‘No major incidents of illegal activity’: DHS told Pentagon as pro-Trump mob breached Capitol

“These emails raise serious questions about the response to the threat of January 6th,” mentioned Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for the Residents for Duty and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a authorities watchdog group that obtained the e-mail by means of a public information request and shared it with POLITICO.

A DHS spokesperson declined to immediately deal with the earlier administration’s Jan. 6 response, or reply follow-up questions on whether or not the division conveyed further updates to the Pentagon through different channels.

“Under Secretary Mayorkas’ leadership, addressing domestic violent extremism is a top priority for DHS,” the spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “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.”

Military spokesperson Cynthia Smith mentioned Military senior leaders labored with real-time data “to assess the situation and determine the best response options available to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army.”

The Pentagon did obtain extra correct details about the risk on Jan. 6 through frequent communications all through the day with different companies, in addition to lawmakers, the White Home, the DC mayor and the native regulation enforcement. An in depth timeline launched by DOD on the time displays a number of telephone calls between the Military Secretary, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Division management, in addition to others between DOD leaders and lawmakers.

The e-mail itemizing DHS’s updates was despatched from somebody on the Military’s operations middle within the basement of the Pentagon to a variety of senior Military officers, together with Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn, who on the time was serving because the Military’s deputy chief of employees for operations, plans and coaching on the Pentagon (and who’s the brother of Trump’s former Nationwide Safety Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn); and then-Military Undersecretary James McPherson. Earlier than sharing the e-mail with CREW in response to their request, the Protection Division redacted the identify of the sender.

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The updates from DHS had been conveyed over an inside authorities messaging system, which mechanically transformed the time stamp to Greenwich Imply Time, based on an Military official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate a delicate subject.

The doc exhibits that at 1:40 p.m. senior DOD officers acquired the “DHS National Operations Center update as of 1330, 06 Jan,” as described within the Military e mail.

The NOC “Provides timely reporting and products…to support senior-leader decision making,” based on DHS’s web site. A part of its mission is “to link senior leaders to facilitate unity of effort and incident management efforts.”

In different phrases, the middle exists to get correct data to decision-makers proper once they want it. Its updates routinely exit in realtime to the Military Operations Middle, which then forwards them to the related Military officers, based on individuals aware of the method.

The primary merchandise on DHS’s 1:30 p.m. replace listing wasn’t even about D.C, based on the Military e mail; it was about Nationwide Guard models deployed in Wisconsin “in anticipation of prosecutorial decision” within the case of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot within the again seven occasions by a white police officer. The taking pictures left Blake partially paralyzed and generated nationwide outcry. The DHS replace famous that 851 Nationwide Guard personnel had been prepared for “Civil Disturbance Operations” within the wake of an area prosecutor’s announcement that he wouldn’t carry fees in opposition to the officer.

Then the replace listed “DC Events Reported to DHS NOC” as its second merchandise.

“In the last 2 hrs – There are no major incidents of illegal activity at this time,” the report learn.

Then it listed a variety of non-issues: A suspicious bundle at a Metro station close to the capitol was “cleared no threat;” a regulation enforcement company “determined Proud Boys threatening to shut down the water system in the downtown area not a credible threat;” and “Protestors near 16th & Pennsylvania Ave reportedly with baseball bats; exaggerated report.”

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It additionally famous that two buildings within the Capitol Complicated had been being evacuated due to a bomb risk in opposition to the Capitol Hill Membership. The report didn’t notice that that membership — a hangout for Republican lobbyists and operatives — is subsequent door to the Republican Nationwide Committee. A pipe bomb was discovered there that day.

As the 2 hours lined in that replace got here to a detailed, the assaults on the Capitol had already began. However you wouldn’t realize it from the replace.

“Why were significantly more National Guard personnel prepared to protect the Kenosha, Wisconsin area after the decision not to prosecute the police officer who shot Jacob Blake than were on hand to protect DC from Trump supporters?” mentioned Libowitz. “An update as of 1:30 PM reported up to 20,000 people marching to the Capitol, but ‘There are no major incidents of illegal activity at this time.’ But by 1 PM, rioters had already breached the barricade at the Capitol. Why did they not consider what was clearly going on to be serious?”

The occasions enjoying out on the Capitol all through the afternoon, proven on stay TV the world over, belied the understated DHS tick tock.

At 12:52 p.m. that day, then-U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had mentioned he realized hazard was imminent. An enormous group was heading to the Capitol, he mentioned in congressional testimony, and it wasn’t any previous D.C. protest.

“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. “This mob was like nothing I have seen in my law enforcement career. The group consisted of thousands of well-coordinated, well-equipped violent criminals. They had weapons, chemical munitions, protective equipment, explosives, and climbing gear. A number of them were wearing radio earpieces indicating a high level of coordination.”

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At 12:53 p.m., protesters had breached the Capitol Constructing’s outer perimeter, based on The New York Occasions.

At 12:58 p.m., Sund requested the D.C. Metropolitan Police Division for assist.

At 1:05 p.m., Washington Submit reporter Rebecca Tan tweeted an image of the rising crowd. “Protesters are charging toward the Captiol [sic] steps,” she wrote. “Some tried to scale the construction structures and have been tackled by police. They want to enter the building and are making attempts at intervals. Capitol police trying to hold them back.”

At 1:09 p.m., Sund urged the Sergeants at Arms — officers accountable for the day-to-day operations of the Home and Senate — to ship in assist and “authorize the National Guard,” he later testified.

The hazard was nice sufficient that Capitol Hill’s high regulation enforcement officer had known as for the Nationwide Guard to return in. However these troops didn’t arrive till after 5 p.m.

At 1:26 p.m., based on the DOD timeline, the U.S. Capitol Police “ordered the evacuation of the Capitol complex.”

DHS despatched out one other replace “as of 1400,” or 2 p.m. ET, based on the Military e mail. It gave a barely extra correct image of the chaos.

“US Capitol is reportedly locked down due to multiple attempts to cross police barriers and police injuries,” it learn, adopted by {a partially} redacted sentence that ended with the phrase “situation continues to develop.”

That characterization is a drastic understatement. From 1:30 to 2 p.m., the scenario on the Capitol grew far worse. At 1:44 p.m., Trump supporters had been climbing the scaffolding outdoors the constructing, based on Simply Safety.

At 1:49 p.m., Sund known as the top of the D.C. Nationwide Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker. Walker later testified that Sund mentioned “there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster.”