tv Counterterrorism Homeland Security Officials Testify on January 6 Capitol... CSPAN July 9, 2021 2:30am-5:08am EDT
at today's hearing, we will continue our committee's 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 who were directly in charge of capitol 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 is crucial as we work to get to the bottom of what happened, again, with the focus being on making sure it does not happen again. and with that, i now turn it over to chairman peters for his opening statement.
i will give mine, then senator blunt and portman. thank you. chair peters: thank you, madam chair and ranking member portman and ranking member blunt, and all of our colleagues from the rules committee, once again, for joining us on the second joint hearing on the january 6 attack on our capitol building. last week's hearing provided really the opportunity for the first american people to hear about the attack directly from the security officials that were on the ground. today we will be seeking answers about the role officials played in intelligence gathering, security planning and the response to the attack. i want to thank each of our witnesses for joining us voluntarily here today. and i'm grateful to all of you. and the employees of each of your agencies, including the
national guard units who continue to assist in protecting the capitol. we appreciate their continued efforts to safeguard our national security. and while there are still many unanswered questions about january 6, it is clear that this violent, coordinated attack was the result of a massive and historic intelligence failure. today, our committees will once again examine the systemic breakdowns that led to this terrible attack, and particularly how our intelligence and national security experts failed to see it coming. this is not a new problem. for years, i have been raising the alarm about the growing domestic terrorism threat with the department of homeland security, the fbi, and other key agencies, and their continued failures to align the counterterrorism efforts and giraffes the threats -- address the threats posed by domestic extremists.
but january 6 marked a turning point. it is the gravest terrorism threat to our homeland security. moving forward, the fbi and the department of homeland 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 that they apply to foreign threats such as isis and al qaeda. today's witnesses are uniquely qualified to discuss the 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.
that a violent attack on the capitol 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 on the citadel of our democracy remains a dark stain on our nation's history. both of our committees have a responsibility to carry out our oversight duties in a 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. and with that, i will turn it back over to chairwoman klobuchar. chair 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 that we had last week. i want to thank the many members that patiently participated in votes last week. and the thoughtful questions that will help us move forward. importantly, there were a number areas of agreement. we heard all of our witnesses last week make clear that there is no evidence that the insurrection was deliberate and coordinated, that it involved white supremacist and extremist groups, and that it was highly dangerous but could 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 who held key leadership positions in charge
of the capitol security. they did not agree on everything, but there was consensus that 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 that the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation will continue today as we hear testimony from intelligence agencies about their roles in 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. we know that there were errors made by those in charge of security in the capitol, and it is always easy to realize that later than when 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 last week that the capitol police is the consumer of intelligence. it relies on its federal partners, including the fbi and the department of homeland security, who have witnesses here today. while we are aware of the fbi raw intelligence report that came out today out of the norfolk 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. and the former police chief has said that representatives from these agencies indicated they did not have any new intelligence to share at a meeting before the day of the attack. but the insurrectionists who attacked the capitol came prepared for war. as we heard last week. they brought radios, they
brought climbing gear, and they brought weapons. so we need to hear from the federal agencies about what was known and when, what was done in response to these foreboding 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 ahead of time. now 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 capitol, we must get to the bottom of why 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 last week, the acting chief provided a disturbing account of how it 2:22 p.m. as the rioters already
broke through police lines, smashed windows at the capitol, and were breaching the buildings , all on live television, the response was not to immediately activate the guard. the acting chief said to us last week he was quote, 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, telling his fellow officers how he had been called the n-word repeatedly that day and then said, is this america? we won't forget the picture of the insurrectionists proudly waving a confederate flag in the capitol rotunda. or the images of a rioter in a
camp auschwitz hoodie. but this rising problem is not just limited to the events on january 6. according to an fbi report, hate crimes in the u.s. rose to the highest level in more than a decade in 2019. putting all the dates and the memos aside, there was widespread knowledge of the importance of the date, of the rise of violent extremism, and as the president of the united states had called out his followers to go to the capitol 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. in the end, it was left to front-line officers who were severely outnumbered to protect not only those of us in the capitol, 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. sen. portman: thank you senator klobuchar, senator peters, 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 our 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 begin by expressing my gratitude to law enforcement. and the national guard that is represented here today. from all over the country there are national guard here at the capital still, and we appreciate them and 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 those law enforcement personnel and those national guard and to all americans to take a hard look at these 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 last week at our first hearing last week. i agree with what senator klobuchar just said, that it was a constructive first hearing. i thought it was productive and we were able to get some good information. we heard from the acting chief of d.c. metro police, 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 who were actually in place at the time making decisions. hopefully we will have a chance to do that in the future. at last week's hearing we
learned a number of things. 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 of course 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, for national guard assistance in particular. each testified under oath to a different version of events. so we will get to the bottom of that. the witnesses also pointed to lapses in intelligence as a key reason law enforcement was not better prepared. they all claimed no intelligence warned of a coordinated violent assault on the capitol. but we know that there were reports out there, both publicly and from the fbi. there was at least one report from the fbi warning of an
attack on the capitol. it was received by u.s. capitol police but it never reached the former chief or sergeant at arms or the incident commanders on the ground. many questions remain unanswered. despite the lack of intelligence, there were warning signs. there were numerous online posts called for attacking the capitol, and the previously mentioned fbi report warned of violence and even war. we need to know what information the intelligence community reviewed prior to january 6, and how it characterized the potential for violence when it shared that intelligence with law enforcement. second, although there was disagreement about when the capitol police requested national guard assistance, all agreed that once requested, it took far too long for the national to arrive. we will dig further into this today. based on the defense department public timeline, 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. and it's a riot. and yet, it took more than three hours. the request came in from the capitol hill police chief sund 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 all of them were after 5:00 p.m. and closer to 5:30. so why did that happen? it is unclear when senior national guard officials authorized the national guard to deploy. the defense department public timeline says that they directed the d.c. national guard to mobilize 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 did not arrive until 5:08 p.m. we need to 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 d.c. police and major general walker, the major delay was due in part to quote, optics of the national guard at the capitol. we need to know what role if any optics played in the delay to provide much-needed assistance to u.s. capitol police to protect the capitol and get people out of the capitol. by hearing from representatives 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 critical to our understanding where the breakdowns occurred on and before january 6. and only by understanding whether breakdowns occurred can we make the changes necessary to ensure 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 focus on the facts and be objective.
