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tv   Counterterrorism Homeland Security Officials Testify on January 6 Capitol...  CSPAN  March 7, 2021 10:01am-12:41pm EST

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nonfiction books and authors every weekend. today at noon eastern live on and in-depth pulitzer prize winning author elizabeth culbert talks about environmental issues, global warming and the human impact on nature. she's the author of several books. her most recent book is under a white sky. former fed chair sarah horwitz offers her thoughts on how to build economic sustainability for workers in the future. she's interviewed by oren cass. watch book tv on c-span2 today. >> two senate committees held a meeting on the january 6 attack on the capital. hearing from the leader of the washington, d.c. national guard and intelligence officials from the fbi and homeland security department. this portion of the hearing is
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two hours and 35 minutes.
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>> are called to order this second hearing of the committees on -- i call to order this second hearing of the committees on examining the january 6 attack on the united states capital. at today's hearing, we will continue our committee important work to get answers that will lead us to solutions following the horrific events at the capitol on january 6. last week we heard from witnesses directly in charge of capital security on that day and from local law enforcement in washington. today, we will hear testimony from the head of the d.c. national guard and from federal officials from agencies including fbi, defense department and department of homeland security that are tasked with supporting our security people at the capitol. the testimony of these witnesses
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is crucial as we work to get to the bottom of what happened again with the focus being making sure he does not happen again. with that, i will turn it over to chairman peters for the opening statement. i will give mine and then senator blunt and fortman. >> thank you to the chair. enqueue to all of our colleagues -- thank you to all of our colleagues from the rules committee, once again, joining us on the second joint hearing on january 6 attack on our building. this provided the opportunity for the american people to hear about the attack from the security officials on the ground.
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today we will hear more on the role officials played in intelligence gathering, security planning and the results to the attack. i want to thank each of our witnesses for joining us voluntarily. i'm grateful to all of you. the employees of each of your agencies including the national guard units that continue to assist in protecting the capitol. we appreciate their continued efforts to safeguard our national security. while there are still many unanswered questions about january 6, it is clear that violence and coordinated attack was the result of a massive and historic intelligence failure. today our committees will examine the systemic breakdowns that led to this terrible attack and particularly how our intelligence and national security experts failed to see this coming. this is not a new problem. for years i have been raising alarms about the domestic
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-- growing domestic terrorism threat and their continued failures to align the counterterrorism efforts and address the problems posed by -- the threats posed by domestic extremists. but the january 6 attack can no longer be taken lightly. moving forward, the fbi which was tasked with leading our counterterrorism efforts and the department of performance security which ensures that state and local law enforcement understands the threats that american communities face must address this deadly threat with the same focus and resources and analytical rigor they apply to foreign threats such as isis and al qaeda. today's witnesses are uniquely qualified to discuss the
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intelligence that was produced in the days leading up to the attack that officials missed as they assessed the likelihood of violence on that day. and why our intelligence community failed to heed the crystal-clear warnings that were broadcast on social media and publicly reported in the days leading up to the sixth. about a violent attack on the capital was likely and imminent. we also need answers about the operational failures that terrible day. especially the response to secure the building once it was breached. i am pleased that we have representatives in both the department of defense civilian leadership and the national guard to help us understand why it took several hours for the national guard to arrive and offer additional security and support. the january 6 attack remains a dark stain on our nation's history. both of our committees have a responsibility to carry out our oversight duties in a
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serious and nonpartisan way. i look forward to having a productive discussion and getting the answers that the american people deserve and what we need to do to make sure that reforms are put in place to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again. with that, i will turn it back over to chairwoman klobuchar. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i want to start by thanking you and ranking member blunt and ranking member portman. for the bipartisan and constructive hearing we had last week. i want to thank the many that -- members that that participated last week. importantly, there were a number of areas of agreement, we heard all of our witnesses last week make clear there is no evidence that the insurrection was delivered and coordinated, that it involved white supremacist and extremist groups and that it was highly dangerous but could
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have been so much worse if it was not for the actions of brave law enforcement on the frontline. we also heard consensus from witnesses that held key leadership positions. in charge of the capital security. they did not agree on everything but they said there was -- there was consensus, there were breakdowns in intelligence in bringing in the national guard. and issues concerning the capitol police board and the decision-making process that it is our unique responsibility to change. i hope this spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation will continue today with respect to intelligence gathering and kindly sharing of intelligence, -- timely sharing of intelligence the response and , the request for help from the defense department as well as their perspectives on how the capitol police decision-making process could be so much better going forward.
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we know there were errors made by those in charge of security in the capital and it is always easy to realize that later then in the moment. but that fact alone to me is not enough to not look back. we must look back because we must do better going forward. we heard that the capitol police is the consumer of intelligence. it relies on its federal partners including the fbi and department of homeland security who have witnesses here today. while we are aware of the fbi raw intelligence report that came out of the office, public reporting has indicated that neither agency, dhs or fbi produced a threat report that the fbi did not produce a joint intelligence bulletin and the dhs did not produce a threat assessment ahead of january 6. the former police chief has said that representatives from these
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agencies indicated they did not have any new intelligence to share before the day of the attack. but the insurrectionists who attacked the capital came prepared for war. they brought radios, climbing gear and they brought weapons. we need to hear from the federal agencies about what was known and when, what was done in response to these online threats and how information was shared with the law enforcement partners who depend on them. we need to also understand why with all the information that was available, the decision to reinforce local police with the national guard was not made at -- ahead of time. that decision was made or maybe i should say not made by the former house and senate sergeant at arms who have in fact resigned. nevertheless, despite the clear breakdowns at the capital, we must get to the bottom of why
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that very day it took the defense department so long to deploy the national guard once the need for reinforcement became patently clear on every tv screen in america. at our hearing laughs -- last week, the acting chief provided a disturbing account of how the rioters had already broken through police lines, smashed windows at the capitol and were breaching the buildings all on live television. the acting chief said to us last week that he was simply just stunned that there was not a more immediate response. last, an issue of critical importance in today's hearing is the threat posed by domestic terrorism and hate groups and their role in the attack on january 6. we will never forget the story of the capitol police officer who fought against the violent mob for hours and after it was all over, he broke down in tears
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and telling his fellow officers have he was called the n-word repeatedly that day and said is this america? we won't forget the picture of the insurrectionists proudly waving a confederate flag in the capitol rotunda. o'er the images of a rioter -- or the images of a r ioter in a camp auschwitz hoodie. but this rising problem is not just limited to the events on january 6. hate crimes rose to the highest in the u.s. in 2019. the president of the united states had called out his followers to go to the capital that day. the warnings were dismissed despite the fact that the vice president, the future vice president and the entire congress was gathered in one place.
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in the end, it was left to front-line officers who were severely outnumbered to protect not only those of us in the capital but our democracy itself. they performed heroically under unimaginable circumstances, tragically suffering many injuries and loss of life. that is why we need answers. thank you. >> thank you senator klobuchar and ranking member blunt for how you all approached this process. it is important that we keep this bipartisan and i would say even nonpartisan. i would hope a review continues to set politics aside and focus on the facts of what happened that day and how can we avoid it happening again? i want to express my gratitude to law enforcement.
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and the national guard that is represented here today. we appreciate the fact that law enforcement put their safety on the line to safeguard democracy. also, to protect us. and we will never forget that. we owe it to that law enforcement personnel and the national guard and to all americans to take a hard look at the security failures. both the preparation that was inadequate, clearly and the response which also had some gaps we will talk about in a moment. how could this have happened? that the capitol was breached and overrun. we got some answers at our first hearing last week. i agree that it was a constructive first hearing. i thought it was productive and we were able to get some good information.
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we heard from the former sergeant at arms. what was good is we heard from the people who were actually responsible on that day for making decisions. i am concerned that today we are not going to be hearing from the department of defense officials that were there at the time making decisions. hopefully will have a chance to do that in the future. last week we learned that the capitol police officers were not given the appropriate training or equipment necessary to protect the capitol complex. but also to protect themselves. also we learned there were breakdowns in communication on january 6 and in the days leading up to it. the most concerning breakdown in communication concerned significant discrepancies between the recollections of the former chief of capitol police and the former senate and house sergeant at arms about requests for backup, national guard assistance in particular. each testified under oath to a different version of events. we will get to the bottom of that. the witness has also pointed to lapses in intelligence.
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as a key reason law enforcement was not better prepared. they all claimed no intelligence warned of an assault on the capitol. we know there were reports out there. there was at least one report from the fbi. it was received by u.s. capitol police but it never reached the former chief or sergeant or the incident commanders on the ground. -- sergeant at arms or the incident commanders on the ground. there were numerous online posts calling for attacking the capital and the previously mentioned fbi report warned of violence and war. we need to know what information the intelligence community reviewed and how it characterized the potential for violence when it shared that with law enforcement. second, although there was disagreement about when the capitol police requested assistance, all the great it
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-- all agreed that once requested, it took way too long for the national guard to arrive. we will dig into this today. once requested, it took the national guard over three hours to arrive at the capitol. i remember we were all watching this on cnn and fox and msnbc. it's a riot. and yet it took more than three hours. the request came in from the capitol hill police chief at 1:49 p.m. and the capitol hill deployment did not arrive until 5:00 p.m. we will hear some different timelines on that today, but they were all after 5:00 p.m. and closer to 5:30 p.m. so why did that happen? it's unclear when the national guard was authorized to deploy. the defense department public timeline says that they directed the national guard to mobilize
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at 3:04 p.m. but according to the timeline the national guard provided and a briefing from the commanding general, the instruction to deploy arrive until 5:08 p.m. we don't know why the pentagon took so long to the deploy the national guard. according to the former chief of capitol police and acting chief of police, it was due to the optics of the national guard at the capital. we need to know what role if any optics played in the delay to provide much needed assistance to protect the capitol. by hearing from represented as of the federal agencies responsible for the intelligence and the national guard, today we expect to get clear answers to these open questions. answering these questions is
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critical to understanding where the breakdowns occurred on and before january 6. only by understanding this can we make sure that something like january 6 never happens again. and that's our objective here with this oversight mission. again, i appreciate the fact that we have been able to keep the politics out of this and be objective. i look forward to another instructive hearing today. thank you to the witnesses for being here. i look forward to your testimony. >> recognizing ranking member blunt for your opening statements. >> thank you. you have my appreciation for where we are headed with this so far and the fact that we are going to continue to look at the facts and see where the facts lead us in as much of a nonpartisan way as you can in an institution like the united states senate.
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i am glad to join my colleagues to learn more about the decisions and the actions of the federal agencies on january 6. last week's hearing with the chief of the metropolitan police force, the former chief of the capitol police and the former sergeant at arms in the house and senate really left us with more questions than answers. the witnesses could not agree on the basics of the timeline. i believe we learned that the structure and practice of the capitol police board which i have previously questioned and asked for a gao study that was issued in 2017 simply delayed the response and proved to be ill-suited for an emergency on the sixth. today, i hope to learn that the failure of capital security leaders were compounded by officials at the department of defense who did not act quickly enough to take the situation seriously enough.
