Department of Homeland Security

DHS reported 'no major incidents of illegal activity' shortly after start of Jan. 6 insurrection

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent an email to the Pentagon reporting "no major incidents of illegal activity at this time" almost an hour after rioters crossed the barricade protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to Politico

Protestors first breached the barriers of the Capitol building at 12:53 p.m. that day, according to The New York Times, while the Army email obtained by Politico was sent at 1:40 p.m.

The Pentagon has been heavily criticized for taking hours to deploy National Guard to the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, but the email seems to show that DHS, which is explicitly tasked with coordinating responses to domestic threats, was not communicating the need for urgent action to the Defense Department.

"These emails raise serious questions about the response to the threat of January 6th," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told Politico. CREW provided the email to Politico. 

Despite the misleading nature of the early email, the Pentagon did receive accurate intel about what was happening at the Capitol from other entities like the White House, the DC mayor and the local law enforcement, Politico reported.

Then-U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had said he realized danger was imminent by 12:52 p.m. that day, Politico noted. 

"It was immediately clear that their primary goal was to defeat our perimeter as quickly as possible and to get past the police line," Sund testified.

The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon for more information. 

"Under Secretary Mayorkas' leadership, addressing domestic violent extremism is a top priority for DHS," a department spokesperson said in an email to The Hill. "The Department is working closely with federal, state, local, tribal, and non-government partners to improve our ability to detect, evaluate, and mitigate the threats posed by domestic terrorists."

-Updated at 5:36 p.m.