we have to continue to do that. i look forward to another instructive hearing today. thanks to our witnesses for being here. i look forward to your testimony. chair peters: the chair recognizes ranking member blunt for your opening comments. sen. blunt: thank you chairman peters and thank you chairwoman klobuchar. i share with senator portman with 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 do in an institution like the united states senate. i am glad to join my colleagues for today's hearing 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 some of the basics of the timeline. i believe we learned at that hearing 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, just simply delayed the response and proved to be ill-suited for an emergency on the sixth. today, i hope to learn if the failure of capitol security leaders were compounded by officials at the department of defense who did not act quickly enough to take the situation seriously enough. i also hope to explore if the failure to alert the leadership of the u.s. capitol police or the metropolitan police department of the fbi's norfolk
situation information report which warned of war at the capitol. i understand that that information was raw and unverified. but 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 exist to uphold the rights of americans, and to protect our form of government. january 6 revealed weaknesses in our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, and elements of defense agencies. it would be a mistake for the leadership of those agencies to 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,
thanks for holding this hearing, chairman peters. chair peters: it is now my privilege to introduce each of the witnesses that we will be hearing from here today. and again, thank you for your willingness to be with us. our for and witnessed -- are f -- our first witness today is ms. melissa smislova. she is the acting undersecretary for the office of intelligence and analysis at the u.s. department of homeland security. ms. smislova is the principal advisor to the secretary of homeland security and the deputy secretary of homeland security. for coordinating to respond to terrorism and other threats the nation faces. she assumed this role on january 20, 2021. prior to that date and on january 6, ms. smislova was the deputy undersecretary. prior to joining dhs, she spent
almost 20 years in the field of intelligence analysis which included time at the defense intelligence agency. welcome. our next witness is ms. jill sanborn. since january 2020, ms. sanborn has 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. ms. 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 was detailed to the cia's counterterrorism center, and worked in both the washington and los angeles field offices. welcome. our third witness is mr. robert salesses. ms. salesses is currently
performing -- which he began on january 20 of 2021. prior to this and on january 6, 2021, he was the deputy assistant secretary for homeland defense integration and defense support of civil authorities. in this role, mr. salesses 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. mr. salesses was appointed to the senior executive service in 2005. he was awarded the presidential rank award at the rank of meritorious executive for his decisive leadership and program management skills, and his contributions to the national response plan and the national strategy for homeland security. welcome. our final witness today is major general william walker,
the 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, trained, equipped, and ready for war and any national emergency. for 30 years, general walker served as a member of the u.s. drug enforcement administration. welcome, general. chairwoman klobuchar, those are our witnesses for today. chair klobuchar: thank you, chairman peters. if the witnesses could now stand and raise your right hand. do you swear that the testimony that 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.
i will turn it back over to chairman peters. chair peters: i think we will now begin with the questioning. what is that? chair klobuchar: your statement. chair peters: yes, i'm sorry. mr. salesses, i think you are first for your opening statement. mr. salesses: thank you. chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today on the department of defense's role in securing the u.s. capitol on january 6, 2021. one of the dod's missions is to
support civil authority, including civil law enforcement organizations. dod frequently provides support during 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 authority, 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 protective service, and other civilian law 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 dod or d.c. national guard support related to the planned protests. on december 31, the commanding general 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 january 3, my staff contacted the 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 or d.c. national guard 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., stating, mpd is prepared and coordinated with its federal partners, namely the park police, the capitol police, and the 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 defense.gov. i will provide a summary of those key events. after the u.s. capitol police ordered the evacuation of the capitol complex, the secretary of the army and the commanding general of 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 approximately 2:30 p.m., the secretary of the army met with the acting secretary of defense and other senior leaders of the defense department. 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 the u.s.
capitol police, and ordered the full mobilization of the d.c. national guard at 3:04 p.m. during this period, 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 capitol complex. after reviewing the d.c. national guard's 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 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 had arrived at the capitol. by 9:00 on january 8, 1800 national guard personnel had arrived at the capitol. and by january 10, 6000 national guard personnel were at the capitol providing security. dod continues to support efforts 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 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 that
we learn from this event and take all necessary actions to respond and ensure that an attack on our nation's capitol never happens again. chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking members portman and blunt, distinguished 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. chair peters: ms. smislova, you are now recognized for your opening statement. ms. smislova: thank you, senator. good morning chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking member portman, ranking member blunt. thank you for the opportunity to testify with 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 capitol was attacked. i am here today as the acting undersecretary for the office of intelligence and analysis, ina, 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 information they need. before i summarize the actions my office took before january 6, i do want to say i am 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 the potential for election-related violence from domestic, violent extremists. in 15 unclassified assessments, ina discussed the heightened threat environment and the potential for domestic violence t 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 enforcement partners, critical infrastructure, including through fusion centers nationwide. i will highlight a few products and engagements. in august, ina published an
assessment on physical threats stemming from the 2020 election in which we assessed that 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 grievances. in october, dhs released its first publicly available homeland threat assessment, which stated racially and ethnically motivated violence extremists, specifically white supremacists, would remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland. the assessment also emphasized the breadth of the domestic violent extremist threat, including the heightened threats from election-related violence. a week before the attack, on december 30, ina co-authored an intelligence product with the
fbi and the national counterterrorism 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 leading up to january 6, to share that information. moving 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, 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 these steps since january 6. in late january, dhs issued our first national terrorism advisory system bulletin on domestic terrorism. it warned domestic violent extremists may be emboldened to act in the wake of the u.s. capitol breach. domestic violent extremists, which span a diverse set of ideological actors, including racially and ethnically motivated extremists, will 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 domestic -- designated domestic extremism as a priority
area within the department's homeland security grant. let me close by saying, my colleagues in ina and across 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. >> thank you. ms. 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. my name is jill sanborn, and i am the assistant director for the counterterrorism division within the fbi. it is always an honor to be with you in the senate. for those of you that i have not met, or you don't know, i actually started my career in public service as a senate page in 1987, thanks to a sponsorship