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i hope to explore if the failure to alert the leadership or the metropolitan police department of the fbi situation report which warned of war at the capital. i understand that that information was raw and unverified. should it make us consider changes in the information sharing process that we pursue in this structure? all of the agencies participate in these hearings at the most fundamental level and they exist to uphold and protect the rights of americans and to protect our form of government. january 6 revealed weaknesses in our law enforcement agencies and elements of defense agencies. it would be a mistake for the leadership of those agencies to
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think it was only a failure of the u.s. capitol police leadership or the capitol police board that produced the terrible result we saw that day. i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses and again, thank you for holding this hearing, chairman peters. >> it is my privilege to introduce each of the witnesses we will be hearing from here today. thank you for your willingness to be with us. our first witness today is melissa. she is the acting undersecretary for the office of intelligence and analysis at the u.s. department of homeland security. she is the principal advisor to the secretary of homeland security and the deputy secretary of homeland security.
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she assumed this role on january 20, 2021. she was the deputy undersecretary. she spent almost 20 years in the field of intelligence analysis which included time at the defense intelligence agency. welcome. our next witness is miss jill sanborn. she served as the assistant director of the fbi's counterterrorism division, where she helps lead the fbi's efforts to provide information on terrorists and track down known terrorists worldwide. this sanborn -- miss sanborn first joined the fbi in 1998 and was assigned to the phoenix field office prior to becoming assistant director, she served as the special agent in charge of the minneapolis fbi field office and worked in both the washington and los angeles field
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offices. welcome. our third witness is mr. robert laceys. prior to this end on january 6, -- and on january 6, 2021, he was the deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense integration and defense support of civil authorities. he worked closely with federal, state and local leadership, law enforcement, public health and emergency management to oversee dod's response to national emergency operations in support of civil authorities, including the deployment of the national guard. he was appointed to the senior executive service in 2005.
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mr. salesses was awarded for his decisive leadership and his contributions to the national response plan and the national strategy before homeland security. welcome. our final witness is major general william walker, commanding general of the d.c. national guard. in this role, general walker is responsible for the strategic leadership, training, readiness, operational employment and performance of the army and air force components of the d.c. national guard. he reports to the secretary of the army and is charged with ensuring units are manned, equipped and ready for war and any national emergency. for 30 years, he served in the dea. welcome, general. chairman klobuchar, those are our witnesses for today. >> thank you chairman peters.
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if the witnesses could now stand and raise your right hand. do you swear that the testimony you will give before the committee is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you, you can be seated and sen. peters: i think we will now begin with the questioning. what is that? sen. klobuchar: your statements. sen. peters: yes, i sorry. ammr. salesses, i think you are first for your opening statement. mr. salesses: thank you. chairman peters, chairwoman
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klobuchar, regular members, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. thank you for the support of civilian law enforcement agencies in securing the capitol on january 6, 2020 one. one of the dod's missions is to support civilian law enforcement organizations. the dod frequently provides support at planned major events like the presidential inauguration and at state of the union addresses. due to the unique nature of the district of columbia, in which numerous governmental organizations exercise a range of jurisdictional authorities, ensuring safety and security is the responsibility of the d.c. government, the secret service, the park police, the marshals service, the capitol police, the federal, and other civilian law
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enforcement organizations, dod provides support to these civilian law enforcement agencies when requested based on their assessment of the support required. prior to the attack on january 6, dod worked closely with federal law enforcement, d.c. government partners to determine if they anticipated a need for any national guard support related to the planned protests. on december 30 first, the commander of d.c. national guard received a letter from the d.c. government requesting national guard support for the d.c. metro police at 30 traffic control points and six metro stations , and to make available the d.c. national guard civil support team to support the d.c. fire and emergency services. over the weekend of january 2 and 3, my staff contacted the
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secret service, the park police, the marshals service, the fbi, the capitol police to determine if they plan to request dod assistance. none of these law enforcement agencies indicated a need for dod support. after consultation with the department of justice, the acting secretary of defense approved the d.c. government request for national guard personnel to support 30 traffic control points and six metro stations from january 5 to january 6. the acting secretary also authorized a 40-person quick reaction force to be readied at joint base andrews. on january 5 the acting secretary of defense and the secretary of the army received a letter from the mayor of d.c.
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stating, mpd is prepared and coordinated with its federal partners, namely the park polo -- park police, capitol police, and secret service. based on these communications with federal and local civilian authorities, dod determined that no additional military support was required on january 5 and january 6. dod has detailed the events of january 6, 2021. in a memorandum published on i will provide a summary of those key events. after the u.s. capitol police ordered the evacuation of the capital complex, the secretary of the army and the commanding general the d.c. national guard received calls shortly before 2:00 p.m. from the mayor of d.c. and the capitol police chief respectively. at 2:30 p.m., the secretary of the army met with the acting secretary of defense and other senior leaders of the defense department.
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after this meeting, the acting secretary of defense determined that all available forces of the d.c. national guard were required to reinforce the d.c. metropolitan police and u.s. capitol police, and ordered a full mobilization of the d.c. national guard at 3:04 p.m. major general walker, the commanding officer of the d.c. national guard, made ready the d.c. national guard forces at the national guard armory for deployment to the capital -- capitol complex. after reviewing the mission and responsibilities to be performed at the capitol complex in support of the metropolitan police and capitol police, and conferring with the d.c. metropolitan police at their headquarters at 4:10 p.m., the secretary of the army received the acting secretary of defense's approval at 4:32 and
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ordered the d.c. national guard forces to depart the armory for the capitol complex. dod continued to deploy national guard forces through the evening to support the u.s. capitol. by 9:00, on january 7, 1100 national guard personnel arrived at the capitol. by 9:00 on january 8, 1800 had arrived at the capitol. and by january 10, 6000 national guard personnel were at the capital providing security. dod continues to provide support to protect the safety and security of the u.s. capitol and provide support for our civilian law enforcement partners. from january 9 through the inauguration, dod provided nearly 25,000 national guard personnel to support security in washington, d.c.. today, there are approximately 4900 national guard personnel supporting capitol police and
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500 supporting the metropolitan police. going forward, the department of defense is committed to working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, the d.c. government, and the congress to ensure we learn from this event and take all necessary actions to respond and ensure that an attack on our nations's capital never happens again. chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking member's apartment and blunt, sting wished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. and thank you for your continued commitment and support to the men and women of the department of defense. sen. peters: ms. smislova, you are recognized for your oak being -- for your opening statement.
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ms. smislova: thank you, senator. chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, thank you members portman and brent -- and blunt, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. i want to start by saying i am deeply saddened by the terrifying events that you, your staff, your loved ones and others experienced on january 6. the country, myself included , watched in horror as our capital was attacked. i am here today as the acting undersecretary for the office of intelligence and analysis at dhs. i am a career intelligence professional of over 35 years. i am honored to have this opportunity to lead ina. i have great faith in the workforce and in our mission, which is to focus on a range of homeland threats, including domestic terrorism, and ensuring that our partners across state, local, private sector have the
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information they need. before i summarize the actions my office took before january 6, i do want to say i and deeply concerned that despite our best efforts, they did not lead to an operational response to prepare and defend the u.s. capitol. throughout the 2020 election period and the presidential transition, ina produced numerous strategic assessments about election-related violence from domestic, violent extremists. in 15 unclassified assessments, we discussed the heightened threat environment and the potential for domestic violence extremists to mobilize quickly, and attack large gatherings or government buildings. these products were intended to increase awareness about the volatile threat environment and enhance both policy and operational planning. they were shared broadly, with all levels of government, law
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enforcement partners, critical infrastructure, including through fusion centers nationwide. i will highlight a few products and engagements. in august ina published ideologically motivated violent extremists and other violent actors could quickly mobilize to threaten or engage in violence against election or campaign-related targets in response to perceived partisan and policy-based events is. in october, dhs released its first publicly available homeland threat assessment, which stated racial and ethnically motivated violence extremists, specifically white supremacists, would remain the most persistent threat in the homeland. the assessment also emphasized
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the breadth of the domestic extremist threat, including heightened threats from election -related violence. one week before the attack, on december 30, ina co-authored a n intelligence product with the fbi and the national terrorism center highlighting persistent threats to government facilities and law enforcement, noting the perceptions of the outcome of the election could mobilize some extremists to commit violence in the coming months. additionally, ina proactively conducted briefings and stake holder calls before and after the election and before and after january 6, to share that information. looking forward, i want to underscore the department is prioritizing combating domestic terrorism, specifically in ina, we are working very closely with our dhs colleagues in the civil rights, civil liberties office,
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privacy office, and our own intelligence oversight office, to carefully examine how we can better address the complex and evolving threat in the manner consistent with the constitution and u.s. law. my office is committed to developing more expertise on domestic terrorism, improving our analysis of social media to better characterize the threat, and ensuring our assessments are received and understood by key decision-makers. additionally, the department has taken the steps since january 6. in late january, dhs issued our first national terrorism advisory system bulletin on domestic terrorism. it warns domestic violence extremists may be emboldened to act in the wake of the u.s. capitol breach. domestic violent extremists span a diverse set of ideological actors, including racially and ethnically motivated extremists,
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they continue to exploit lawful, constitutionally protected protests and other events to pursue criminal behavior and commit acts of violence. also, for the first time, the secretary designated extremism as a priority area. let me close by saying, my colleagues in ina and dhs are unwavering in our commitment to ensuring the department is well-positioned to combat this evolving threat and protect the american people. thank you for your opportunity to appear before you today. i welcome your questions. sen. peters: thank you, miss sanborn, you are now recognized for your opening comments. ms. sanborn: good morning, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking member blunt, chairman peters, ranking member portman, and the members of the committees. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
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my name is jill sanborn and i am the assistant director within -- director for the counterterrorism division within the fbi. is always an honor to be with you in the senate. for those of you i have not met, i actually started my career in public service as a senate page in 1987, thanks to a sponsorship from my home a senator max baucus. i want to start by offering my condolences who had to endure up close and personally the violence and destruction that occurred on the siege on the january 6. capitol complex while you are carrying out your duties as our elected representatives was not just unacceptable and disturbing, it was criminal. i also want to offer condolences to our partners at u.s. capitol police for the loss of one of their brothers, officer sicknick. this is a loss to us all in law enforcement. violence designed to intimidate the population and influence the government is exactly what the fbi's counterterrorism division
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was designed to combat. the men and women of the fbi are not only dedicated to identifying and bringing to justice the individuals involved in the attack on january 6, but also, and equally as important, and let me stress this, we are committed to working to prevent something like this from ever happening again. over the last two months, americans, the americans you represent from across the country, have sent in over 200,000 digital media tips and reported more than 30,000 leads to our national threat operation center. with this report, we have identified hundreds of people involved in the attack and arrested more than 300, with more and more arrests every day. i want to reiterate something to director mentioned to some of your colleagues yesterday. as americans, we are all victims of this assault. and the american people deserve nothing less than our commitment to see this investigation through, and to protect them from acts of violence like this in the future. the fbi's number one priority is preventing acts of terrorism.
