February 02, 2021

Durbin, Grassley Press DOJ And FBI For Answers On Security Failures That Led To January 6th Attack

Senators Also Announce March 2nd Oversight Hearing With FBI Director

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), incoming Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requesting additional information regarding the security posture and planning provided in advance of and during the January 6, 2021, Joint Session of Congress. In a letter to Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Durbin and Grassley note that emerging reports have raised serious concerns about the adequacy of preparations by DOJ and FBI, and requested answers to a series of questions about the security failures that spanned multiple agencies.

“We are writing to gather additional information regarding the security posture and planning provided in advance of and during the January 6, 2021, Joint Session of Congress (‘Joint Session’).  The security failures that enabled the January 6 attack span multiple agencies, and emerging reports raise serious concerns about the adequacy of preparations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” wrote Durbin and Grassley. “It is essential that we obtain a complete accounting of your preparation for and response to the events of January 6. 

Separately, Durbin and Grassley announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee would conduct an oversight hearing with Director Wray on March 2nd. This will be Wray’s first Congressional appearance since the January 6th attack on the Capitol and his first appearance before the Judiciary Committee since 2019.

Full text of the today’s letter is available here and below:

February 2, 2021

Dear Acting Attorney General Wilkinson and Director Wray: 

We are writing to gather additional information regarding the security posture and planning provided in advance of and during the January 6, 2021, Joint Session of Congress (“Joint Session”).  The security failures that enabled the January 6 attack span multiple agencies, and emerging reports raise serious concerns about the adequacy of preparations by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

It is essential that we obtain a complete accounting of your preparation for and response to the events of January 6.  To that end, we request responses to the following questions: 

  1. What actions did DOJ and FBI take to address concerns about a violent attack at the Capitol in the days leading up to January 6? For example, did you establish a command post at FBI headquarters or the FBI’s Washington Field Office before the attack on the Capitol began? What actions did you take to ensure additional law enforcement resources from the FBI or other DOJ components were available to address a mass attack?
  1. How did DOJ and FBI coordinate planning for the events of January 6 with other intelligence and law enforcement agencies and departments, including the United States Capitol Police, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, United States Park Police, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense? 
  1. What information did you possess about threats or threat actors related to the events that ultimately transpired on January 6, including individuals listed on the Terrorist Screening Database (or any other federal watch list available to the FBI) or otherwise affiliated with domestic violent extremist movements?
    1. Please produce all documents and communications that refer or relate to such threats, including intelligence bulletins, threat assessments, situational information reports, briefing materials, and requests for assistance. 
    1. Did you prepare an intelligence bulletin or threat assessment about the risk of violence on January 6 for external or internal consumption? Why or why not?
    1. What information about these threats did you share with federal, state, or local departments and agencies, and with which departments and agencies did you share it and when?
    1. What communications did you have with technology companies about posts on their platforms concerning plans for violence on January 6?
  1. What role did DOJ and FBI play in the immediate law enforcement response to the attack on the Capitol on January 6? Please describe the role you played, what requests for assistance you received, and how you responded to those requests. 
  1. Please describe the organization and scope of the law enforcement and prosecutorial response to the events of January 6. 
    1. What FBI and DOJ components are involved in the response, and who is coordinating it? 
    1. What guidance have prosecutors been given about charging decisions in connection with the events of January 6? 
    1. Has anyone been tasked with reviewing the role of domestic violent extremist movements in enabling the attack on the Capitol? If so, who? If not, why not?
  1. What steps are you taking to disrupt threats of future violence by domestic violent extremist movements? 

Please provide responses to these questions as soon as possible, and no later than February 16, 2021. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

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