Capitol Police intel division assessments are a haunting reminder of the pre-January 6 mindset

Capitol Police intel division assessments are a haunting reminder of the pre-January 6 mindset
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In the three weeks leading up to the January 6, 2021, insurrection, the US Capitol Police intelligence division produced four Special Event Assessments showing mounting evidence of a potentially volatile situation, as part of its overall effort to help the agency determine its security posture that day.

The assessments, obtained by CNN, offer a haunting reminder of internet chatter and statements from elected officials that preceded the deadly attack on Capitol Hill.

One year later, the Capitol Police is still implementing reforms to address security lapses exposed that day, while grappling with an increasing number of threats and violent online rhetoric. They also stand by their conclusion that they couldn’t have ​foreseen what transpired on January 6.

RELATED: Biden condemns Trump as a threat to democracy in speech marking one year since January 6 attack

The four assessments were done to help determine the security posture and are distributed to high-ranking officials within the department.

They warn of right-wing enthusiasts meeting on social media and arranging to travel to Washington, DC, together from far corners of the US in order to attend the rallies in support of then-President Donald Trump. In fact, these types of Trump supporters who traveled on buses, in carpools, who met on online meetups and at political gatherings across the country converged on the National Mall on January 6, and now many face charges among the more than 710 federal criminal defendants prosecuted with breaching the Capitol.

Footnotes show where Capitol Police found their information. Often, these assessments cited open-source intelligence from social media, news articles, and interviews. In other words, as has been widely reported, the attack was well-documented in public view.

The tops of the records note the documents were releasable to the Capitol Police Protective Services Bureau, the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief of Police, and United States Capitol Police Board.

December 16, 2020

The “Bottom Line Up Front” — an intelligence term for the major takeaway — explained briefly the plan concocted by Republicans to challenge the election but offered skepticism it would happen.

The document says by December 16, officials were tracking two protests scheduled for the Capitol grounds on January 6 — one pro-Trump and the other pro-Biden.

As of December 16, 2020, the document pointed out investigators logged thousands of investigations into unusual interest in members — anything from a vocalized hatred or obsession — and threats. Investigators launched the most inquiries into people focused on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Officials reported there were “NO” social media indications for specific attacks but presciently noted that “due to the tense political climate following the 2020 election,” the threat of violence couldn’t be ruled out.

“Actions of individuals or small groups are generally not broadcast publicly making them impossible to detect,” the report said.

December 23, 2020

By December 23, the agency was tracking “several protests slated to take place on Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021, and some protestors have indicated they plan to be armed.”

The event assessment said the planned events in support of Trump would likely mirror the previous Million MAGA March rallies in November and December, adding extremist groups were expected. The document points out multiple people were arrested after pro-Trump and opposing groups clashed surrounding each of the previous rallies. Arrests included assault with a dangerous weapon and assault on police.

“Stop the Steal” posted a webpage that included a map of the Capitol grounds.

“Finally, there have been several social media posts encouraging protestors to be armed,” the report said.

“Actions of individuals or small groups are generally not broadcast publicly making them impossible to detect,” the report said.

December 30, 2020

Investigators wrote a website “” promoted “Patriot Caravans for 45,” which purported to arrange ridesharing to Washington, DC, for the January 6 rally.

“They are also organizing protest at state capitals and city halls throughout the country,” the document said. “As of December 30, 2020, there are nearly 1,500 posts requesting/offering rides or to caravan from states as far away as Washington and Oregon. This site is being widely shared on social media.”

“Finally, there have been several social media posts encouraging protestor to be armed,” investigators said.

Even still, the document said “IICD has found no information regarding specific disruptions or acts of civil disobedience targeting this function.”

“Actions of individuals or small groups are generally not broadcast publicly making them impossible to detect,” the report said.

January 3, 2021

Investigators wrote the agency was still tracking several protests against certifying Joe Biden’s election victory and listed which pro-Trump figures and officials would be speaking at events on January 5 and 6.

“There is also indication that white supremacist groups may be attending the protests,” the assessment said.

Investigators noted Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert’s remarks on “pro-Trump” network Newsmax.

“Representative Gohmert them seemed to encourage violence as a means to this end,” the report said citing this comment.

The report detailed other posts and incidents, such as the January 1, 2021, arrest of man for firearms offenses who claimed he was traveling from New York to DC to “protect Donald Trump,” and a post that called for bringing a gas mask and a rifle to Washington.

“Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence, may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike,” the report concluded.

Click here to view the documents.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.


Popular Stories

Concert Calendar

Featured Events