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the greatest threat we face is a threat posed by lone actors, both domestic violent extremists and but we call the homegrown violent extremists. these actors are especially challenging for the enforcement , because by definition there -- their insular nature make the -- makes them difficult to identify. the fbi has been investigating domestic terrorism, however today's threat is different than it was 100 years ago, and continues to evolve. between 2015 and 2020, racially or ethnically-motivated violent extremists were responsible for the most lethal domestic terrorism threats. in fact, 2019 was the most lethal year for domestic violent extremist attacks since the oklahoma city bombing in 1995. however, in 2020, three of the four fatal domestic violent extremist attacks were perpetrated by what we call antigovernment or anti-authority violent extremists. one of those attacks was
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perpetrated by an anarchist in portland. in fact, this was the first fatal anarchist attack in over 20 years. 2020 also marked the first year since 2011 that there were no fatal attacks committed by the racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists advocating for the superiority of the white race. i think all of those explain how the threat is persistent and evolving. looking forward, we assess the domestic violent extremist threat will continue to pose an elevated threat of violence to the u.s. we expect racially or ethnically motivated extremists or antigovernment, anti-authority violent extremists will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats throughout 2021, and, in fact, leading into 2022. regardless of the specific perpetrator, the domestic terrorism threat remains persistent, and that is why we must remain focused on countering it. i want to take this opportunity to reemphasize that the fbi's mission to uphold the constitution and protect the american people is both dual and
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simultaneous, and not contradictory. one does not come at the expense of the other. that said, when a person crosses the line from expressing beliefs to violating federal law, and endangers the communities we serve, we aggressively pursue those threats. before closing i want to mention the importance of partnerships in the counterterrorism fight. we simply cannot be successful without them. our investigations and disruptions rely on these partnerships. they represent american lives saved in communities around the united states. for instance, in fiscal year 2020 alone, agents arrested 235 terrorism subjects. we also continue to expand our partnerships in academia, private sector, and within the communities we serve. this is critical, because nearly half of our cases are predicated on tips and leads from the community and our law-enforcement partners. we in law enforcement cannot and
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will not tolerate individuals who use the first amendment as a guise to incite violence. that is true now, as we work hard to hold those accountable for january 6, just as it was last summer when individuals exploited peaceful protests as cover for their own violence and destruction. went violent extremists utilize explosive devices, attack government facilities, or target law enforcement officers, the fbi investigates those acts, regardless of the underlying ideological motivation. at the fbi we work every threat with the same level of rigor and dedication, and that is what i hope you take away from my testimony today. thank you again for an opportunity to talk with you about the hard work our folks and partners are doing every day to keep the country safe. we are grateful for the support you have provided and continue to provide the men and women of the fbi. i look forward to answering any of the questions you may have. sen. peters: thank you. general walker, you are now recognized for your opening statement.
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brig. gen. walker: good morning, chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking members portman and blunt, and members of the committees. i am major general william walker. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the events of january 6, a dark chapter in our nation's history. i was personally sickened by the violence i witnessed that fateful day, and the physical and mental harm that came to the u.s. capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers, some of whom i met with later that evening, and i could see the injuries they sustained. it is my hope that my recollection of the events and my presentation of the facts as i know them will help your committees and its investigation, and prevent such tragic events from ever occurring again. first, i think it is critical to understand what the district of columbia national guard's mission was on january 6, and
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how a request for support of other authorities were handled. on december 31, 2020, the district of columbia national guard received written request from the district of columbia mayor muriel bowser and her director of homeland security and emergency management. the request saw it national guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in the district from january 5 through january 6 after conducting , 2021. mission analysis to support the district's request, i sent a letter to ryan mccarthy requesting his approval. i receive that approval in a letter dated january 5, renting support to the metropolitan police department with 320 guardsmen personnel. to include a 40-personnel quick reaction force. the district of columbia national guard provided support to the metropolitan police department, the united states
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park police, secret service and other federal and district law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests, and other large-scale first amendment activities on a routine basis. a standard component of such support is the standup of an off-site, quick reaction force, an element of guardsmen held in reserve with civil disturbance response equipment. helmets, shields, batons, etc. they are postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civil authorities. the secretary of the army's january 5 letter to me withheld that authority for me to employ that quick reaction force. additionally, the secretary of the army's memorandum to me required that the operation be submitted to him before the employment of a quick reaction force. i found that requirement to be unusual, as was the requirement to seek approval to move guardsmen supporting the
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metropolitan police department , to move from one traffic control point to another. at 1:30 p.m. on january 6, we watched as the metropolitan police department began to employ officers to support the capitol police. in doing so, the officers began to withdraw from the traffic control points that were jointly manned with district of columbia guardsmen. at 1:49 p.m., i received a frantic call from then chief of united states capitol police steven sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter of the united states capital had been breached by hostile rioters . his voice cracking with emotion, indicating there was a dire emergency. he requested the immediate assistance of as many available national guardsmen that i could muster. immediately after that call, i alerted the u.s. army senior leadership of the request. the approval for chief sun's
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request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense, and be relayed to me by army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m., about three hours and 19 minutes later. i already had guardsmen ready to move to the capital. consequently at 5:20 p.m., the district of columbia national guard arrived at the capitol and were being sworn in. we helped to establish the security perimeter at the east side of the capital to facilitate the resumption of the joint session of congress. in conclusion, i am grateful for the guardsmen from the 53 states and territories who supported the district of columbia national guard operation capital response and help to ensure a peaceful transition of power on january 20. in particular, i'm grateful for the timely assistance from our close neighbors from virginia, delaware, and maryland national
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guard, who augmented d.c. national guard forces in establishing the security perimeter. i'm honored to lead these soldiers and airmen. these are your constituents, many of whom left behind their families, careers, education, business is to ensure the united states capital and those who serve in it every day. thank you for the opportunity to brief you today. thank you for your support of the national guard. i look forward to any questions you may have. thank you again. sen. peters: thank, general walker. again, i know i speak on behalf of everybody in this joint committee room, that we fully support the men and women of the national guard and appreciate your work on that day and continue to appreciate the service you are providing to our country in protecting the capital as well as our country. thank you again. general walker, i want to start my questioning by going back in time a little too prior to the events on january 6.
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my question is, in june 2020, as violence was escalating during the summer protests, were you able to immediately receive approval from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense to deploy national guard to assist law enforcement at that time? brig. gen. walker: senator peters, i was. yes, sir. the secretary of the army was with me for most of that week. he came to the armory, i was in constant communication with him and we were not together. sen. peters: so you were immediately able to see for approval in june 20? i want to be clear. were you able to immediately receive approval from the secretary of the army and secretary of defense to deploy the national guard on january 6? brig. gen. walker: no, sir. sen. peters: in your opening remarks you said that a january 5 memo was unusual. could you explain to the committee by a was unusual, and
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what was the impact of the memo we received on january 5? brig. gen. walker: the memo was unusual like that it required me to seek authorization from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense to , essentially, even protect my guardsmen. so, no civil disturbance equipment could be authorized unless it came from the secretary of defense. the secretary of the army, to his credit, did tell me that i could have force protection equipment with the guardsmen. we did have helmets, shin guards , vests. we did have that with us, but that came from the secretary of the army. the secretary of defense told me i needed his permission to escalate, to have that kind of protection. sen. peters: that kind of
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protection, even though you would be engaged in force protection, to protect your men and women, before you can do that he would have to get approval from the secretary of defense? brig. gen. walker: the memo from the secretary of defense made it clear i needed his permission to have -- so, what it says, without my personal authorization, the district of columbia national guard is not authorized for the following, to be issued ammo, bayonets, batons , or ballistic protective equipment such as helmets and body armor. again, to be clear, the secretary of the army told me to go ahead and issue that equipment. so, we were never going to have weapons or ammunition. we no longer have bayonets. but we do have ballistic protection equipment, helmets, body armor. so i did have that with each guardsmen. sen. peters: thank you, general. that was unusual to have that kind of west? you were unlike the making an
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urgent appeal for help, we heard that the d.c. metro police chief says it was a tepid response, he was shocked by it. what happened on that call? what was your recollection of the call and your assessment of the two individuals? without your assessment as well? brig. gen. walker: yes, sir. that call came in and we helped facilitate the deputy mayor of the district of columbia, and dr. rodriguez. chief sun later joined the conversation. at that time chief konte and chief sun passionately pleaded for the district of columbia national guard to get to the capital with all deliberate
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speed. the senior leaders did not think it looked good. they further stated it could incite the crowd. so, their best military advice would be to the secretary of the army, who could not get on the call -- we wanted the secretary of the army to join the call, but he was not available. we were told he was with the secretary of defense and not available. but the army senior leadership expressed to chief konte and others on the call that would not be their best military advice to have uniformed guardsmen on the capital. sen. peters: so, during the call, you were saying that optics was raised. specifically. so, i want to go back to the question i started. you said that you were able to get immediate authorization in the summer of 2020 during those protests.
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general walker, was the issue of optics ever brought up by army leadership with d.c. national -- when the d.c. national guard was deployed during the summer of 2020? was that discussed? brig. gen. walker: it was never discussed. it was never discussed july 4 when we were supporting the city. it was never discussed august 28, supported the city. sen. peters: did you think that was unusual? brig. gen. walker: i did. sen. peters: let's put that in context. in your opening statements you mentioned the national guard troops were ready to go. you had them back at the armory. how many folks were in the armory, ready to go once the order was >> i had them ready to go shortly after the phone call. at 1500 i directed the quick reaction force based in andrews air force base leave the air force base, get to the armory at
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all delivery speed. they returned to the armory about 20 minutes. so we had them sitting there waiting and in anticipation of a green light though we brought guardsmen on buses, we brought them inside the armory so no one would see them putting on the equipment getting on the buses and then they just waited to get the approval and that's why we were able to get to the capital about 18 minutes. >> what time are they on the buses ready to go? >> before 5:00. at 5:00 i decided there has got to be an approval coming so get on the buses, get the equipment on and just wait. a few minutes after that we got the approval. i was on a secure videoconference from the army leadership said -- conveyed to me the secretary of defense had authorized the appointment of the national guard at the capital.
