Capitol Police downplayed intelligence from security firm warning of riot: Report

Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

Security officials downplayed warnings that groups were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol in the days preceding the Jan. 6 riot, internal emails obtained by CNN showed.

The third-party artificial intelligence company Dataminr flagged several social media posts that referred to a plan to storm the Capitol, but officials said the threats weren’t credible, CNN reported.

“We will storm government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents,” one post Dataminr shared to officials said, according to CNN.

The emails showed that Valerie Hasberry, who is the chief security officer for the Architect of the Capitol, said there was “chatter on Parler” about storming the Capitol and asked the Capitol Police to let her know if there were any credible threats, according to CNN. In response, an on-duty officer said, “there is no talk about any credible threats or storming the Capitol.”

There also appeared to be a disagreement among officials about how to prepare for the Jan. 6 demonstrations, CNN reported. Police planned to remove hundreds of bike racks outside of the Capitol to prevent protesters from getting trapped, according to an email Hasberry sent to Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton.

Hasberry said the change was not in line with past responses to demonstrations while Blanton said it was “illogical” and would make it tougher for officers to defend the building, according to CNN. But Capitol Police Assistant Chief Chad Thomas assured them that the Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit would “quickly address” any problems.

The Jan. 6 riot took place following former President Donald Trump’s speech at the “Save America” rally when a mob of attendees stormed the Capitol building. Four people, including a woman shot in the neck by an officer, died during the course of the riot, according to Washington, D.C., police. 

More than 400 individuals who were involved in and participated in the riot have been charged in the aftermath, according to CNN.

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