The batch of emails — sent from 2:12 p.m. through 3:12 p.m on Jan. 6, 2021 — show that in the 48 hours leading up to the attack, officials weighed what to share with law enforcement and ultimately proceeded with caution. In some cases, DHS officials worried that reporting violent messages found online could infringe on Americans’ civil liberties. In the two days before the insurrection, intelligence analysts had found “significant chatter” on an online forum, the emails show, but chose not to report them because they found the comments to be “hyperbole” and therefore protected speech. The excerpts from previously unreported internal DHS emails, obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington through a public records request and shared with POLITICO, illuminate the department’s response to the attack on the Capitol. DHS spokesperson Sarah Peck said the department has made meaningful changes in the last year, and did not comment on the email thread. “Over the past year, DHS has significantly strengthened its intelligence analysis, improved information sharing and operational coordination, and identified new resources to combat domestic violent extremism, as part of the Biden Administration’s National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism,” she said in a statement to POLITICO. A Capitol Police spokesperson declined to comment. “The challenge for intelligence officials is a constant evaluation of what is hyperbole and what is an actual threat,” said Frank X. Taylor, who helmed the office from April 2014 to January 2017. “And it’s not easy.” And Javed Ali, a former top counterterrorism official, said the emails highlight “tensions in the intelligence system” over how to share information about Americans. These new details about DHS’ handling of advance intelligence come as its inspector general finalizes a report scrutinizing its Office of Intelligence and Analysis in relation to Jan. 6, according to three people familiar with the project. That report has found that the agency’s training of analysts is deficient, said one of those people. The department’s internal watchdog reached a similar conclusion a year ago following scrutiny of how the agency monitored 2020 civil unrest in Portland, Ore. In late 2020, after clashes between law enforcement and rioters in Portland, leaders in DHS’ intelligence office decided to tighten the rules for how its analysts would collect online information about potential violence, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. The day before the Capitol attack, the intelligence agency told law enforcement around the country that it had “nothing significant to report,” the Journal reported. A year on from the insurrection, there are signs that DHS is changing its strategy regarding intelligence. In May, the department set up a unit in its intelligence office focused specifically on domestic terror threats. And Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters last week that the department has sent out more than 80 intelligence products focused on domestic violent extremism in the last year. In the newly revealed emails obtained by CREW, a progressive-leaning nonprofit, DHS officials’ names are redacted. Twenty-eight minutes after the email detailing Capitol Police’s request for intelligence was sent, a DHS official followed up with a group of officials at department headquarters. “Update to request,” the email read. “Groups have breached the Capitol and are inside the rotunda. Capitol Police . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: law, official, riot, messages, emails, information, ia, office, violent, online, capitol, went, dhs, officials, unshared, intelligence
ORG: DHS, I&A, Groups, Capitol, DHS I&A, Journal, POLITICO, Capitol Police, National Guard, Homeland Security, Capitol Police’s, The Wall Street Journal, National Operations Center, Current and Emerging Threats Center, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Biden Administration’s National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism,
DATE: May, 2020, Jan. 6, The day, the days, last week, late 2020, a year ago, January 6th, Jan. 6, 2021, the two days, the last year, the past year, Jan. 6 last year, April 2014 to January 2017
TIME: 3:12 p.m, 1:40 p.m., 2:12 p.m., 2:58 p.m., 3:12 p.m., half-hour, the 48 hours, Five minutes later
CARDINAL: One, one, three, more than 80
QUANTITY: Twenty-eight minutes