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so my timeline has 5:08 p.m. is when we had approval and that was about eight people in the office with me when i got that. >> so you could've sent 155 much earlier? what would have been the impact of sending those right around that 2:00 timeframe? >> based on my experience with the summer, i have 39 years as national guard, i was in the floor -- florida guard, i've been around civil disturbances. i believe that number could've made a difference. we can help extend the perimeter and push back the crowd. >> last week we heard from formal law enforcement officials who stated a lack of intelligence reporting was the main reason for capitol police not being fully prepared for
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generate six the tech. would you agree the intelligence community failed to sufficiently identify the threat and warned the capitol police of a plot to breach the capital? a plot that was planned in public and announced in advance and a number of open sources? >> i'll start. i would not categorize it that way, but i will tell you, there is not an agent that would not want more tools in their toolbox. there is not an analyst that would not want more intelligence. i think i'll paint a quick picture the challenges we are facing, the immense amount of rhetoric out there. what we are trying to separate is aspirational from intent. in order to get to that intent, we are really thinking about private coming occasions and oftentimes encryption. i would say what we are faced with is the challenge of the amount of data into trying to find because of the volume,
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and private in communications, intent that would have given us the intelligence picture potentially to shed light on what some of the plans were. to shed light on what some of the plans were. chairman peters: quickly please. >> i will defer to you senator, your colleagues and other oversight. to actually determine what went wrong on january 6. i do not feel i am empowered or have enough information to declare whether or not this is an intelligence failure. i do know it was not a success, and we will do everything we can to make sure what we know is better distributed and understood by our partners, and to echo the bureaus point, also do more to better understand how we can identify the next steps that we see on social media. chairman peters: clearly we have to do a much better job. i am sure it will be explored in
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depth. chairwoman klobuchar? chairwoman klobuchar: do you agree there is clear evidence that supports the conclusion that there were those who planned and coordinated the attack on the capital on january 6? does everyone agree with that? yes? no? >> we are seeing indications that people coalesced for and made some plans. chairwoman klobuchar: everyone is a yes on this? i don't want to call on everyone. >> yes. chairwoman klobuchar: ok. would you agree that involved white supremacist and extremist groups?
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is everyone a yes on that? >> we are seeing a wide range of involvement, in still a lot left to be identified. chairwoman klobuchar: does it involve white supremacists? >> some? chairwoman klobuchar: but the other end not planned by antifa -- was the event planned by antifa? >> at this point we have not charged an individual associating with antifa. chairwoman klobuchar: which all agree that what happened was a highly dangerous situation but had the potential to be much worse? >> yes. chairwoman klobuchar: general walker. the chief said he was stunned at the response from the department of the army when the former police chief requested assistance from the guard.
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what is your reaction? where you frustrated on the call as well? >> yes i was. i was just as stunned as everybody else on the call. chairwoman klobuchar: i understand, correct me if i am wrong, with the national guard it is much better to prepare them and call them into action and have a plan, which i heard from from the other witness, they called the chief, call people and said we want to have the guard mobilized. there was a discussion leading up to january 6 and this was discussed. you did not get a clear direction to have the mobilized. is that correct? >> i talked to the chief on saturday and sunday. we are friends, i have known him for a long time. on sunday, i asked him, are you going to request national guard help?
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if you do, i needed in writing. -- i needed in writing. he said he was not allowed to request the support. he said i can't even ask you for the support. he did say, if i do call you, will you be able to support me? i said yes, but i need approval from the secretary of the army, and ultimately the secretary of defense because it is a federal request. chairwoman klobuchar: we heard from the chief last week, he had been denied by the sergeant at arms, and that is a subject for last week. the subject for today, given all that, we know we would have been a much better shape if they called in ahead. it's 2:22 and you are on the phone with them. you're asking for this authorization, you felt it was unusual to get. is that right?
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>> i thought the delay was unusual. we were already in support of the metropolitan police department. when the police department left the traffic control points, but i wanted to do was take those guardsmen and move them to the capital immediately. my logic was we were still in direct support. chairwoman klobuchar: i just keep imagining the scene. the whole world is watching it on tv. the police line is breached, smashed windows, insurrectionist going through the police line. everyone is seeing this on tv, and they are not immediately approving your request. in your recent testimony, you just said, i could have gotten them on the buses and ready to go. is that correct?
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gen. walker: that is correct. chairwoman klobuchar: in response to senator peters, you believe that would have made a difference to have them at the perimeter at a sooner point. i know people in charge of the security felt the same. gen. walker: yes ma'am. chairwoman klobuchar: you could have happen there earlier, hours earlier if it had been approved, and then you have them on the bus, they were actually sitting on the bus for a short period of time, they are waiting, you are thinking they have to honor the request. you actually put them on the bus so they are ready to go but you cannot let the buses go? gen. walker: yes. i came to the conclusion that eventually i am going to get approval. at that point, seconds matter, medicine matter. i needed to be ready to get them there as quick as possible. i have a d.c. national guard in front of the bus to help get
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through any traffic lights. you were there in 18 minutes. chairwoman klobuchar: 18 minutes. gen. walker: they were sworn in as soon as they got there and it made a difference according to capitol police. chairwoman klobuchar: according to a lot of us. i keep thinking of the hours that went by, the people who were injured, the officers whose lives were changed forever. a lot has been reported about the quick response force that was waiting at andrews air force base to be deployed just in case. that force was set up as additional troops to support the guards traffic control mission. is that right? gen. walker: yes ma'am. chairwoman klobuchar: and they cannot be deployed once the violence began because they were not outfitted for rights control -- riot control. gen. walker: they were
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outfitted. most of those guardsmen are law enforcement officers and civilian positions. -- in civilian positions. they were ready to go and outfitted with all of the equipment they needed. chairwoman klobuchar: they were out at andrews? gen. walker: they were at andrews. i took it upon myself to move them without permission, to the armory, so they would be closer as well. chairwoman klobuchar: who was on that conversation with you? you mentioned from the defense department. i know who was on there from the police. gen. walker: lieutenant general michael flynn. he was in charge of operations for the army. the director of the army staff was on the call, there were other senior civilian leaders from the united states army and other high-ranking general officers as well. chairwoman klobuchar: do you
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remember who was mostly talking about the optics, the question senator peters ask you? gen. walker: during the phone call, the district of columbia leaders, general flynn and another general. they both said it would not be in their best military advice to advise the secretary of army to have uniformed guard numbers at the capital during the election confirmation. chairwoman klobuchar: thank you. could you explain why they would say such a thing? i know you are not on the call. you are the one they sent from the defense department, but you were not on the call. do you have any idea why this delay occurred when as senator peters has well pointed out, it
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did not occur in other incidences? >> as you point out i was not on any of the calls. chairwoman klobuchar: we know that. >> in preparation for the hearing, i have had the opportunity to talk to general walker, and other general officers. i have also have the opportunity to talk to secretary mccarthy so i could understand the details. chairwoman klobuchar: ok. if you could answer my questions. so many of my colleagues are waiting. >> the general told me yesterday that he did not say anything about optics. chairwoman klobuchar: he didn't use the word optics? or you are saying that general walker is wrong? >> the general told me yesterday that he did not use the word optics. chairwoman klobuchar: i will let
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general walker answer this, but i think he is talking about the general concern with that they were more concerned about how this would appear, and in their best advice. but bears at his testimony is that they did not send the national guard for hours. they did not give the authorization as he waited with his troops to go over to the ca pitol. >> in fairness to the committee, the general is not a decision-maker. the only decision-makers for the secretary of defense and the secretary of the army. it was a chain of command from the secretary of defense, secretary mccarthy, to general walker, that is the chain of command. there are lots of staff involved, but to be clear, on that day, that was the chain of command. chairwoman klobuchar: can i give general walker a moment to respond? gen. walker: the chain of command is the president, the
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secretary of defense, the secretary of the army, william walker. can i just make a correction? i said lieutenant general mike flynn. it was lieutenant general charles flynn. i just wanted to correct that. there were people in the room with me on that call that her but they heard. -- heard what they heard. chairwoman klobuchar: we will have to follow up with more questions. i appreciate your testimony, thank you. >> ranking member portman, you are recognized for your questions. >> general walker, this morning you testified that you received this letter from secretary mccarthy on january 5. in that letter to secretary mccarthy --
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gen. walker: i have the letter in front of me. is letter does not, but it is the secretary of defense who said i have to use it as a last resort. the secretary of the army told me, i have the letter, that i could not use the quick reaction force. i will read it. i withhold authority to approve employment of the district of columbia national guard reaction force, and will do so only as a last resort, in response to a request from an appropriate civil authority. i would require a concept of operation prior to authorizing employment of a civil quick reaction force. a quick reaction force normally is a commanders tool to help either a civilian agency, but more typically, to help the national guardsmen who are out there in need and need assistance. sen. portman: i think it's the
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very definition of a quick reaction force to be able to react quickly. you have to go through that kind of authorization, including coming up with a concept of operation, before the secretary, or as you say, the secretary of defense. secretary of the army or secretary of defense would approve deployment, seems to me to be contrary to the whole concept of a quick reaction force. just to be clear -- gen. walker: just to be clear, the secretary of defense said i could use it as a last resort. but the secretary of the army said i could only use it after he gave me permission, and only then, after a concept of operation. sen. portman: we talked about the chain of command earlier. you do not have the authority to deploy that quick reaction force based on either of the letters, or the earlier memo that went from the secretary of defense,
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acting secretary of defense to the secretary of the army. gen. walker: correct, yes or -- yes sir. sen. portman: i also thought it was unusual that the january 5 letter required the secretary of the army to approve the movement of deployed guardsmen from one traffic control point to another. did you find that unusual? gen. walker: in 19 years, i never had that before happen. on that day, the metropolitan police, as they would any other day, requested that a traffic control point move one block, one block over. no traffic was where they were, so they wanted the control point to move one block. i had to get permission, i told him i will get back to you. i contacted lieutenant general, who contacted the secretary of the army. i had to explain where it was in relationship to the capitol, and
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only then did i get permission to move for three national guardsmen. sen. portman: these are three unarmed national guardsmen who are helping with traffic control. they were not permitted to move one block away without getting permission from the secretary of the army. is that true? gen. walker: that is correct. sen. portman: in your testimony you also talk about riot gear. that january 4 memorandum to the army secretary required the personal approval of the secretary of defense for the national guard to be issued riot here. is that correct? gen. walker: that is correct. sen. portman: you gave him credit to have him saying at least it's there. still, you cannot prepare for a civil disturbance without getting permission from the secretary of the army and the
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secretary of defense. is that true? gen. walker: normally, a commander would be able to authorize his guardsmen to protect themselves with helmets and protective equipment. sen. portman: as i said earlier, i am disappointed we do not have someone from dod. i think you're being put in a tough position. i have to ask, why the department of defense imposed these restrictions? >> i apologize. secretary miller wanted to make the decisions of how the national guard was going to be employed on that day. as you recall, the spring events, there were a number of things that happened during those events that secretary miller, is the acting secretary
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-- sen. portman: the question is why? and how unusual? don't you think that is unusual? >> there was a lot of things that happened in the spring. sen. portman: don't you think that was unusual? >> if i could. civil disturbance operations, at authority rests with the secretary of defense. if somebody is going to make a decision, against u.s. citizens. sen. portman: let's talk about the quick reaction force. you have a lot of experience. we appreciate you being here. based on your discussions with individuals. isn't the purpose of a quick reaction force to quickly react? >> it is. sen. portman: requiring a priest omitted concept of operations antithetical to the idea? >> i would call our attention to
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the quick reaction force that they. it was designed to respond to the traffic control points in the metro stations. we did not have a quick reaction force to respond to the events that unfolded on the capital. sen. portman: i don't know that that's true. do not have a quick reaction force? i think you did. you at police officers who were also guardsmen. correct? gen. walker: i did. sen. portman: when they be appropriate to respond? gen. walker: in my opinion they would have been. sen. portman: again i wish we had the people remaking the decision. i do not want to put you in this position. but you are all we have got. in your opinion, to the attack constitute a last resort? -- did the attack constitute a last resort? >> and immediate response? sen. portman: in the letter it said only as a last resort.
