The chief investigative counsel for the House January 6 committee concluded that failures by federal law enforcement officials played a significant role in the January 6 riot and if those agencies had simply acted on the intelligence they had before hand, they could have prevented the riot.
Former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy revealed his findings to NBC News in an exclusive interview Tuesday, which the Democrat-controlled committee “left out of its televised hearings and final report.”
Heaphy said that while former President Donald Trump was “the proximate cause” for the events of that day, “what happened at the Capitol was also affected by law enforcement failures to operationalize the ample intelligence that was present before Jan. 6, about the threats of violence.”
“Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence,” he said. “There was a lot of advance intelligence about law enforcement, about carrying weapons, about the vulnerability of the Capitol. The intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough, in our view, for law enforcement to have done a better job.”
The report noted that the highly politicized committee not only chose to downplay his findings, but at times went as far as to “contradict” his conclusions.
The report outlined the following conclusions that Heaphy said that investigators found:
- The Capitol Police failed to deploy enough force to defend the building, but the FBI and DHS, the federal agencies charged with collecting intelligence about domestic extremists, didn’t do enough to sound the alarm about the threat.
- The FBI and DHS were too cautious about exploiting so-called “open source” intelligence gleaned from social media out of misplaced concern about free speech violations.
- The FBI and DHS made a crucial error by not publishing a Joint Intelligence Bulletin about the threats they were seeing, which might have prompted a more robust defense of the Capitol.
- There was confusion about which federal agency was in charge, hampering the response once the Capitol was breached.
Heaphy said that mistakes were made that led to law enforcement not acting on tips they received that violence may break out that day, tips that were submitted weeks in advance.
“Even if individual tips don’t, by themselves, provide enough specific and credible information to take an investigative step, take a step back. If there are 50 such tips, aggregate intelligence suggests, ‘Hey, maybe we have a problem,’” Heaphy said. “That was the failure here.”