from my home senator, senator max baucus. i want to start by offering my condolences to all of you who had to endure up close and personally the violence and destruction that occurred on the january 6. the siege on the 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 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 he 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. the greatest threat we face is a threat posed by lone actors, both domestic violent extremists and what we refer to as the homegrown violent extremists. these actors are especially challenging for law enforcement, because by definition, their insular nature makes them
difficult to identify before they act. the fbi has been investigating domestic terrorism throughout our nation's history. 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. and 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 perpetrated by an anarchist in portland. and in fact, this was the first fatal anarchist violent extremists act 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 violent 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 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. and they represent american lives saved in communities around the united states. for instance, in fiscal year 2020 alone, agents across the united states 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 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 involved in the events on 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 and businesses, or target law enforcement officers, the fbi investigates those unlawful 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 our partners are doing every day to keep the country safe. we are grateful for the support that 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. chair peters: thank you. general walker, you are now recognized for your opening statement. maj. gen. walker: good morning, chairman peters, chairwoman klobuchar, ranking members portman and blunt, and members of the committees. i am major general william walker, the commanding general for the district of columbia national guard, affectionately known as capitol guardians. 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 and destruction i witnessed that fateful day, and the physical and mental harm that came to u.s. capitol police officers and metropolitan police department officers, some of whom i met with later that evening, and i could see the injuries that 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 in 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 how a request for support of other civilian 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, dr. christopher rodriguez. the request sought national guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in the district from january 5 through january 6, 2021. after conducting mission analysis to support the district's request, i sent a letter to ryan mccarthy requesting his approval. i received that approval in a letter dated january 5, granting 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 park police, the united states secret service, and other federal and district law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests, and other large-scale first amendment activity 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 the quick reaction force. additionally, the secretary of the army's memorandum to me required that a concept of 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 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 capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. chief sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency at the capital, and he requested the immediate assistance of as many available national guardsmen that i could muster. immediately after that 1:49 call, i alerted the u.s. army senior leadership of the request. the approval for chief sudn's 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 on buses at the armory ready to move to the capitol. consequently at 5:20 p.m., less than 20 minutes, the district of columbia national guard arrived at the capitol and were being sworn in by the united states capitol police. we helped to establish the security perimeter at the east side of the capitol 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 capitol response and helped 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 guard, who augmented d.c. national guard forces in establishing the security perimeter. i'm honored to lead these citizen soldiers and airmen. these are your constituents, many of whom left behind their families, careers, their
education, their businesses, to help ensure the health and safety of the united states capitol and those who serve in it every day. thank you for the opportunity to brief you today. and thank you for your support of the national guard. i look forward to any questions you may have. thank you, again. chair peters: thank, general walker. thank you for your testimony. 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 capitol as well as our country. so, thank you, again. general walker, i want to start my questioning by going back in time a little bit prior to the events on january 6. so my question is, in june of 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?
maj. 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 when we were not together. chair peters: so you were immediately able to receive approval in june of 2020? i want to be clear. were you able to immediately receive approval from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense to deploy the national guard on january 6? maj. gen. walker: no, sir. chair peters: in your opening remarks, you said that a january 5 memo was unusual. could you explain to the committee why it was unusual, and what was the impact of the memo that you received on january 5? maj. gen. walker: the memo was unusual in 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. so 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. chair peters: that kind of protection, even though you would be engaged in force protection, but to protect your men and women, before you can do that, you would have to get approval from the secretary of defense? maj. 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 ammunition, 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. and we no longer have bayonets. but we do have ballistic protection equipment, helmets, body armor. so, i did have that with each guardsmen. chair peters: thank you, general. but that was unusual, as you mentioned, to have that kind of request. you are on the january 6 phone call at 2:30, where we heard from our previous hearing that the chief of capitol police was making an urgent appeal for help, and that 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 the assessment of the two individuals i mentioned, was that your assessment as well? maj. gen. walker: yes, sir. that call came in and we helped facilitate the deputy mayor of the district of columbia, and dr. rodriguez. chief passionately pleaded for the district of columbia national guard to get to the capital. -- capitol. the army senior leaders did not think it will -- look good. they stated it could insight the crowd. their best military advice would be the secretary of the army, who could not get on the call, so we wanted him to join the
call but he was not available. we were told he was with the secretary of defense. the army senior leadership expressed to chief konte and dr. mitchell, the deputy mayor, and others on the call that it would not be the best military advice to have uniformed guardsmen on the. -- capitol. during the call, you're saying optics was raised on that call. specifically. i want to go back to the question i started. you said you were able to get immediate authorization in the summer of 2020 during those protests. general walker, was the issue of optics ever brought up by army leadership when the d.c. national guard was deployed during the summer of 2020? was that discussed? ms. smislova: it was never discussed. maj. gen. walker: it was noon --
it was never discussed the week of june and july 4 or august 28 when we supported the city. i thought that was unusual. >> let's put it in context. you mentioned the national guard troops that were ready to go. you have them back at the armory. how many folks were in the armory, ready to go, once the order was given and at what time were they ready? maj. gen. walker: i had them ready to goat shortly after the phone call. i brought -- at 1500, i directed the quick reaction force based at andrews air force base lead the base -- leave the base, get to the armory, and have police bring them to the armory. they returned to the armory in 20 minutes. we had them sitting there waiting and in anticipation of a green light, a go, we put guardsmen on buses and brought them inside the armory so nobody
could see them putting on the equipment. getting on the buses. we waited to get the approval and that is why we were able to get to the in 18 minutes. >> what time were they ready to go? maj. gen. walker: before 5:00. at 5:00, i decided there has got to be an approval coming. get to the buses and get the equipment on and wait. a few minutes after that, we get the approval. i was on a secure videoconference in the leadership conveyed to me that the secretary had authorized the employment of the national guard at the capital. my timeline had 17:08, 508 -- 5:08 p.m. is where we had approval. that was eight people in the office with me. >> how many were ready? maj. gen. walker: 155.