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do you think investors were situation occurred? >> there was certainly a last resort situation occurred. sen. portman: why did it take so long to authorize the use of the national guard? in particular, the use of the q fbar? >> if you'd like to go through the timeline, based on why the decision-makers, secretary mccarthy, if we go through the timeline, at 2:22 as mentioned today. at 2:30 he went out and saw miller. at 3:04 secretary miller made
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the decision to mobilize the entire national guard. that meant that he was calling all of the national guard members that were assigned to the d.c. national guard. at 3:04 that decision was made. between that period of time, secretary mccarthy had asked, he wanted to understand, because of the dynamics. shots have been fired. he wanted to understand the employment of how the national guard was going to be sent. what their missions were going to be. with debbie clearing buildings? perimeter? how would they be equipped? he wanted to understand how they would be armed. he was asking a lot of questions to understand exactly how they were going to be employed. and national guard members needed to be employed. sen. portman: with all due respect, three hours and 19
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minutes. from the first call, plea really. with his voice cracking with emotion. the chief of police saying help, we need help. three hours and 19 minutes. that can't happen again. do you agree with that? >> senator, i do. chairwoman klobuchar: recommend her blunt. -- ranking member blunt. sen. blunt: if restrictions were not put in place, what would you have done? gen. walker: i would have merely pulled the guardsmen. i would've had them assembled in the armory, and get on buses and go straight to the armory, and
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report to the most ranking capitol police officer they saw, and take direction. let me at this. one of my lt. col.'s went to the capitol, anticipating we would be called. he went there and that with deputy chief carol, he asked where is the national guard? . . he said i'm sure they are coming. i am here to scout out when they are going to come. i will send them there immediately. as soon as i hung up, my next call would have been to my subordinate commanders, get every single guardsmen in this building, and everybody that is helping the police. remission them to the capital without delay. sen. blunt: how quickly do you think you could have had people
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here? you sit a minute ago the guard had moved from andrews to the armory by 3:30 is that right? gen. walker: yes sir. sen. blunt: how quickly was the colonel? gen. walker: he was here immediately. when the metropolitan police left some of the traffic control points, my kernel left with them and came straight to the capitol, anticipating that is where the fire was, that fire needed to be put out. sen. blunt: there certainly was concerns here immediately. yesterday i saw a message that i sent. mr. elder, who was the director of the rules committee for me when i was chairman at the time. the quote on that message, the text message was, could this information about the defense department and the national guard possibly be true? that is 3:09, already wondering,
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other senators are wondering could it possibly be true that the defense department was not sending the guard immediately. on the january 5 letter, that's described as secretary mccarthy relating new restrictions from the acting secretary of the defense, christopher miller. with that the accurate -- would that be accurate? do you agree that general walker have more flexibility before those instructions? that is a yes or no. do you agree he had more flexibility before those instructions then he did after? would it be fair to say those were new instructions or not? >> senator, in fairness to general walker, he can't respond
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to a civil operation without the authority of the secretary of defense. absent these memos, general walker would have had to get approval to respond through the secretary of defense. sen. blunt: let's talk about that approval process. if you would like to go through the timeline. i assume you are talking about the department of defense timeline that i have in front of me. you mentioned 15:04 as one of your reference points. at 3:19, that timeline says the secretary of the army phone call with senator schumer and speaker pelosi about the nature of mayor bowser's request. the secretary of the army explains that the acting secretary of defense already
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approved the full d.c. national guard mobilization. would that be right as of 3:19? >> that would be accurate. sen. blunt: let me go one step further. at 15:26, the secretary of the army phone call with mayor bowser and the metropolitan police chief relays that there is no denial of the request, and conveys the acting secretary of defense approval of the activation of full national guard. on your timeline, within seven minutes, one is mobilization and the other is activation. go ahead and explain what those two things mean. >> those words are being used interchangeably. what secretary miller did at 15:06 on six january was authorized the national guard, the d.c. national guard.
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all that does is provide the national guard to be called in from wherever their homes are, and come to the armory. that is what the mobilization activation order is. sen. blunt: i wonder if that is what senator schumer and speaker pelosi thought it meant. you can't answer that. i also wonder if that is what mayor bowser thought it meant, when they were told that 3:19 and 3:26 that the guard was being mobilized and activated. i do not expect you to be able to answer what they thought. i know i would have assumed that that meant the guard was on the way, unless i was specifically told, they are mobilized but they really won't be there until we make a decision hours later. at 4:32. , the acting secretary of defense activation to conduct perimeter operations.
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that is an hour and 10 or so minutes later. is that the moment when the guard was told they could move forward? >> yes it is. sen. blunt: do you agree with that, general walker? gen. walker: i do not get approval until a little after 5:00. i got that from the secretary of the army who was relaying to me. i never talked to secretary of defense miller, i did not talk to the secretary of the army. army senior leaders told me at about 5:08 p.m. that the secretary of defense has authorized our approval to support the capitol. >> if i could, that is when the secretary of defense made the decision. at 4:32? as general walker has pointed, he was not told that until 5:08. sen. blunt: how is that possible?
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if the decision was made at 4: 32 was not told until half an hour after the decision was made? >> there were decisions being made, communications, actions that had to be taken. all of that was happening at simultaneous times by different individuals, and i think that part of the challenge is that some of the delayed communications probably put some of the challenges we had that day. sen. blunt: i would think so. if you had to have the communication before general walker could take action, and the communication does not require for over half an hour, that is a significant problem for the future if we don't figure out how the decision, the communication and the action all happen.
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thank you. chairwoman klobuchar: thank you very much. >> >> thank you very much chairwoman klobuchar and chair peters, ranking members blunt and portman. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today, that i want to thank you all for our service. i want to start with a question for one of our witnesses. it is about a topic i asked about last week. the secretary of homeland security has the authority to desk eight events of national significance as national security events. these events receive expanded support. doctors used to determine special security events designations include the attendance of u.s. officials, as well as the size and significance of the event. our hearing last week, the former officials in charge of
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security testified that the dhs did not read chapter u.s. capitol officials about designating january 6 joint session of congress as a national special security event. to your knowledge, that any department of homeland security officials ever consider or recommend designating the january 6 joint session of congress as a national special security event? >> thank you, senator. no. to my knowledge no one at the department of homeland security consider designating january 6 as that. also to my knowledge, no one responsible for protecting the capit askedo for such a designationl. >> but we are talking about that, you do not need a request. you could have initiated it.
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what is the department's current policy and process for designated national special security events, and whether any procedural issues blocking such a designation in spite of the growing evidence of intelligence available? >> i am sorry. i am running the office of intelligence for dhs. we have a small role in the process, but i am not qualified to speak about the whole process. it is fairly complicated. i am happy to have secret service reach out to you if you would like me to follow up with that. >> i think it is really important for us to understand what the processes are. we had asked has been pointed out, the vice president elect, all members of congress at one location at an event where there was clear intelligence that might turn violent, and there appears to have been no communication or effort by dhs to designate this in a way that would have the security we are
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now standing about, stood up ahead of time. i want to turn to ms. sanborn. according to a recent report, the fbi has charged hundreds of people associated with the events on january 6. date in relation to the attacks of january 6, how many were already under investigation by the bureau? >> i can give a specific number but i can only recall one of the individuals that was under investigation prior. >> was that because the fbi is limited in its tools or capacity to monitor charge or arrest these individuals prior to january 6? was it a manpower issue? i'm just trying to understand looking back now what might've made a difference in being able to move against some of those individuals sooner. ? >> it's a complexity of trying
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to gather the right intelligence to help us predict indicators and mornings. while there's a volume of rhetoric, trying to figure out the intent is challenging for us because it happens on private calms and encryption. the other aspect is of the people we were investigating, we don't necessarily have the ability to mitigate the threat that might pose by travel if we don't have a charge. we took overt action by going and trying to get them to not come and that worked in the majority of cases. i also have another question for you about the fbi's information sharing practices. norfolk field office issued a report that some extremists were preparing to travel to washington and commit acts of
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violence. the report eventually made it to the u.s. capitol analyst but it didn't make it to the former capitol police chief. i think it's important for us to understand, what is the standard policy in disseminating reports like that? >> that's a great question. i just like to segue into that, part of the reason we were able to get that intelligence report was because we made it -- to collect whatever they could on the joint session as well as inauguration. they collected that information they did follow our normal process and i think we heard yesterday from the director, they documented it quickly and disseminated it three different ways, in writing, via email, verbally, and also put it in what we call the leap portal which is available to all state and local partners across the united states.
