Capitol Attack: Federal Agencies' Use of Open Source Data and Related Threat Products Prior to January 6, 2021, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Highlights: "Open source data indicated that the potential for violence at the U.S. Capitol appeared online months prior to the attack on January 6, 2021. Law enforcement agencies may use posts on social media platforms and other open source information to identify potential criminal activity, to develop 'threat products,' and to conduct criminal investigations. Agencies must consider the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties when collecting and sharing this information. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review information related to the January 6 Capitol attack. This is the fifth in a series of reports on aspects of the attack. This report addresses what open source data selected federal agencies obtained and shared, as well as threat products they developed that leveraged such data related to the events of January 6. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed open source data that agencies obtained and shared, as well as threat products that leveraged the data. Agencies in GAO's review included those within DHS; the Departments of Justice and the Interior; Architect of the Capitol; U.S. Capitol Police; House and Senate Sergeants at Arms; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as they had specific roles in preparing for the planned events of January 6. GAO interviewed officials from Facebook, Parler, and Twitter about the extent to which they shared information with agencies. GAO selected social media platforms based on, for example, if they had appeared in threat products. This report is a public version of a sensitive report issued in February 2022. Information that agencies deemed sensitive has been omitted."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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