Senate report: intelligence agencies ‘failed to fulfill their mission’ ahead of Jan. 6

A Senate report claims that U.S. intelligence agencies failed to properly assess and relay the threat of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Details of the failure: The Senate report indicates that despite having several tips about potential violence on Jan. 6, intelligence agencies significantly downplayed the degree of the threat nor did they effectively share their intelligence with law enforcement.
* The report, titled “Planned in Plain Sight,” disclosed more information about the extent of these warnings received by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis as early as December 2020.

Defensive response: The FBI has defended its efforts to preemptively address threats, citing continual self-improvement, and claimed to have increased swiftly the sharing of information with law enforcement partners post the Capitol attack.
* The FBI’s statement mentioned enhancements made to assist field office analysts since the attack.

Key criticisms: The report criticizes the intelligence community’s failure to imagine an event of this magnitude and their bias towards neglecting the evidence of such an unprecedented event.
* It termed this as a “failure of imagination” and pointed out the agencies’ inability to recognize the increasing threat of domestic terrorism, driven primarily by anti-government and white supremacist ideologies.
* The report also mentions the ill-timed change in contracts for third-party social media monitoring by the FBI just days before the attack, which led to a droop in open-source monitoring capabilities.

In the government’s defense: The report highlights that the FBI did receive warnings about the attack, but internally claimed they did not spot a credible threat.
* It cites only two limited intelligence documents issued by the FBI the night before the attack, and points out the FBI’s focus on potential clashes between protesters rather than the threat to the Capitol and its attendees.

Moving forward: In light of these revelations, the report recommends improving policies and procedures for gathering, analyzing and sharing intelligence with partner agencies, and suggests assigning a lead federal agency to oversee significant events.

View original article on NPR

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