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quick some trying to understand how it didn't get elevated to the highest level. who is the highest official in the fbi to be informed of the intelligence? >> i found out about it days after. i think it's important to caveat what that was, it was raw, unvented information and only because of the -- didn't get quickly elevated to the washington field office and disseminated to the task force officers. thousands of tips come in like this every day and not all of those get elevated to senior leadership. >> except this was tips again -- about violence in the u.s. capitol where we're going to have all members of congress. given the gravity of the threat, it's very hard for me to understand why somebody didn't pick up the phone. i'd like to understand whether any of the following were
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informed of the intelligence. the president, white house chief of staff, attorney general of the united states and the house and senate majority leader. >> not to my knowledge, and i think you heard the director said this yesterday and i echo it 100%. anytime an attack happens, were going back and figure out what we could've done better differently. >> one of the things before a major event that one should always do is figure out who the leadership is and they should be talking twice a day on the phone for the week leading up at least. it certainly standard practice for governors and it's astounding to me that even if it's raw intelligence, given what the steaks were on january 6, that kind of sharing was a routine and that it didn't happen. so i hope very much that we will look back at this and develop standard operating procedures so that the leadership and security at the capitol and all the
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various agencies are sharing this kind of information person-to-person rather than relying on standard emails and the like. thank you very much. >> also that the purpose of the command post and i echo your point which is let's go back and figure out what we can do differently. >> thank you. we're following the order set forth by the homeland security committee how they do their orders, so if there's questions about that, that's how we are doing it today. next to senator feinstein. >> thanks very much, madam chairman. i'd like to ask this question, in august 2017, dhs office of intel and analysis and the virginia fusion center issued a report days before the violent protests in charlottesville virginia. the report warned that the protests could be among the most
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sought -- most violent to date. it warmed that anarchist extremists and white supremacists extremists are calling on supporters to be prepared for and to instigate violence at the 12 august rally. this was very similar to what we saw in the lead up to the january 6 insurrection when groups are actively planning to come to washington and commit violence. yet there was no similar intelligence report by the department of homeland security for this occasion. my question is, why, and what happened to change this procedure? >> yes, senator, thank you for that question. before the election and then into the inauguration, ina did publish 15 separate unclassified
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reports that did discuss specifically that there was a heightened threat of violence, that the threat could come from lone actors are small cells. we assess that those that were motivated by concerns about the election and grievances associated largely with covid-19 restrictions also appear to be armed, and we also warned that they could transition quickly from a peacetime situation into a violent situation. in preparation for this hearing i did review all of those reports and was impressed with how well the team did. they were very well written and very specific. the point, senator, is that we thought we had provided that morning. we did not have anything specific about an attack on the capital to occur on january 6. so we did not issue a separate report. in hindsight, we probably should
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have, but we had just issued a report on december 30 with our colleagues in fbi and the national counterterrorism center and we thought that was sufficient. >> i would like to ask that you make those reports available to this committee. >> happy to, ma'am. >> please, also, press reports indicate that acting defense secretary christopher miller issued a memo on january 4th presents the dc national guard from receiving weapons or protective gear interacting with protesters, or employing riot control agents without his personal authorization. do you know of any other instance where a defense secretary required personal authorization before allowing national guard troops to respond to an emergency? and i would like to put the letter from christopher miller, madame chairman, in the file if i could.
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>> yes, without objection. >> senator, i will answer that. i'm not aware of another letter from a secretary, but based on events in the spring and secretary miller being new to the department at the time and some of the things that happened, he issued that direction. that direction, i come back to the point that in order for national guard members to deploy in civil disturbance operations it requires the secretary of defense's approval. just so be clear there is no ability for the military to respond without the secretary's approval approval. >> if i may, madame chairman. i'm looking at a memo for secretary of the army guidance for the district of columbia's
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national guard dated january 4, 2021, i received it. and it responds to a memorandum regarding the district's request for support for the planned demonstrations from january 5th to 6th. and you are authorizationed to approve the requested support for subject to my guidance below subject to consultation. and it points out a number of things that are not authorized. so this letter of january 4 i would like to be in the record because somewhere there is a problem here. and i'm listening carefully to try and find out what the problem is. but there was certain reports that were not issued, and they were of an intelligence nation.
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-- nature. and i'm curious about finding out which ones essentially did what. if you have any response to that, and if you could let this committee know, it would be appreciated. >> yes, we're happy to do so. the key here is, and my dhs colleagues mention this the , intelligence that we had articulated, that we knew people were coming to the dc area. we knew there was a possibility they would come armed and have potentially have conflict amongst themselves. what we lacked and i think you heard this last week as well, none of us had intelligence that suggested that individuals would storm and breach the capitol and that was the intelligence that we lacked. >> i think that remains to be seen, but i appreciate the comment and i think that's what this committee has to look for
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and make a determination whether or not there was, in fact, adequate prequestions, preinterest. and there is a record, and i thank you madame chairwoman. >> thank you. >> senator johnson you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you. before i get into my line of questions, mrs. sislova. i received up press release from capitol police that said we have obtained intelligence that there was a possible plot to attack the capitol on thursday march 4th, is that a threat that you're aware of? >> senator we issued a bulletin last night co-authored with the fbi about extremists discussing march 4th and march 6th. is that what you're referring to?
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we released it last night around midnight, i think? >> yes. >> again, so the threats are on going. >> yes. >> general walker, to review the time line chief sund contacted you. at 2:15 the capitol was breeched i think you said you had available 340 national guard troops, is that right? >> half were on the streets helping the metropolitan police department, the other half would have came in to relieve them. but we get -- we would have called them into come in. >> so you had 40 in the quick reaction correct. so if this was all preapproved by the secretary of defense, and
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i am mindful of the considerations of military being involved in civil disturbances. i think that is part of the issue. some of the blow back that occurred with the spring instances, how quickly could you have gotten how many people to the capitol? >> 20 minutes. >> how many people? >> 150. >> ok. i mean that's important information to have. i think quite honestly what we need to do here is completely reconstruct what happened. and i mean completely re reconstruct. we need eyewitness testimony from different vantage points. how many points of confrontation occurred during the riot? i mean, in other words, were these primarily at choke points, doors, windows, that were breached and then inside the capitol, again, outside the
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house chamber, or was there -- the capitol is 751 feet long. was that a 751-foot long line that -- that capitol police and other law enforcement were battling protesters? >> thank you for the question. i think we're still in the process of gathering that data. obviously the folks that we have charged, we've charged for breaching and getting inside so we at least know at some point they got through a choke point. the actual distance of how long that was is still part of what we're examining, sir. >> but we've got all kinds of video, all kinds of photographs, so you obviously are examining that, and from that video you've been able to arrest 300 people -- 300 people have been charged. 18 have been charged with conspiracy and 40 have been arrested for assault on law enforcement officers, so have you looking at those videos maybe not been able to identify the people but have you counted
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the number of people that you want to identify, for example,w? >> so we're still doing that, and that number increases just like the arrests every day and so we have identified hundreds of people that we're trying to still identify. >> ok. well, again, we've got 300 individuals who have been charged. 40 have been charged with assault. do you expect hundreds of people to be charged with assault or will those be disorderly contact, unlawful entry? give me some sort of sense of the extent of this. >> fair question, the charges have ranged from everything from trespassing to obstruction to definitely assault on federal officers. we have a fair number of those, and so the charges based on the actual behavior that the individual partook that day definitely vary. >> how many firearms were confiscated in the capitol or on capitol grounds during that day? >> to my knowledge we've not recovered any on that day from any of the arrests at the scene at this point but i don't want to speak on behalf of metro and
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capitol police but to my knowledge none. >> nobody has been charged with an actual firearm weapon in the capitol or on capitol grounds. >> correct. the closest we came was the vehicle that had had the molotov cocktails in it and when we did a search of the vehicle later on there was a weapon. >> how many shots were fired that we know of? >> i believe the only shots that were fired were the ones that resulted in the death of the one lady. >> ok. well, again, i appreciate the chair's comments about bipartisan, non-partisan investigation. you're seeking out the truth. that's what i'm trying to do. cognizant of how i was reacted to by offering an eyewitness account at the last hearing, i'll risk entering another piece of reporting into the record. this is from the "new york times." hopefully that will be viewed more favorably. the title is a small group of militants outsized role in the capitol attack. in that report it says federal prosecutors have said members of the oath keepers militia group
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planned and organized their attack and, quote, put into motion violence that overwhelmed the capitol. the reason i'm entering this into the record and read this quote it really does seem to align with the eyewitness account that i read portions of into the record last week. no conspiracy theory, just an eyewitness account in a knowledgeable observer. i didn't get to the point of the actual attack and i want to just read a couple of excerpts. this is the title provocateurs turn unsuspecting marches into an invading mob. again, these provocateurs are primarily white supremacist groups and then allowed shouts from behind quote, forward, do not retreat, forward and two other men standing across from one another on the high granite curbs on either side of the footpath yelled variations of forward, do not dare retreat. some made direct eye contact at people and pointed directly at them as if trying to cite them into submitting. a third man standing on a chair also shouting forward reached down and grabbed me by the shoulder and barked don't
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retreat, get back up there. it wasn't an expression of enthusiasm or solidarity but sounded like a military order. this guy was probably in his 50s. he looked furious with me. nobody seemed to be aware that the capitol was under attack. the tear gas caused pandemonium. there was still no stampede and people created or widened path and from the north a column of uniform younger man walked briskly towards the inaugural stand. they came within two feet of me. the camouflage uniforms were clean, neat and with a parent i -- a pattern i couldn't identify. these were the disciplined uniformed column of attackers i had seen. there were a good three dozen of them moving in a single snake-like formation. they were organized and disciplined and prepared. we're taking the capitol. the first and second announced. you're going to get arrested, someone called. miss sanborn, does that tie into with what you're uncovering as what you investigate what happened in the capitol that these day, you had armed militia
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groups that had conspired and organized to be there, maybe dozens. we don't know how many, but that they were organizing and knew how to use the mob to storm the capitol. is that kind of what you're seeing? >> we're definitely so far seeing a mixture of that, absolutely. we're seeing people that got caught up in the moment and the energy, et cetera, and made their way into the capitol and those are probably the ones that you're seeing the charges simply of trespassing and then we're definitely seeing that portion that you're pointing out which is small groups and cells now being charged with conspiracy that coalesced either on site or days or weeks prior and had sort of an intent that day and they, too, probably caught people up in the energy. >> one final comment. i would urge anybody that criticized me for entering an eyewitness account into the record last week to please read the eyewitness account to take a look at actually what the truth is. thank you. >> thank you. before i call on senator
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-- i just want to ask you miss sanborn one thing. these people that were assaulting the capitol in military gear and were pinning an officer between a door and were using bear spray on officers in the capitol, would you title them provocateurs? >> ma'am, it would all depend on the evidence behind the case, right, so as we're going through and figuring out what actually we know about each individual it would depend on the facts and what we know wholistically about that to put a label on that. >> do you think there were very serious violent people involved in this insurrection? >> 100%. a lot of officers were injured and a lot of damage was done. >> and would describe the atmosphere as festive? >> absolutely not. >> thank you. senator merkley. >> thank you, madam, chair, and thank you all for your information.
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assistant secretary, if i understood your earlier comment you thought the quick reaction team was only for reinforcing assistance to those members of the national guard providing traffic control. did i hear your comment correctly? >> yes, senator, you did. >> thank you. major general walker, i believe that i heard your comments correctly that quick reaction team was there to respond as needed including protection of the capitol. is that correct? >> no, they were actually to provide support to the guardsmen out there. what i would have wanted to do is re-mission them and get them to the capitol immediately as a quick reaction force. >> i see. so they weren't necessarily planned to help protect the capitol, but you would re-assign them to that in that type of emergency. >> yes, sir.
