January 6th Select Committee: Secret Service ignored 'substantial intel' about Proud Boys threats
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack‘s mandate is, in part, to “identify, review, and evaluate the causes of and the lessons learned from the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol,” to ensure it never happens again.
While its focus has been on Donald Trump, his associates, various far-right-wing extremist groups, and some of the individuals who attacked the Capitol and American democracy, the Committee has not placed a great deal of attention on government failures – or even worse actions.
On Thursday during its ninth televised public hearing the Committee revealed a Secret Service office had been sent a critical tip warning there would be violence on January 6, according to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Insider reports.
“Their plan is to literally kill people,” reads the emailed tip to the Secret Service, referring to the Proud Boys. “Please please take this tip seriously and investigate further.”
“They think that they will have a large enough group to march into DC armed and will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped,” said an email sent December 26, 2020, Insider adds.
“The Secret Service had advance information—more than 10 days beforehand—regarding the Proud Boys planning for January 6th,” Select Committee Member Rep. Adam Schiff said Thursday. “We know now that the Proud Boys and others did lead the assault on our Capitol building..”
Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman calls it “substantial” intelligence of a “risk of violence.”
And it was not just one tip or one email.
Politico reports the following information was sent to Secret Service.
“A December 2020 Secret Service email warning that protestors could ‘start marching into the chambers’”
“A December 2020 tip passed along to the Secret Service warning that the Proud Boys believed they would have a ‘large enough group to march into DC armed and will outnumber the police so they can’t be stopped’ and that ‘their plan is to literally kill people.'”
“A December 2020 intelligence brief warning that Trump’s supporters have proposed occupying Capitol Hill.”
“January 2021 warnings about chatter on social media about bringing weapons and warnings that right-wing groups were establishing ‘quick reaction forces’ in Virginia and ‘standing by the ready should POTUS request assistance.'”
On MSNBC, Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Carol Leonnig, speaking from her experience as an investigative journalist, sums up her observations, saying: “I’m aware of a secret service protective intelligence unit that takes every threat with the utmost seriousness. Every threat.”
“In this instance,” Leaning adds, “the entity that’s responsible for the protection of our government officials kinda shrugged.”
She may have been generous.
Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wondered on MSNBC if it was intentional.
“Is this a dropping of the ball or is it more of an intentional grounding?” he asked. Figliuzzi then mimicked what he thought a Secret Service agent might have felt about the threats received pre-January 6:
“These are the president’s people, um, these people look like us. I don’t think this is a real threat – should it be taken seriously or not? Should we allow it to happen, or not?”
“Clearly,” Figliuzzi concluded, “under any other circumstances, this would have been shut down.”
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