January 6th Intelligence Timeline Released


Just Security has recently released January 6th Intelligence Failure Timeline, a resource detailing available information indicating the impending January 6, 2021 Capitol riot prior to its onset. This timeline provides a variety of reports and documents dating back to October 1, 2021. One key finding derived from this resource is that the warnings were “specific enough to provide what is known as ‘actionable intelligence.'” Typically the information available prior to a catastrophe or disaster is broad and lacks the specificity necessary to fully combat the impending threat. However, in this case, the known details were specific enough to indicate exactly when and where the event would take place, making it possible to enact effective preventative measures.

Unfortunately, neither the wealth of prior information nor the requested preliminary security assessment on December 11, 2021 proved effective in culminating an adequate security response. While some warnings appear to have been “false alarms,” it is still argued that “[c]ollectively, the FBI, DHS I&A [Office of Intelligence & Analysis], and the Capitol Police [had] collected sufficient information to have imagined, warned about, and acted on the threat.” Ultimately, the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol serves to illuminate the flaws in the current “intelligence cycle” and allows for future improvements to be explored.


For more information on topics related to this piece visit the HSDL In Focus on Disinformation, Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism, Electronic Surveillance, Mass Gatherings, and Interoperability.


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