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>> ok. thank you. four that clarification. i was really struck by the complexity of the chain of command for trying to get a decision for response. it starts with the capitol police board which goes to the chief of the capitol police steven sund who goes to the commanding general of the d.c. national guard who goes to the secretary of army who then consults with people within department of army about whether it's appropriate which then goes to the secretary of defense and then consults christopher miller to decide to study that who then goes in order back to the commanding general of the d.c. national guard. this six-step process seems totally unsuited to the situation of responding quickly to an emergency, and just wanted to ask you, commander walker, if
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i'm reading this chain of command correctly and if -- do you share the view that this is way too complex for a moment when you need to respond quickly? >> during the first week of, the secretary of the army was with me. i watch him call the secretary of defense and conduct with the -- respond back to me with approval within minutes. so it is an elaborate process but it doesn't always have to be what went in extremist circumstances we can get it done over the phone quickly. >> is normally an elaborate process done in advance and the information came to you on january 1. you got back response on january 5, this was before january 6, but it had this provision, this
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restriction that i think you've testified to was unusual, that required consultation on january 6 in a fashion that deeply inhibited the ability to move quickly. >> that's right, senator. >> i wanted to turn to the undersecretary, you've been with the department for how long? >> 17 years, sir. >> and you were the secretary on january 6. >> yes, sir. >> i was struck by different reports that came from officials saying there was a move within the department, and i will just quote one formal official report, nobody wanted to write a formal intelligence report about this in fear that a report would be poorly received by the maga
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folks within dhs. to follow this up, brian murphy, former head of dhs, we also the deputy to him as well? >> yes, sir. >> he noted that dhs officials had ordered them to stay away from the threat of white nationalism and he was asked to modify intel assessments to ensure that they matched up with public comments by president trump to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists. in your time at dhs, it's very important that intelligence is unaffected by politics. did you get a sense that there was kind of a troubling cloud as reported in various sources including the former head of dhs that there was this troubling
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cloud of political influence over the determination of how intelligence was presented to officials? >> i can say that the ina report did not change, we did not change our assessment based on any political pressure or interference. it's a publicly available document and does state that white supremacists are the most persistent and legal threat -- lethal threat to the homeland. >> did you ever feel any pressure received any encouragement, even in a less informal way, i'm not talking about a written document, that you need to be careful about clarifying the threat posed by white extreme assists? >> i did not personally receive that. >> did you consider brian murphy's report that type of pressure was accurate or inaccurate? >> his is a whistle blower
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complaint and it is still being adjudicated. >> i understand, but i'm asking, you were right there in the leadership, did you ever get a sense or was any type of political influence like he reported regarding encouragement to downplay? >> i did not personally have that on me. >> i suggested the reason there were formal intelligence assessments regarding earlier events including the protests in portland, but not such a detailed presentation related to january 6 was because of this pressure to downplay to some degree the threat posed by white extreme assist? >> i would like to point out that the two instances are very different. our support during some of the civil unrest in the protest specifically in portland was the direct request of our own dhs federal law enforcement partners. in that capacity, we were
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reacting to a pattern of violence that had shown itself for several weeks. our open-source teams did an excellent job in many instances of providing specific information that cap those officers safe. they were reporting things like bricks may be used today as a weapon. another day it might be bug spray, combined with leaf blowers or lasers. our work by contrast leading up to the election in january 6 is quite different, it's a different kind of environment, there's not that pattern of violence, it's a different kind of assessment. so do suggest that it's impossible to compare the two. >> thank you for your testimony. >> thank you, senator. the chair recognizes senator sinema for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chair and
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thank you to our witnesses for being here today. we heard about efforts between law enforcement and federal partners for january 6, including areas that could be improved. the committee heard about intelligent shared by the fbi field office in virginia on january six. morning of extremists preparing to travel. we also heard from the chief of the u.s. capitol police said he never saw this report and that on january 6 he knew of no intelligence suggesting there would be a coordinated violent attack on the u.s. capitol. the head of the fbi washington field office had said the bureau did not have intelligence suggesting violence prior to the report. however, on january 8, the new york times outlined activity across multiple social media platforms showing coordination between groups ahead of the
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january 6 attack. it highlighted conversations about court netting travel, bringing weapons, using language like occupy the capital and the revolution will come to washington. the first question is for ms. sanborn, was the fbi where of the specific conversations on social media? >> to my knowledge, no ma'am, and i would articulate why that is. under our authority, because the mindful of the first amendment and are mission to uphold the constitution, we cannot -- without the next step which is the intent. so we have to have a predicated investigation that allowed us access to those columns and are people report to gather that information. quick so the fbi does not monitor publicly available social media conversations?
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>> correct, is not within our authority. quick some annex question, did the preparations for january 6 rally follow the typical process for sharing information when confronted by this type of an event with a high potential for violence? in were there additional processes implemented, this is -- the vice president and vice president elect all gathered in one place. >> a couple things we did different than normal operations is, we sent out and made this had a national priority for all of our 56 field offices to actively go out and ask sources, collect information on any threats that posed to the national capital region not only for the 6th but for the inauguration. that tasking is what led to the potential collection in the norfolk field office. we also, a step that we took that is different than our every normal course of day of business, both washington field office and headquarters stood up
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command posts so we activated our nc-3 which is a multi-agency task force that was 24/7 inside the hoover building inside salma -- in washington field mirrored that in their field office. and dhs had been on a heightened period of alert after -- before the election and then after the election. we also participated the command posts in the washington field -- the washington fusion center. in retrospect we may have been better off if we considered sending out some kind of terrorism bulletin but we did not do that before january 6th. >> this is a question for both of you. the fbi field offices did have intelligence outlining a threat to congress. we know that conversations were happening on publicly available
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social media, and dhs was tracking the travel of some of these suspected radicals. so given all of these pieces, what in your opinion broke down, and what got in the way of law enforcement properly planning to meet these publicly articulated threats? >> i'll start. i think exactly the processes we had in place and we followed and i think that's the good news. as you heard the director yesterday and i would echo, any time there's an attack we in the fbi want to bat 1000 and we want this never to happen again and we're asking the questions that you're asking. is there something we more we could have done and that's something we're looking back at. i think the information we had, we worked quickly to try to get that out in reporting and share is in multiple ways, verbally, e-mails and putting it in portals and 100% you can rest assured we're asking the same as
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we want to continue to improve and get better. >> ma'am, we also at dhs are completely dissatisfied with the result of our efforts leading up to january 6th. we're re-examining how we distribute our information, how we coordinate with our partners. we thought that it was sufficient and clearly it was not. we are also working much more focused on plan applying more resources to better understand this particular threat. we're also looking at how we can better understand social media to get those tips and maybe get better insight into what this ad versery is doing uncertain -- it's a very difficult threat for us in the intelligence community to understand. it is -- it will require more partnerships with in traditional partners and with our standard state and local partners and
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you'll see that we'll reinforce our already good partnership with the fbi. we will do better. >> thank you. following up on that last comment around local partnerships, i wanted to go back to miss sanborn. on january 5th the fbi did receive information that armed protests were being planned at capitol buildings in all 50 state capitols. could you just briefly in the time we have left share how that intell was acted upon and how it was shared across the country. >> ma'am, i don't recall off the top of my head. i'd have to get back to you on the mechanism that we did to share that information. >> so based on that response would it be fair to assume that it was not a particularly high priority that there were armed protests planned at all 50 state capitols across the country? >> no, it 100% was a high priority and it definitely for our mission and our focus we were not on the 6th only focused on the national capital region, we were focused on the whole country.
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it 100% was a very important focus for us. i can't remember the mechanism of the document or whether it was an email or joint product how we passed that information but we were concerned with it and i know we disseminated it in some form and i owe you that. >> thank you. so i'll just have my team follow up with you. mr. chair, i see that my time has expire. i yield back and thank you. >> thank you. senator padilla, you are recognized for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chair. first a comment and then a question for the witnesses. i understand, you know, there's a lot of people they would hike to see a reconstruction of the events of january 6th and how they came to be. for anybody generally interested i turn your attention to the house impeachment managers presentation to the united states senate from february 9th through the 13th.
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my questions today though are in some ways a follow-up to yesterday's judiciary committee hearing where we heard from fbi director chris wray. and a quote from his testimony yesterday. quote, we are not aware of any widespread evidence of voter fraud. much less that would have affected the outcome in the presidential election, end quote. and yet former president trump and other people with influence continue to spread lies and disinformation about the november 2020 election was stolen. former president trump continued this effort most recently at the conservative political action conference on sunday, falsely claiming, and i'll quote from him, we did even better in the second election that we did in the first. you know, i won the first. we won the second. we did much better.
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prior to joining the united states senate i served for six years as california secretary of state which includes the responsibility of serving as california's chief elections officer for the most populous state in the nation. i know trump is lying. we all know trump is lying. fbi director wray told us yesterday that one of the biggest challenges that the government faces in confronting domestic terrorism is separating the signal from the noise. this was particularly true in the lead-up to the january 6th insurrection. when people of influence, particularly former and current elected officials continue to spread lies and disinformation about election integrity, i would imagine that creates a lot more noise, unnecessary noise, counterproductive noise,
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dangerous noise for you all to have to sift through. i suspect it also served to radicalize some number of people to actually take action including violent action just as we have seen for years with jihadist propaganda and other forms of foreign terrorism, so my question for each of you, two questions, actually. one, does the perpetuation of disinformation about the 2020 election make your job harder and how? second, what kind of message does the january 6th insurrection send to other domestic violent extremists and our foreign adversaries as well?