>> you could have sent 155 much earlier. what was the impact of saying them around the 2:00 timeframe? maj. gen. walker: based on my experience with the summer and i have 39 years in the national guard. i was in the florida eight guard for hurricane andrew. i believe that number could have been a difference. we could have extended the perimeter and pushed back the crowd. >> ms. sanborn, last week we heard from former law enforcement officials who stated a lack of intelligence reporting was the main reason for capitol co. police not being fully prepared for the attack. my question to you -- would you agree the intelligence community fared -- failed to identify the threat and warned the capitol police of a plot to breach the capital that was planned in public and announced in advance
in a number of open sources? ms. sanborn: i will start. i wouldn't categorize it that way. i will tell you you have heard of site there is not an agent that wouldn't want more tools in their toolbox or an analyst who would want more intelligence and i would paint a quick picture for you. the challenges we face where the rhetoric out there and what we are trying to separate is aspirational from intent and complying --combining to get that intent, we are thinking about private communications and encryption. we are faced with the challenge of the amount of data and trying to find -- because of the volume and private communications -- that would have given the intelligence picture to shed light on indicators and warnings as our military might say. >> quickly, -- ms. smislova: i will defer to
you, senator, and your colleagues on oversight such as this one to determine what went wrong on january 6. i don't feel i am empowered or have enough information to declare whether this is an intelligence failure. i do know, however, 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 bureau's point, we have done more to understand how we can identify the next steps we see in social media. sen. peters: we have to do a better job and i'm sure that will be explored in depth and questioning from colleagues. sen. klobuchar: i want to ask you the same questions i asked our witnesses last week. that is based on what you know now, including the recent
justice department indictments, do you agree there is clear evidence that supports the inclusion -- conclusion that there was those who planned and coordinated the attack on the capitol on january 6? does everybody agree with that? yes? no? ms. smislova: we are seeing indications from our documents of people that coalesced together before and made plans. sen. klobuchar: everyone is a yes? does somebody want to say if they are a no? are you all a yes? ok. ok. then, would you agree that it involves white supremacist and extremist groups in planning? is everybody a yes on that? ms. smislova: we are seeing a wide range of involvement. and still a lot left to be identified. it involves white supremacist. some. sen. klobuchar: was the event
not planned by antifa? ms. smislova: at this point we have not identified an individual we have charged self identifying with antifa. sen. klobuchar: would you agree it has the potential to be worse if it were not for the actions of the front-line officers and it was dangerous? >> yes. sen. klobuchar: general walker, i will start with you. i will after what i just heard. chief konte was stunned at the response from the department of the army when former police chief's son requested assistance from the guard. what is your reaction? were you frustrated as well? mr. salesses: yes i was. -- ms. sanborn: yes i was. -- maj. gen. walker: yes i was. i was just as stunned as everyone else. sen. klobuchar: i understand it
is much better to prepare the national guard and call them into action and have a plan, which i know i have heard from mr. salesses that people tried to do this and called the key -- cheap -- chief and there was a discussion between you and the police chief leading up to january 6 in which this was discussed and you did not get clear direction to mobilize. is that correct? maj. gen. walker: yes. i talked to him on sunday and saturday. we talked. we are friends. i have known him a while. on sunday, i asked him, are you going to request the national guard? i need it in writing. it has to be formal. the secretary of defense it. he told me he was not allowed to request the support and i asked him if he wanted me to share that and he said no. i can't even ask for the support is what he told me. but he did say if i do call you,
will you be able to support me? i said, yes, but i have to bit -- get approval from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense. sen. klobuchar: he had been denied by the sergeant at arms and that is a subject for last week. the subject for today is given all that -- and we know we would have been in much better shape if they had been called in ahead and if he had authority -- but now we are into the day and it is june 22 and you are on the phone with them and asking for this authorization, which you felt was unusual to get. is that right? maj. gen. walker: i thought the delay was unusual. we were in support of the metropolitan police department. when the metro top -- metropolitan police department left the traffic control points, what i wanted to do was take those guards and move them to the capital immediately.
and my logic was we were still in direct support. we would have been in support of the police department who was supporting the capitol police at that point. sen. klobuchar: the whole world is seeing this on tv. you have the police line breached. you have smashed windows, insurrectionists going through the police lines. you are on the phone. everyone is seeing this on tv and they are not immediately approving your request and in your recent testimony, you just said hey, i could have gotten them on the phone and ready to go. is that correct? maj. gen. walker: that is correct. >> -- sen. klobuchar: you believe that would've made a difference to have them at the perimeter and i note the people in charge of capitol security thought the same. maj. gen. walker: yes. sen. klobuchar: you could have
had them hours earlier if it had been approved and then you had them on the box -- bus and they worth it -- sitting there waiting for a short. of time because they thought they have to honor the request. is that how your head was working? you put them on the bus and ready to go but you could not them go? maj. gen. walker: yes, senator. i came to the conclusion that eventually, i'm going to get approval and at that point, sec. mattered. minutes mattered. i needed to be ready to get them there as quick as possible so i already had district of columbia national guard, nila terry police vehicles in front of the bus to help get through traffic lights. we were there in 18 minutes. i arrived at 17:20. they were sworn in as soon as they got there and it made a difference. sen. klobuchar: according to a
lot of us. i keep thinking of the hours that went by and the people in jured and the officers whose lives were changed forever. a lot has been reported about the quick response force waiting at andrews air force base just in case. that force was spent -- set up to control the traffic control mission. the quick response force could be deployed to the capital immediately once the violence began because they were not outfitted for right control. is that right? maj. gen. walker: no. they were outfitted. the quick reaction force was district of columbia, air national guard, security forces squadron. most of those guardsmen, our law enforcement officers and are civilian positions. they were ready to go and outfitted with the equipment they needed. sen. klobuchar: and they were
that -- get andrews. -- at andrews. maj. gen. walker: i moved them to the armory to be closer. sen. klobuchar: who was on that conversation with you? you mentioned from the defense department. i know who was on their from the police and d.c. maj. gen. walker: lieutenant general michael flynn was in charge of operations for the army. the director of the army staff was on the call. lieutenant general piatt. there were other senior civilian leaders from the united states army and other high-ranking general officers were on the call as well. sen. klobuchar: dear member who was talking about the optics? the questions senator peters asked you? maj. gen. walker: during the phone call with the district of columbia leaders, the deputy mayor, the chief, dr. rodriguez, talking about optics, or general
flynn and general piatt. they both said it wouldn't be in their best military advice to advise the secretary of the army to have uniformed guards members at the capital during the election confirmation. sen. klobuchar: thank you. mr. salesses, could you explain why they would say such a thing? i know you were not on the call and you were the one they sent here 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 didn't occur in other incidences? mr. salesses: as you point out, i was not on any other cause. sen. klobuchar: that's why i talk to somebody who was. mr. salesses: preparation for the hearing -- i have had the opportunity to talk to the general and general piatt and
others. i have talked to secretary mccarthy in preparation for the hearing. to understand the details. sen. klobuchar: if you could answer my questions, my colleagues are waiting period -- waiting. mr. salesses: he said he didn't say anything about optics, general piatt did. sen. klobuchar: he didn't use the word optics or general walker, who just testified they were concerned about this, is wrong? mr. salesses: general piatt toby yesterday, senator, he did not use the word optics. sen. klobuchar: i will let the general answer this but i think he is talking about the concern that they were more concerned about how this would appear and it was in the best advice and what bears about his testimony is they did not send the national guard there for hours.
