Agency IGs to probe breakdown in response to Capitol riots
Inspectors general across four government agencies plan to review the government’s response to the riots on Jan. 6, examining how poor communication and planning led to a siege on the Capitol.
Investigators at the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security, Defense and Interior each plan to review their agencies’ response amid questions about delays in calling for assistance as U.S. Capitol Police were outnumbered by pro-Trump rioters.
“The DOJ [Office of Inspector General] OIG review will include examining information relevant to the January 6 events that was available to DOJ and its components in advance of January 6; the extent to which such information was shared by DOJ and its components with the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal, state, and local agencies; and the role of DOJ personnel in responding to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, announced on Friday.
“The DOJ OIG also will assess whether there are any weaknesses in DOJ protocols, policies, or procedures that adversely affected the ability of DOJ or its components to prepare effectively for and respond to the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” the statement read.
The Defense Department inspector general said it has put together a “multidisciplinary team” to review the Pentagon’s role and actions in responding to both the planned protest and the violent aftermath. Specifically, the investigation will cover requests for support from the Pentagon leading up to the protest and will examine whether the department’s actions were lawful.
The review comes as lawmakers question delays in asking for National Guard assistance for the riots.
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who stepped down in the days after the riots, told The Washington Post he asked for additional backup on six separate occasions but was ignored by House and Senate security officials.
The agencies involved in the review hold various law enforcement responsibilities. The Justice Department oversees the FBI, which has been questioned about intelligence sharing ahead of the event. The Interior Department oversees Park Police forces that are charged with security on the mall. The Defense Department, among its many security duties, is also tasked with calling in the National Guard within the district.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general’s office said its review would examine the department’s intelligence office and its role in supplying law enforcement with information. The DHS inspector general said it would also likely examine the department’s law enforcement components in connection with the review.
Congress has also announced its own probe of the events.
“To ensure the safety of those who work and visit here, we must get to the bottom of these breakdowns and prevent them from ever happening again. The Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the Capitol Police, is robustly investigating yesterday’s events, including with hearings to directly question key leaders about what went wrong,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) who chairs the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, said in a release last week.
“There’s no other way to say it: what happened last Wednesday was an epic failure of intelligence and preparation. Not only must we get to the bottom of why and how this was allowed to happen, but we must ensure it can never ever happen again.”
And in the Senate, both the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules Committee have announced investigations.
“Let us be clear: An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American. We plan to conduct oversight and hold bipartisan hearings on these horrific events, and work together to make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again,” leaders of the two committees said in a joint statement.
Rebecca Kheel contributed.
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