House Democrats demand to know why the FBI wasn't better prepared for Jan. 6: 'This is a shocking failure'
January 6, 2021 will no doubt be remembered by future generations as one of the darkest days in U.S. history, and more than five months after a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters assaulted the U.S. Capitol Building, a question continues to be asked: Why was this allowed to happen? Reporters Nicholas Wu, Nick Niedzwiadek and Josh Gerstein tackle that question in an article published by Politico on June 15, emphasizing that the FBI continues to draw criticism for not doing more to prevent the type of violence that occurred that day.
Before January 6, the reporters note, there were plenty of warning signs that it could be a day of violence in Washington, D.C. That day, Trump supporters from all over the United States headed to D.C. to attend Trump's Stop the Steal rally, and hundreds of them invaded the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of stopping Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.
Four days before January 6, a pro-Trump user of the Parler app wrote, "Don't be surprised if we take the Capitol building. Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the Insurrection Act." At a House Oversight Committee hearing on June 15, that Parler message of January 2 was cited as one of the many warning signs that came before January 6.
Describing the June 15 hearing, the Politico reporters note, "FBI Director Christopher Wray said he did not 'recall' hearing of the posts but that some were routed to FBI squads investigating domestic terrorism…. Wray and the FBI were not the only ones pressed by lawmakers about missed warning signals and the faulty response to the January 6 attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The lack of preparation by both the Pentagon and the Capitol Police's emergency units also came under fire, as lawmakers continue to reckon with the security failures that allowed an invasion of the Capitol while they voted to certify the presidential election."
At the hearing, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, declared, "This is a shocking failure." And Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia was vehemently critical of House Republicans for trying to whitewash the events of January 6, saying, "Ignoring that, distracting it, denying it, gaslighting it, calling it just a bunch of tourists who got a little carried away is repugnant and a dishonor to the memories of those who did die — and a dishonor and disrespect to those who were willing to put themselves at risk on our behalf and more importantly, for the republic for which we stand."
Progressive Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, during the hearing, expressed fears that the events of January 6 could be used as excuse for increased surveillance of "oppressed people of color" rather than the type of far-right White extremists who attacked the Capitol Building that day.
Tlaib warned, "I hear people talking about new surveillance powers, talking about the possibility of increasing national security powers. It is incredibly important that, no matter the intention, that every time we give our government new powers, they are inevitably used to target people that look like me, oppressed people of color and minority groups across our country — not those who attacked our Capitol."