they did not give the authorization for him and he waited with his troops to go to the capital. mr. salesses: in fairness to the committee, general piatt is not a decision-maker. the only decision-makers on the sixth of january with the secretary of defense and the secretary of the army, brian mccarthy, chain of command in the second -- secretary of defense. that was the chain of command. having discussions but to be clear on that day, that was the chain of command. sen. klobuchar: i think we should give general mark -- walker a moment to respond and then i will be done. maj. gen. walker: the chain of command is the president, secretary of defense of the army, district of columbia national guard. can i make a correction? i said lieutenant general mike flynn. it was lieutenant general charles flynn. i wanted to correct that.
there were people in the room with me on that call that heard what they heard. sen. klobuchar: we will have to follow up with more questions. i appreciate your testimony. thank you. >> ranking member portman, your recognize for your question. sen. portman: thank you and thanks to our witnesses. can you continue to talk about your recollection, if you don't mind -- this morning, you testified you received this letter from former secretary mccarthy on january 5, the day before the attack on the capital. in that letter, did secretary mccarthy prohibit you from employing the national guard without his authorization? maj. gen. walker: i have the letter in front of me. his letter does not but it is the secretary of defense says i have to use it as a last resort. the secretary of the army told me --i have a letter.
i could not use the quick reaction force. he would i will just read it. --i will hold authority to -- approve employment of the quick reaction force and will do so only as a -- last resort in response to a request from an important civil -- appropriate several authority. -- civil authority. quick reaction force normally is the commander's tool to go help either a civilian agency or more typically, to help the national guardsmen who are out there and need assistance. mr. salesses: i think it is the definition to react quickly. sen. portman: you have to go through that authorization including coming up with a concept of operation before the secretary or as you say the
secretary of defense. the secretary of the army or defense would approve employment seems contrary to the concept of a quick reaction force. just to be clear, the secretary of defense said i could use it as a last resort. the secretary of the army says i could only use it after he gave me permission and only then, after a concept of operation -- sen. portman: your chain of command is both of these gentlemen. you did not have the authority to deploy that quick reaction force based on the letter or the memo from the secretary of defense to the secretary of the army. is that correct? maj. gen. walker: yes, sir. sen. portman: i thought it was odd and you said it was unusual and prescriptive 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? maj. gen. walker: 19 years, i never had that before happen. on that day, the metropolitan police, as they would any other day, requested a traffic control point move one block. one block over. no traffic was where they were so they wanted the traffic control point to move a block. i had to get permission. i told him i will get back to you. i contacted lieutenant general piatt who contacted the secretary of the army. i had to explain where that traffic control point was in relationship to the capitol. only then did i get permission to move the three national guardsmen supporting the metropolitan -- sen. portman: these are three unarmed guardsmen. they were not permitted to move.
without getting permission from the secretary of the army. is that true? maj. gen. walker: yes. sen. portman: you also talk about riot gear in your testimony. the january 4 memorandum from acrid -- acting secretary miller to the army secretary required the personal approval of the secretary of defense to be issued riot gear. is that correct? maj. gen. walker: yes but the secretary of the army told me to put them in the vehicles and go ahead. i give him credit for that. sen. portman: you said that earlier. you give him credit so that it was accessible. still, you couldn't prepare for a civil disturbance. without getting permission from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense that true? maj. gen. walker: for a safety in force protection matter, a commander would be able to authorize his guardsmen to protect themselves with helmets and protective equipment.
sen. portman: i'm disappointed we don't have somebody from dod who was there at the time. i have to ask you, why did the department of defense imposed these restrictions on january 6? mr. salesses: 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 was a number of things that happened during those events that secretary miller, as the acting secretary -- sen. portman: clearly he wanted to. the question is why and how unusual? to think that is unusual? mr. salesses: there were a lot of things that happened in the spring. if i could, senator, civil
disturbance operations, that authority rests with the secretary of defense. if somebody was going to make a decision about employing military members, against u.s. citizens in a civil disturbance operation -- sen. portman: you have a lot of experience. you weren't making decisions that day. based on your discussions with individuals,, isn't the purpose of a reaction force to react to unfolding situations? >> it is. >> is in it requiring a submitted -- mr. salesses: i would call our attention to the force that day designed to respond to the current -- traffic control forts in the metro station. we did not have a creek -- quick reaction force to respond to the events that unfolded on the capital.
sen. portman: good police officers who were guardsmen involved in the quick reaction force. wouldn't it have been appropriate to respond to the attack on the capital? i wish we had the people who witnessed -- made the decision and i don't want to put you in this position but you are all we got. in your opinion, did the attack on the capital -- capitol constitute a last resort? mr. salesses: the last resort in an immediate response? sen. portman: in the letter it said only as a last resort. do you think a last resort situation occurred during the attack on the capitol? mr. salesses: there was a last resort situation that occurred. sen. portman: why did it take dod so long to authorize the national guard, the use of the
qfr? mr. salesses: i can relate what i have obtained from my discussions with the personnel involved that day. if you would like, i could ask the question based on why the decision-makers in this case secretary mccarthy, scretary mccarthy, if we go through the timeline, at 2:22, it is mentioned today, secretary mccarthy, at 2:30, as i pointed out, went down and saw secretary miller at 230 test 2:30. at three: 04, secretary miller made the decision to mobilize the national guard. that meant he was calling in all 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, between 3:04 and four: tenant,
secretary mccarthy had asked for -- he wanted to understand, because of the dyn o pitol lawn with the explosives that shots have been fir.avbeen. he wanted to understand the employment of how the national guard was going to be sent to the capital. what their missions were going to be. would they be clearing buildings or doing perimeter security? how would they be equipped? how are they going to be armed? shots have been fired. he was asking a lot of questions to understand exactly how they were going to be employed at the capitol and how many national guard members needed to be employed on the capitol. sen. portman: three hours in 19 minutes. three hours in 19 minutes from the first call, really, with his voice cracking with emotion as a major general said, have the chief of police saying help. we need help, now. three hours in 19 minutes.
