A bombshell claim by a top lawyer investigating the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol suggests the FBI and other intelligence agencies could have prevented the chaos if they had acted on information they had already gathered.
NBC News reported that former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy, a Democrat and the committee’s chief investigative counsel, did Former President Trump’s words continued to spur the crowd into action.
“But for (Trump’s) words and actions, this would not have happened,” he claimed.
However – and this is the biggest one – he also accused the House Select Committee of omitting information from their reports and televised hearings that could have stopped the mob that day regardless of security agencies.
“That said, what happened at the Capitol was also affected by the failure of law enforcement to act on sufficient intelligence that existed prior to January 6 about the threat of violence,” Hefey said in an exclusive interview with NBC.
“Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to security failures that led to violence,” he added.
EXCLUSIVE: Top investigator says Jan 6 FBI, DHS, Capitol Police could have dispelled Capitol crowd if they had acted on intelligence gathered weeks before attack https://t.co/MfzhKUgM7k
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) January 31, 2023
RELATED: Informant Warns FBI There Was ‘Major’ Threat Before Capitol Riots Jan. 6, They Did Nothing
Top investigator: FBI may stop Jan. 6
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In addition to the admission by a top Democrat investigator that the events of January 6th could have been prevented by the FBI, the NBC News report also indicates that the House Select Committee deliberately withheld information from the public.
The highly partisan committee voted last month to refer four criminal charges against Trump to the Justice Department for his alleged actions during the Capitol riots.
Asked about comments by committee chairman Benny Thompson (D-MS) that blamed Trump exclusively, Heaphy responded that “law enforcement could and should have done a better job of anticipating potential violence”.
Jan. 6 Committee’s “findings about intelligence and security lapses were dropped from public hearings and relegated to report as committee members wanted to focus on Trump” https://t.co/te9poXIE60
— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenbergerMD) February 1, 2023
Additionally, the NBC News report indicated that sources “familiar with the inner workings of the committee” admitted to intentionally withholding information from the public.
Those sources told NBC News that “the findings of intelligence and security lapses were omitted from public hearings and relegated to the report because committee members wanted to keep the focus on Trump and avoid talking about his supporters.”
Such an admission should be an embarrassment to the panel which reached its conclusions long before they started any investigation.
The effort to withhold information not only fails to take away a talking point — Trump supporters already had that knowledge, with or without the panel’s information — but it exposes the subterfuge to which it exposes the committee.
And they know it. Thompson, along with former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, declined to provide NBC with a comment on their report.
“The intel was pretty specific beforehand, and in our view, it was enough for law enforcement to do a better job.”
What the committee actually found on Jan. 6 was that it deviated from Trump’s narrative before making a leadership decision.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) January 31, 2023
RELATED: FBI Director Way Won’t Say Whether He Dressed Informants As Trump Supporters At Capitol On Jan. 6
The informant warned the FBI of a ‘major’ threat weeks before the Capitol riots
Hefey continued to insist that the FBI’s failures were just as important as Trump’s words and actions before and after the Jan. 6 riots.
He noted that the committee’s investigators “reviewed numerous examples of essential intelligence that appeared to be understated or ignored.”
The NBC News report appears to be conflated with an earlier report by an informant who warned the FBI weeks earlier that January 6th posed a “major” threat of violence, but who was ultimately ignored.
Report: Informant Warned FBI of ‘Major’ Threat Jan 6 Before Capitol Riots, They Did Nothing – Political Insider https://t.co/vpET8exLjE
— Kathleen Hawleys (@HawleysJadefav) December 21, 2022
The informant noted an uptick in the mention of civil war and messages of willingness to sacrifice one’s life before the riots.
All of the information was sent to the FBI on December 19 and, as NBC News points out, “adds to corroborating evidence that the FBI had intelligence warnings that there was a major threat on January 6.”
“The Bureau saw it coming,” the informant charged.
EXCLUSIVE: An informant warned the FBI weeks before Jan. 6 that the far-right saw then-President Trump’s tweet calling his supporters for “wild” demonstrations in the nation’s capital as a “call to arms.” @NBC News. https://t.co/YjcCAwVWA2
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 21, 2022
The FBI didn’t have information weeks in advance, but allegedly had numerous informants in the crowd that day and still didn’t prevent the riot from getting out of hand.
Court documents examined by the New York Times show that eight IT operatives were embedded with the FBI’s “Proud Boys” group. months Leading up to the Capitol riots.
Earlier, the Times reported that the FBI had another good informant among the Oath Keepers, another group that allegedly participated in the protests.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, when confronted with the possibility of the FBI being embedded in the mob on January 6th, refused to deny it.
Ware instead said he would “have to be very careful” about answering questions about whether the bureau dressed as Trump supporters among the crowd of informants.
Reputation. HIGGINS: “Did you have confidential human sources inside the Capitol on January 6th dressed as Trump supporters before the doors opened?”
FBI Dir. WRAY: “I have to be very careful about what I say.” pic.twitter.com/COGkWCPCpY
— Benny Johnson (@BennyJohnson) November 15, 2022
The informant told NBC News that the alerts and information given to the FBI about the Jan. 6 riots did not involve random calls to a tip line or submissions via generic web forms. It comes directly from a trusted and tested source.
They had no excuse not to act and take preventive measures.
“When you make mistakes, ideally, you learn from them,” Heaphy said. “And it was a mistake.”
It’s one thing to make a mistake. Wholesale incompetence, which the FBI seems to have monopolized for decades, is another.
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