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Senate committees probe 22 agencies' response to Jan. 6 attack

Senate committees probe 22 agencies' response to Jan. 6 attack
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A coalition of six Senate committees took the unusual step Monday of jointly requesting information from 22 different law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies for an accounting of their response to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The letter asks for a breakdown of what each agency knew ahead of the attack, a detailed timeline of their response, and how and whether they responded to requests for assistance.

“The January 6, 2021 attack on our Capitol, one of the great symbols of American democracy, will forever be a stain on our nation’s history. The attackers failed to disrupt the work of Congress, due in large part to the heroic acts of many officers and congressional staff,” lawmakers wrote in a brief letter.

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“Nevertheless, the security failures that led to the breach endangered not just the Vice President and the Congress, but the peaceful, democratic transfer of power itself.  The American people deserve a complete accounting of those failures," they continued.

The letter was signed by the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Homeland Security, Rules, Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services committees.

The request is a show of a bipartisan interest in a massive oversight effort of an attack that left five dead and has resulted in dozens of arrests after rioters stormed the Capitol. 

The letter was sent to the House and Senate sergeant-at-arms, Capitol Police, the FBI, the Secret Service and the Department of Justice, among others.

The request includes a list of 17 questions with a clear aim of pinpointing security gaps.

“What protocols does your agency or department follow for a planned demonstration at the Capitol? Were any deviations made from those standard protocols?” lawmakers asked. “What intelligence about potential demonstrations or violence on January 6, 2021 was generated or received by your agency or department in advance of the Capitol attack?”

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The letter also asks for “a detailed ‘tick-tock’ timeline” for each agency, how they responded to requests for assistance, what orders were given to front-line officers, how they coordinated with D.C. government and whether they’ve taken any disciplinary actions against employees involved in the response.

The letter follows an announcement last month that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules Committee would undertake a joint oversight effort for the Jan. 6 attack. 

Committees in the House chamber have also opened investigations into the attack.