that cannot happen again. do you agree with that? mr. salesses: i do. sen. portman: thank you. chairman: ranking member blunt. sen. blunt: if the restrictions on your authorities had not been put in place by dod, what would you have done when chief -- the chief called you at 1:49 on january 6 with an irvington request for national guard assistance? maj. gen. walker: i would have pulled all the guardsmen supporting the metropolitan police department and had them here in the vehicles. i would have had them assemble in the armory. and then get on buses and go straight to the armory and report to the most ranking capitol police officer they saw and take direction. let me add this. one of my new lt. col.'s on his own initiative went to the
capital, anticipating we would be called. he would have been there and he met with deputy chief carroll of the metropolitan police department who asked him where is the national guard? how come they are not here? he said i am sure they are coming and i am here to scout off where they will be when they are here. that is the plan. i would have sent them there immediately. as soon as i hung up, my next call would have been to my supporting nick commanders in -- subordinate commanders in every single guardsmen in this building and everybody helping the police. get them to the capitol without delay. sen. blunt: i think you said a minute ago the guard had moved from andrews to the armory here by 3:30. is that right? maj. gen. walker: yes. sen. blunt: how quickly was the colonel here? he came with the police. he was here immediately. maj. gen. walker: yes.
he was here immediately. when the police left the traffic control points, i colonel left with them and came straight to the capital. anticipating that that is where the fire was in the fire needed to be put out. sen. blunt: there was concern here immediately. yesterday, i saw a message i sent mr. elder, the director of the rules committee for me when i was chairman at the time, and 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 where senator klobuchar and i and other senators were. could it possibly be true the defense department was not sending the guard immediately? mr. salesses, on the january 5 letter, that is described as
secretary mccarthy relating prescriptions from the acting secretary of the defense, christopher miller. without be accurate? would those be new instructions and do you a great general walker had more flexibility before those instructions then he did after? i think that is a yes or no. do you agree he had more flexibility before those instructions then he did after? that would be one question. and to -- two, or those new instructions or not? mr. salesses: senator, general walker can't respond to a civil defense -- disturbance operation without the authority of the secretary of defense. absent these memos, general walker would have had to get approval to respond to the capital through the secretary of defense. sen. blunt: let's talk about
that approval process. i think you said to senator portman if you would like to go through the timeline, i assume you're talking about the department of defense timeline that i have in front of me. you mentioned 1504 -- 15:04 as a reference point. at 15:19 or 3:19, that timeline says the secretary of the army phone call with senator schumer and speaker pelosi about the nature of the mayor's request. secretary of the army explains acting secretary of defense already approved full dcng mobilization. without be right as of 3:19? mr. salesses: that would be accurate. if i could clarify. sen. blunt: at 15: 26, phone
call with mayor -- the mayor and the metropolitan police chief relays there is no denial of their request and convenes -- conveys the acrid -- the activation of full national guard. on your timeline, within seven minutes, one is mobilization. the other is activation. go ahead and explain what those two things mean. the mr. salesses: those words are used interchangeably. what the secretary did at 15:04 on six january was authorize the lizaon of the national guard. the d.c. national guard. all tdo that does is provide foe national guard to be called in from wherever their homes are to come to the armory. that is what the mobilization activation order was. sen. blunt: i wonder if that is what senator schumer and speaker pelosi thought it meant.
only they could. answer that. i wonder if that is what the mayor thought it meant when they were told at 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 meant the guard was on the way, unless i was specifically told, they won't be there until we make a decision. hours later, at 4:32, the active --acting secretary of defense provides verbal authorization to remission d.c. national guard to conduct perimeter and clearance operations. that is 4:32, an hour and 10 minutes later. is that the moment the guard was told they could move forward? do you agree with that? general walker? maj. gen. walker: i didn't get
approval until a little bit after 5:00. i got that from the secretary of the army, who relayed it to me. i never talked to secretary of defense miller. i never talked to the secretary of the army. army senior leaders told me at about 17:08, five: oh 8 p.m., the secretary of defense has authorized our approval to support the capitol. sen. blunt: if i could. that is when the secretary of defense made the decision. at 4:30 to, as he pointed out, he was not told that until 5:08. how is that possible? do you think the decision and the moment we were in was made at 4:32 and the person that had to be told was not told for more than half an hour after the decision was made? mr. salesses: i think that is an issue. there were decisions being made. there was communication that
needed to take place and there was actions that had to be taken. all of that was happening at simultaneous times by different individuals and i think that is part of the challenge -- that some of the delayed communications put some of the challenges we had. sen. blunt: if you have to have the communication before the national guard can take action and the communication does not require --occur for over half an hour, that is a significant problem for the future if we do not figure out how the decision, the communication and the action all happened as nearly to the same time as they possibly can. thank you, chairwoman. chairman: senator hassan. sen. hassan: thank, chairwoman klobuchar and cheer peters and our ranking members blunt and
portman for this hearing. i want to thank our witnesses for being here and thank you all for your service to our country. i want to start with a question for ms. smislova about a topic i asked about last week. the secretary of homeland security has the authority to designate events as national special security events. these events expand and support for security. sectors used -- factors used to determine these designations include the attendance of u.s. officials and the significance of the event. in a hearing last week, the formal officials in charge of security testified the gf -- dhs did not reach out to the capital -- capitol officials as a national security event. ms. smislova, to your knowledge,
did any dhs officials consider or recommend designating the january 6 joint session of congress as a national special security event? ms. smislova: thank you, senator. no. to my knowledge, no one at the department of homeland security did consider designating january 6. to my knowledge, they were responsible for tech -- protecting the capitol. sen. hassan: when talking about an nsse, you do not need a request. dhs could have initiated it. what is the current policy and process for designating national special security events and werther procedural issues blocking such a designation in spite of the growing evidence of intelligence available to federal security officials? ms. smislova: i'm sorry.
