Many conservatives have believed or at least suggested that federal undercover agents and informants helped spur on the knucklehead rioters who ransacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
But a new report on Tuesday suggests something less conspiratorial and controversial. It attributed to simple incompetence, which many on the right have attributed to malice.
As NBC News reported, “The House Jan. 6 committee concluded that the FBI and other federal security agencies could have prevented a violent mob from overrunning the Capitol had they acted on the large volume of intelligence collected beforehand.
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And, to almost no one’s surprise, the Democrats’ special J6 committee left that nugget out of its much-hyped televised hearings as well as its final report.
NBC quoted Tim Heaphy, a former federal prosecutor who served as the J6 committee’s chief investigative counsel.
Heaphy faulted former President Donald Trump for much of what went wrong that day. He told NBC that Trump was “the proximate cause” of the riot.
“But for his words and deeds, it wouldn’t have happened,” Heaphy said.
Yet, he added, “what happened at the Capitol was also affected by law enforcement failures to operationalize the ample intelligence that was present before Jan. 6 about the threats of violence.”
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“Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence.”
As The Free Press reported in December, House Republicans have asserted this about former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In their summary of material compiled about the actions of Pelosi, who had jurisdiction over the Capitol’s security and the U.S. Capitol Police, and the USCP, the GOP lawmakers noted that Pelosi excluded
Republicans from key decisions and joined the USCP in not beefing up security with additional cops and National Guard troops over concern about the “optics.”
Heaphy told NBC that the riot was not a failure of intelligence, but a failure to act on the intelligence that was gathered.
“There was a lot of advance intelligence about law enforcement, about carrying weapons, about the vulnerability of the Capitol,” he told NBC.
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“The intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough, in our view, for law enforcement to have done a better job.”
In a rare moment of willingness to criticize Democrats, NBC reported, “While many lawmakers and outside experts have reached that conclusion, it hasn’t been previously reported that the most comprehensive investigation into the Capitol riot did so, too. It’s also notable that the lawmakers on the committee chose to downplay — and in some cases contradict — that finding.”
The J6 committee showed no interest in the findings of its own investigators.
NBC reported that the committee never discussed the law enforcement angle, and later scrubbed from its final report the most important elements about the law enforcement failure.
They hid behind the assessment that “law enforcement could not have anticipated what Trump would do and therefore could not be blamed,” NBC noted.
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J6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, actually wrote in the final report, “Whatever weaknesses existed in the policies, procedures, or institutions, they were not to blame for what happened on that day.”
Yet contrary to the narrative spun by the committee during its show-trial-style TV hearings, “Heaphy offered a somewhat different view, saying investigators found that both Trump’s actions and law enforcement failures had played a significant role.”
When asked about what Thompson wrote, Heaphy replied, “It is certainly correct to say law enforcement could not have expected the president of the United States to incite violence directly like he did. There’s no question that this was relatively unprecedented.”
“That said,” he continued, “there were plenty of indications that there could be violence, and law enforcement could have and should have done a better job of anticipating that.”
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