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>> i'll start. i think i'd start with pinpointing the specific thing that drives somebody to mobilization is very, very, very difficult, and it's probably more complex in the domestic violence extremist space than any of the domestic terrorist space and why that is is we found in our investigations is domestic violence extremists not only are potentially doing what they are doing in an insular manner, but it's a combination of an ideology that they have and what makes it different is a very unique personalized grievance, and when those things combine that appears to be what pushes them to mobilization and so for every single individual we're trying to find that, but it's incredibly hard, and it relies a lot on their ability, you know, post-disruption to explain that process to that, and so that's something that we're trying very hard to get to
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the bottom of on each of these cases. >> and, sir, we -- we did warn in our national terrorism advisory system bulletin that we assess perceived grievances that are fueled by false narratives could continue to mobilize or incite people to commit violence, so to that extent, yes. false narratives are a difficult -- are difficult. >> senator, the department of defense does not do domestic intelligence on u.s. citizens, but there's no tolerance for extremists in the ranks of the defense department. secretary austin within the first few weeks of taking over as the secretary ordered a stand down in the defense department, a one-day stand down to examine extremism, educate people and make sure we're doing everything that we can to root that out. >> senator -- i'll spare you for a second because i want to make sure i
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get some clarity here. now i know these issues is complex. your work is tremendously complex and challenging, but answer to the first question based on what i hear, tell me if you disagree, the question being does this make your job harder? the answer would be so far yes, yes, yes. is that correct? >> it's two-fold, right. any more volume makes it harder and the more variety of things that inspire people definitely makes pinpointing it to a specific one challenging so variety of inspiration combined with amount of rhetoric out there definitely are two things that add. >> ok. and in the limited time i have left i want to make sure to address the second question which is what message do you believe this is sending to other domestic violence extremist let alone foreign adversaries? >> we do assess that the breech on on the capitol could inspire
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others to act if that's what you're asking, sir. >> i agree. any time an adversary is successful others pay attention so we're worried that this would be an inspiration. >> i agree with that. >> i agree as well, sir. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. just before i recognize the next member from my committee. witnesses, you've been here for a long time so what our plan is to give you a little -- in the future here, the near future, a chance to stretch a little bit. i'm going to recognize one more senator from my committee, chairwoman klobuchar will recognize one from her committee and then we'll give you a five-minute break. with that, senator rosen, you are recognized for your questions. thank you, chairman peters. i appreciate you and all the other senators on the -- on the rules committee for putting together this joint hearing. it's really important and
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appreciate everyone for being here. you know, in october 2020 dhs warned that, and i quote racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically white supremacists will remain the most persistent and legal threat in the homeland, unquote, and that, quote again, violent actors might target events related to the post-election period, unquote. according to a former dhs assistant secretary for counterterrorism and threat prevention, the office of intelligence, analysis or ina was aware that the potential for violence on january 6th and iquote again, but, quote, for reasons of fear did not want to formalize reports. we know senator merkley asked you this question and the day before the attacks ina sent a national summary to national law enforcement partners stating there was nothing significant to report, nothing significant to report, and so if dhs assessed white supremacists to be the most lethal threat to americans
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and if ina was aware of domestic violence extremists mobilizing to cause violence on january 6th then why didn't the department issue a formal intelligence warning that violence would occur, and i ask this of miss smislova. >> yes, yes, ma'am. first, we have heard of that report that we sent out that said nothing significant to report and we can't locate that so i have no idea where that notion came from. >> can you follow up and see if you can find that? >> we've looked, ma'am, for a while, so we -- we don't have a copy of that report. that would not be an official report that ina sent out. it is possible, ma'am, that where it came from was maybe a phone call or something where we said we had nothing additional to report. we did view the work that we had done prior to january 6th
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as being sufficiently specific in warning of a possible threat. some of the reports we did distribute you just quoted from yourself so it was our belief that those warnings were enough. obviously they were not. we are working very hard now to do two things, one, get better specificity and insight into this particular threat and then secondly, understand better how our customers receive our products, read our products, who gets our products. it is unclear to us why they were not received and we were not better prepared for a possible attack. >> thank you. did ina share any intelligence products with national fusion centers relaying information about possible violence on january 6th, and is capitol police part of the d.c. area fusion center? >> yes. we talked specifically to the
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capitol police in early december, made sure that they were in receipt of all of our products, and they received, again, the one we put out just a week before the attack that we co-authored with fbi national counterterrorism center. we know that all of our products do go to the national network of fusion centers, and we in fact participated in a phone call that was sponsored by the national network of fusion centers the day before on january 5th where we all reiterated our concerns that we were in a heightened threat environment, that this particular adversary could mobilize quickly and they most likely small cells, lone offenders, they would most likely come armed and they could -- were interested in attacking specifically government buildings and large gatherings. >> well, i appreciate that, but it seems like we weren't exactly ready so moving forward i know
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, that you alluded that you're going to try to figure out where your product goes and who talks about it but how are you going to specifically elevate ina's assessment that white supremacists are the most lethal threat so that informed intelligence reaches our local law enforcement ahead of possible attacks so that we can prevent any loss of life certainly or any kinds of things? >> yes, ma'am, and the department is committed to doing that. our secretary is very committed to coming up with a whole of dhs approach to better combat domestic terrorism. we are working across the department to understand how to better articulate the threat and deliver the threat and how to mitigate it with our state and local partners. >> thank you. i want to move on because the day before the insurrection the fbi issued an internal warning that extremeists planned to take
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part in violence on january 6th. last week i asked metro pd about the intelligence failures leading up to the attack. the acting chief of police conte told me the fbi email and alert bulletin warned about potential violence at 7:00 p.m. the night before the attack. mr. conte told me, again i'm going to quote here, would i certainly think i that something as violent as an insurrection at the capitol would warrant a phone call or something, unquote. but yesterday fbi director wray said his information was provided to local law enforcement multiple times and in multiple forms, so miss sanborn, it sounds like either mr. conte or director wray was mistaken. so can you corroborate director wray's statement, and if indeed the warning was only sent in warning, why didn't the fbi go a little bit further? why did they did not alert local law enforcement about the possible violent insurrection in a manner more consistent with the gravity of the threat on our homeland?
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>> yes, ma'am, i appreciate the question. i think i'll start with the information we received just to correctly characterize what it was was information off the internet, unattributable to a specific person. that being said the content and the suggestion of what may or may not happen was concerning enough that based on our prioritizing this is a collection priority for our 56 field offices. they quickly wrote that up, and within the hour had that information to the washington field office. they wrote it up in a document specifically for dissemination to state and local partners, but really they tried to belt and suspender that together. they wanted to make sure we didn't rely on the dissemination of a product, that we also followed up with an email so it went out in an email to all tasks force officers on the washington jttf fask force and there's numerous of those from the national capital region that received that email. still on top of that they didn't want to rely on just the email and the writ erin document.
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in one of the command post briefings that they were doing back then every couple of hours they specifically stoodp and talked about this to try to have a common operating picture of what this information was, and then still to go a step further and not rely on just that and make sure that we broadened the visibility not just to the national capital region but opened that aperture to the whole country for our state and local partners we posted that situation information report on what we call the leap portal which is available to all state and local partners and why that is significant it gives them awareness but it also gives them the opportunity to maybe even potentially add collection to what our piece that we got from the social media posting online. thank you. >> i know my time has expired so i'll take this question offline. but we're encountering so many online threatening posts we need to maybe change the definition of specific threats and raise them up. thank you. >> very good thoughts. next senator warner from the rules committee. >> thank you, madam chairman, and let me also agree with you
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and senator rosen that the cross pollen is asian -- pollenization that takes place on social media platforms and on the dark web need to be pursued. i appreciate miss sanborn's response that they do not arbitrarily collect off of american citizens if there's not some nexus but i do think it's important and i think that others mentioned that domestic violence extremists didn't start with january 6th. they didn't start with donald trump. they are not going to end with january 6 or end with donald trump. in my state we saw a few years back the unite the right rally at charlottesville where many of these same groups and affiliations came together in another violent effort where one protester was killed and fortunately lost a couple members our state police.
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director wray has repeatedly said in testimony before the intelligence committee the worldwide threat assessment that domestic violence extremists are a major national security threat to this country. i personally believe that that message was downplayed during the previous administration because they didn't want to hear it, and what i'm going to start with, miss smislova and assistant director sanborn, it's great to see you again, is that recognizing the constraints that are placed upon you in terms of collections and that also acknowledging that this threat has been around for some time and the phone in particular has acknowledged that it is an extraordinary major severe threat, what have you both been
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able to do in engaging in open source intelligence and independent research communities to better identify these dves? i know in the run-up to the january 6th insurrection therewas research done by harvard's john donovan and elon university megan squire and other researchers that pointed to the fact that the dves and affiliated groups, also working in conjunction with groups in europe, were planning this effort, so how are you both dhs and fbi utilizing these independent researchers, open-source activities and -- and making sure that we've got a better handle on it recognizing the appropriate constraints and what you can do directly? >> yes, senator, thank you for that question. we just last week met as inside ina to discuss contracting with some of those experts outside.
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we are aware that we need to invest more in our understanding of domestic terror. we understand as well that it will require a different approach than a traditional intelligence community approach. we must use different sources to understand this threat. we are looking to get outside experts and invest more in house. we're secondly looking at how to better understand the social media world so that we can better focus on where we might actually find specific and inciteful information about what the adversary is thinking about. we are additionally working to partner more with our state and local colleagues who we know have a different perspective of this threat and have more information in some cases than we do, and we are also again partnering more across the department and with our federal partner, increasing our relationships with fbi.
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>> miss sanborn? thank you, senator. nice to see you again as well. i would try to say what we're trying to do and put it the in three bucket for you, increasing our private sector outreach is 100%, i have a section just inside my division, that does nothing but partner engagement. we've found that the better we educate them on the threat that we're facing and painting a picture of what those threats are, they are better able to pay attention and collect and refer information to us, and that is helpful, and i think that's why when we talk about the fact that 50% of our tips and leads to cases or predication for our cases come from that relationship and that education. we're also the same as my colleague said using the state and local partners so we leverage the fusion centers a lot in their ability and their expertise and the orange county fusion center in california is a great example of leading sort of the analytics of social media and leveraging thunder bay, per tease to predicate cases and they were actually behind the predication of the base that they disrupted and last i would
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say challenging themselves for , better collection inside, trying to point our sources and collection to be in the right places to collect the intelligence that we need, and that is what led to the norfolk s s.i.r., that is us pointing our collection in a space that gathered that information. >> i have to tell you, respectfully i'm pretty disappointed with both of your answers. this is not a new threat. we've seen since the 2016 election how foreign adversaries manipulate social media. that will get better at collecting, we saw the unite the right rally in charlottesville. we've heard people say were going to get better at collecting information and better partnering. there's literally a host of experts in academia, and others
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that are monitoring activities, often in their connections to antigovernment groups in europe. we are always going to get ready and then were surprised when we see the kind of chaos that took place on january 6. we can't always keep saying were going to get better next time, it's not going to disappear with donald trump. we've got to pick up our game, we need to work with some of our foreign partners, many of them have connections and i know my
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time is run out, but i had a number of conversations with fbi officials on january 5 and january 6 world i was were shirt -- reassured, don't worry, we got this under control. that was not the case, and we now have the capital of the united states desecrated. the images of those routers across the world will be painful for many years to come.
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>> >> secretary of state tony blinken testifies live wednesday on c-span3, or listen with the free c-span radio app. tonight a discussion about social and economic disruption centered on the covid pandemic and the governments response. >> anytime we are going to change the way we live and the economy produces, there are
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going to be things that get left by the wayside. there is going to be some degree of disruption. since we are changing the way that resources are used. this pandemic is forcing us to engage in that process. there is some optimism that we can find in that. in particular with the issue of working women. it has been known for a while that flexibility in work is one of the most useful ways to allow women to balance a profession. there are some good things long-term that can benefit. in the short term there is some serious, i would say, to deal with. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on q&a.
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you can listen to q&a as a podcast. ♪ >> american history tv on c-span3 exploring the people and events that help the american story every weekend. this weekend, we are marking the 75th anniversary of winston churchill's iron curtain speech regarded as one of the cold war's most iconic speeches. today at 2:00, and author and artist reflect on the grandparents, winston churchill and harry truman. in. 4:00, a recording of winston journals entire iron curtain speech, accompanied by images and brief motion picture segments. explore the american story, what american history tv cannot today on c-span3.


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