i am running the office of intelligence and analysis for dhs. we have a small role in the process and i am not qualified to speak about the whole process. it is complicated. i am happy to have secret service reach out to you. if you would like to meet to follow up. sen. hassan: i think it is important to understand the processes. we had the vice president elect, all members of congress in 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 had security we are standing about stood up at this time. i look forward to following up. i want to turn to ms. sanborn. according to a recent report, the fbi has currently charged 200 67 people associated with the events on january 6. of the individuals charged to
date in relation to the attacks of january 6, how many were already investigation by the bureau? ms. sanborn: i can only recall for my memory one of the individuals was under investigation prior. sen. hassan: was that because the fbi is limited in its tools or capacity to monitor, chart, or arrest these individuals prior to january 6? was this a manpower issue? i'm trying to understand, looking back, what might have made a difference in being able to move against those individuals. ms. sanborn: that is a great question. it is a complexity of trying to gather the right intelligence that helps us addict indicators and warnings and i spoke earlier about while there is a volume of rhetoric trying to figure out the intent is challenging because it happens on private calms and encryptions.
one aspect -- the other aspect is of the people investigated, predicated investigations, we don't have the ability to mitigate the threat they might pose by travel if we do not have a charge. i think you are tracking that we were aware of our sub spec -- subjects. we took over captured by talking to them -- overt action by trying to make them not work in the majority of our predicated cases. sen. hassan: i have another question for you about the fbi's information sharing practices. on january 5, the fbi's field office issued a report that extremists were planning to commit acts of violence in washington. it made it to a capitol police analyst but not to the former capitol police chief. i think it is important to understand whether this was a failure of information sharing policy or practice. what is the standard policy for disseminating reports like that?
ms. sanborn: that's a great question. i would like to segue into that that part of the reason we were able to get that intelligence report is because we made it a national election priority for all field officers to collect whatever they could on the joint session as well as inauguration. when they collected that information, they followed our normal process and we heard yesterday from the director and he went above and beyond. we documented it quickly and the situational informational report and disseminated it three different ways. in writing, via email, verbally, and put it in a portal available to all partners across the united states. sen. hassan: i'm trying to understand how it did not get communicated to the highest level. who was the highest official in the fbi to be informed of the intelligence? ms. sanborn: similar to director wray, i found out days after. i think it is important to caffe
out what that was. it was brought, unvented information and only because of the collection message did it get its quickly elevated to the washington field office and disseminated to the task force officers. thousands and thousands of tips, in like this every day and not all of those get elevated to senior leadership. sen. hassan: this was tips of the violence against the u.s. capitol where we would have members of congress. the vice president and vice president elect. it is hard for me understand why somebody couldn't pick up the phone. i would like to understand whether any of the following were informed of the intelligence. the president. the chief of staff. the speaker of the house. the senate majority leader. ms. sanborn: not to my knowledge. i think you heard this yesterday and i echo it not -- 100%. anytime an attack happens, we want to figure out what happened
and what we can do better differently. sen. hassan: one of the things before a major event that one should do is figure out who the leadership is and they should be talking twice a day on the phone for the weeks leading up at least. that is standard practice in states i am familiar with and standard practice for governors. it is astounding to me that even if it is raw intelligence, the given the stakes on january 6, that kind of sharing wasn't routine and it did not happen. i hope we will look back at this and develop standard operating procedures though the leadership and security of the capitol and the leadership in security in various agencies are sharing this kind of information, person-to-person rather than relying on standard emails. ms. sanborn: that is the purpose of the command codes -- post and that point every year, let's go
back and figure out what to do differently. sen. klobuchar: thank you and for members of the committee, we are following the order set forth by the homeland security committee how they do their orders. if there is questions about that, that is how we are doing it. next is senator feinstein. sen. feinstein: thank you very much, madam chairman. i would like to ask this question. in august of 2017, dhs, office of intel, and analysis, and the fusion center issued a report days before the violent protests in charlottesville, virginia. the report warned the protests could be among the most violent to date. it warned in --and arcus, extremists, and white supremacists 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 were actively planningp to come to washington and commit violence. yet there was no similar intelligence rpeort by the department of homeland security for this occasion. my question is, why and what ha ppened to change this procedure? ms. sanborn: thank you for that question. before the election and into the inauguration, we published 15 separate unclassified reports that discussed specifically that there was a heightened threat environment. does the threat come from loan actors? we assessed those that were motivated by concerns about the
election and grievances associated largely with covid-19 restrictions would also appear to be armed. we also warmed they could transition quickly from a peacetime situation into a violent situation. i actually, in preparation for the hearing, reviewed the reports. i was impressed with how well the team did. they were very well written and specific. the point is that we thought we had provided the warning. we did not have anything specific about an attack on the capitol to occur on january 6. we did not issue a separate report. in hindsight, we should have but we had just issued a report on december 30. with our colleagues at fbi and the national counterterrorism center. we thought that was sufficient. sen. feinstein: i would like to ask that you make them available to this committee, please.
also, press reports indicate acting defense secretary christopher miller issued a memo on january 4. preventing the d.c. national guard from receiving weapons or protective gear, interacting with protesters, or employing right 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? i would like to put the letter from christopher miller, madam chairman, in the file. if i could. sen. klobuchar: yes. sen. feinstein: could someone answer that? maj. gen. walker: i'm sorry. i was waiting. i'm not of aware of another letter from the secretary but based on events in the spring,
as secretary miller being new to the department at the time and some of the things that had happened, he issued that direction. that direction, though again i come back to the point that in order for national guard members to deploy civil disturbance operations, it requires the secretary of defense's approval. to be clear, there is no ability for the military to respond without the secretaries -- secr etary's approval. sen. feinstein: i looking at a memo for secretary of the army, employment guidance for the d.c. national guard, dated jan. 4, 2021. it responds to a memo regarding the district's request for support for the planned
desmonstrations from jan. 5-6, 2021. you are authorized to approve the support, subject to consultation. it points out a number of things not authorized. this letter of jan. 4, i would like to be in the record, because somewhere, there is a problem here and i have listened carefully trying to find out what it is but there were reports not issued and of an intelligence nature and i am curious about finding which ones did what. if you have any response to that, other reports, and could let this committee know, it would be appreciated.
ms. sanborn: i think the key here is -- and i think my dhs colleague mentioned this -- the intelligence we have articulated we knew people were coming to the d.c. area. we knew there was a possibility they would be armed and potentially have conflict amongst themselves. what we lack. i heard this last week from the folks. none of us had intelligence that suggested individuals were going to storm and breach the capital. that was the intelligence we lack. -- lacked. sen. feinstein: that remains to be seen but i appreciate the comment and i think that is what this committee has to look for. and make a determination of whether there was in fact adequate pre-question, pre-interest and there is a record and i thank you, madam chairman. sen. klobuchar: thank you.
