters … that the FBI had no intelligence suggesting that violence was brewing before Jan. 6.” Rangappa also recalled that neither Wray nor then Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen were around when the first press conference happened, six days after the attack. They dodged questions about what the FBI knew and when they knew it. Now it’s very clear they knew well in advance.
Rangappa cited the so-called “Norfolk memo” which referenced “an online thread discuss[ing] specific calls for violence” against members of Congress on Jan. 6. The story changed when in June 2021, Wray repeated D’Antuono’s comments in speaking before Congress. He claimed that the “Norfolk memo” was shared with law enforcement, but that they had no other information other than that.
That has now been proven false.
“Wray, along with the Deputy Director for Counterterrorism, Jill Sanborn, also testified that the FBI could not, under its internal rules, monitor social media posts of people publicly advocating or planning violence, due to First Amendment concerns,” Rangappa recalled. “This was not entirely accurate. The FBI had latitude to monitor social media in order to conduct threat assessments and to use evidence of planning and coordination of violence on social media to open a predicated investigation (which happened with at least four people later charged under an anti-riot statute in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd).”
So, Wray told Congress that the Attorney General Guidelines meant they couldn’t monitor people online without any kind of prediction. In fact the AG Guidelines explicitly encourage the FBI to do the opposite.
The other red flag she cited came from the Aug. 2021 Reuters article claiming the FBI had “scant” evidence that Jan. 6 violence was coordinated. Sources were four “former and current law enforcement officials” with knowledge of the investigations. they claimed there was no scheme by Roger Stone or Alex Jones ahead of time. There was no evidence that Oath Keepers and Proud Boys had plans to attack. All of it was false and the truth has been a key part of the prosecutions of many of the members of the militias and it’s being used in investigations for others like Stone.
The FBI didn’t just lie about what they knew, they intentionally worked to mislead Americans and Congress.
Rangappa closed by including new evidence that continues to emerge in the investigation about what was known and when. There are FBI informants that flagged the attacks ahead of time that are part of the trials for Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
There has yet to be a reckoning for Wray and those who misled Congress. There also hasn’t been any investigation into the FBI’s internal failures, much less a probe into agents who align themselves with the insurrectionists.