The US House Intelligence Committee has initiated an inquiry into the deadly 6 January attack at the US Capitol, according to a letter addressed to FBI Director Chris Wray, the current director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, and other top intelligence officials.
The committee requested “relevant documents, and schedule briefings” from law enforcement agencies to clarify whether "systemic failures" occurred during the riot.
As the document reads, the committee will investigate what elements US federal intelligence agencies knew about threats of violence “before, during and after the insurrection.”
"The Committees plan to review what the Intelligence Community and federal law enforcement knew about the threats of violence, whether that information was shared or not, and whether the threats had any nexus to foreign influence or misinformation efforts," the document reads.
In addition, the committee will look into whether there are security clearance holders who participated in the attack. The chairmen also requested information about measures taken to “identify, apprehend or prevent the travel” of those who particpated.
Apart from the Intelligence Committee, data from law enforcement and intelligence agencies was requested from three other US House committees - the Committee on Homeland Security, the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The document reflects recent reports alleging that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security did not prepare a specific warning about plans circulating online ahead of January 6 that called for violence at the Capitol.
6 January protest investigation
On 6 January, Trump supporters arrived in Washington DC from around the country to attend a speech by the outgoing president given on the White House lawn. Soon after Trump's speech, many of the attendees broke into the US Capitol building, killing five people and causing widespread damage and vandalism, as the joint session of Congress was certifying the results of the 14 December Electoral College vote.
The angry mob was purportedly assisted by several police officers that allowed protesters to pass through barricades. A detained Trump supporter told the FBI that a Capitol police officer grabbed his hand during the invasion, shook it, and said, “It’s your house now.” On Friday, the Associated Press reported that at least 22 current and former US soldiers and law enforcement officers were among the protesters.
Rumors have circulated that some GOP lawmakers helped the rioters. As US House Majority Whip James Clyburn has claimed, “some coordination was going on between sitting members of Congress and some of these so-called visitors to the Capitol”. Democrats have alleged that multiple tours were conducted by some GOP lawmakers inside the Capitol the day before the riot.
Reacting to these yet-unsubstantiated speculation, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that any lawmakers found to have been "accomplices to this insurrection, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress in terms of prosecutions".
The FBI is currently identifying hundreds of insurgents for prosecution. According to CNN, investigators have opened 275 criminal cases and charged at least 98 people. According to the acting US attorney in DC, Mike Sherwin, the investigation into the 6 January uprising could continue to the end of 2021.
After claims by both Democrats and Republicans that the outgoing president incited the 6 January protest, the US House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time on January 13. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week for conviction.