The review was announced as the nation’s capital is at the forefront of technology, with a growing security presence aimed at deterring further violence this weekend or during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Government officials are blocking streets and some large public spaces in hopes of preventing a repeat of last week’s chaos.
The Department of Justice’s review “will include a review of information relating to the events of January 6 that was available to the DoJ and its components prior to January 6; the extent to which this information has been shared by the DoJ and its components with the United States Capitol Police and other federal, state and local agencies; and the role of DoJ personnel in responding to the events at the US Capitol on January 6, ”Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office said in a statement.
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the FBI Norfolk office circulated an intelligence report a day before the attack warning of speaking online to attack Congress, smash windows, push doors and “get violent … Prepare for war ”. FBI officials said they shared this information the same day with other law enforcement agencies, but some senior officials outside the FBI said they never saw it.
According to people familiar with the matter, dozens of people in Washington on the day of the riot had already been identified on a government watch list as potential terrorist suspects.
Horowitz’s office to review “whether there are any weaknesses in DoJ protocols, policies or procedures that have affected the ability of the DOJ or its components to effectively prepare for and respond to the events on the U.S. Capitol on January 6” , the statement said, adding that his office may also consider other issues that arise during his investigation.
Announcement of such an investigation, as the FBI’s sprawling national investigation into the attack is barely a week old, underscores concern in government circles that vital intelligence may have been missed or mismanaged. . In his statement, Horowitz said his office “is aware of the sensitive nature of ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions” and “will ensure that the review does not interfere with them.”
In a letter to Pentagon officials, a senior official in the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office said his review will begin this month and will examine “DOD’s requests for support leading up to the planned protest and its consequences at the U.S. Capitol Complex, the DOD’s response, and whether the DOD’s actions were legal and supported by requirements that comply with applicable regulations and guidelines. “
DC Police and Capitol Police officials accused the Defense Department of reacting slowly as rioters forced their way into the Capitol building, saying senior officials initially rejected their request for help urgent and had taken hours to bring members of the DC National Guard to the scene. help.
Pentagon officials said local and Capitol Hill officials requested only limited help from the DC National Guard – which, because DC is not a state, is commanded by the Department of Defense – in advance and had unrealistic expectations of how quickly a force of part-time soldiers can deploy.
In the months leading up to the riot, military leaders, marked by criticism of their role in Trump’s brutal response to the racial justice protests last June, sought to distance themselves from the polarized politics surrounding the election of November and Trump’s attempts to reverse his result.
Separately, the Capitol Inspector General of Police told lawmakers his office will also review the events surrounding last week’s melee and suspend all other work during that time, according to a congressional aide.
“It is absolutely vital,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) “That we have a clear understanding of the breach of US Capitol security.”
Some lawmakers have asked the Government Accountability Office to look into these same issues, but that agency has yet to announce its decision on the request.
Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.