your recognize for your questions. sen. johnson: miss louise, ms. smislova. i received sitting here in the hearing oppressed rep -- release that said we have intelligence that shows a plot to reach the capital -- capitol by militia group on thursday, march 4. is that the threat you are aware of? ms. sanborn: we issued a bulletin last night co-authored with the fbi about extremists discussing march 4 and march 6. is that what you were referring to? the joint intelligence bulletin. we released -- it was midnight. sen. johnson: the threats are ongoing. general walker, to review the
timeline, at 1:49, the chief contacted you. at 2:15, the capitol was breached. in your testimony, you said you have 340 d.c. national guard troops. is that correct? maj. gen. walker: it was after that. half were on the street helping the metropolitan police department. the other half would have come in to relieve them but we would have called them into come in. sen. johnson: you were part of the quick reaction force, correct? had this all been preapproved by the secretary of defense, and i am mindful of the considerations of having military involved in several disturbances. i think that is part of the issue. some of the blowback that occurred with the spring instances was how quickly could you have gotten how many people
to the capital? maj. gen. walker: 20 minutes. sen. johnson: how many people? maj. gen. walker: 150. sen. johnson: that is imported. we need to reconstruct what happened. we need to reconstruct it. we need to obtain eyewitness testimony from different vantage points, different perspectives, and that is why any of tried to do. -- that is what i have tried to do. how many points of confrontation occurred during the riot? were these primarily at chokepoints? doors? windows breached? inside the capital -- capitol, outside the house chamber? was this a 751 foot line capitol police and law enforcement were battling
protesters? >> we are still gathering the data. the focus we have -- the folks we have charged we have charge for breaching and getting inside. we know they got through a chokepoint. the distance of how long that was is part of what we are examining, sir. sen. johnson: we have all kinds of video and photographs. you are examining that. from the video, you have been able to arrest 300 people. 300 have been charged. 18 have been charged with conspiracy. there -- 40 have been arrested for assault of law enforcement officers. looking at those videos, and you identified the people are counted the number of people you want to identify? that will be charged with assault? >> we are still doing that. that number increases just like the arrests everyday. you have identified hundreds of people. sen. johnson: we have 300
individuals charged. 44 assault. -- 40 for assault. do you expect hundreds of people to be charged with assault? give me a sense of the extent of this. >> is a fair question. the charges range from trespassing to obstruction to assault on federal officers. we have a fair number of those. the charges based on the behavior the individuals did that date vary. sen. johnson: comedy firearms were confiscated in the capitol or on capitol grounds? >> we have not recovered any on that day for other arrests at the scene but i don't want to speak on behalf of metro capitol police. sen. johnson: nobody has been charged with a firearm? >> correct. the closest we came was a vehicle with the molotov cocktails. there was a weapon.
sen. johnson: how many shots were fired? >> the only ones were the one that resulted in the death of the one lady. sen. johnson: i appreciate the comments about a nonpartisan investigation, seeking out the truth. that is what i am trying to do. i was reacted to by offering an eyewitness account. blasting about risk. this was from the new york times. that will be viewed more favorably hopefully. a small group of militants attack. in that report, it says federal prosecutors have said members of the oath keepers militia group planned and organized their attack and put into motion the violence that overwhelmed the capitol. the reason i am entering this into the record is it really does seem in line with the eyewitness acount i read parts
of in the record last week. no conspiracy theory. i did not get to the point of the attack and i want to read excerpts. this is the title, provocateurs turn unsuspecting marches into an invading mob. these are primarily white supremacist groups. do not retreat. it forward. two other men standing across from one another, forward, do not dare retreat. some may direct eye contact as they tried to incite people to submit. a man shouting forward on a chair, grabbing me by the shoulder. he shouted, don't retreat. get back up there. it sounded like a military order and wasn't in solidarity. this guy was in his 50's. he looked furious with me. nobody seemed worried the
capitol was under attack. the teargas caused pandemonium. people help create or widen paths to help others leave the area. uniformed agile younger man -- men came within two feet of me. their camouflage uniforms were clean. i couldn't identify the pattern. these were the actors i have seen. there were a good three doesn't moving in a single formation. they were organized and disciplined and prepared. you are going to get arrested, someone called. ms. sanborn, does that tie into what you are uncovering as you investigate what happened in the capitol? you had armed militia groups that had inspired -- conspired and organized to be there. navy dozens. we don't know how many. they knew how to use the mob to storm the capitol. is that what you are seeing? ms. sanborn: we are seeing a
mixture of that. people that got caught up in the moment and got caught up in the energy. they made the right into the capitol and those are the ones you are seeing the charges for trespassing. we are seeing the portion you are pointing out, which is small groups being charged with conspiracy. they coalesced on site or prior and had an intent that day and they caught people up in the energy. sen. johnson: i would urge anybody who chris about -- criticize me for entering an eyewitness account into the record last week to read it and take a look at what the truth is. thank you. sen. klobuchar: before i call on center berkeley, i want to ask you one thing. these people assaulting the capitol in military gear, pinning an officer between a door and using bear spray on
officers in the capitol, would you title them provocateurs? ms. sanborn: it would depend on the evidence. as we are going through and figuring out what we know about each individual, it would depend on what the facts and what we chair klobuchar: do you think there were serious, violent people involved in this insurrection? >> 100%. a lot of damage was done. chair klobuchar: would you describe the atmosphere as festive? ms. sanborn: absolutely not. senator: assistant secretary sal esses, you thought the quick reaction team was only for reinforcing members of the national guard providing traffic
control -- did i hear your comments correctly? mr. salesses: yes, you did. senator: major general walker, if i heard your comments correctly, that quick reaction team was there to respond as needed, including production capital, -- including protection of the capitol, is that correct? mr. walker: no, senator. i wanted to get them to the capitol immediately as a quick reaction force. senator: so they weren't assigned to the capital -- to the capitol defense, but you would reassign them in an emergency? general walker: yes. senator: i was struck by the complexity of the chain of command to get a response, the
police board, the chief of the capitol police, the commanding general of the d.c. national guard, it goes to the secretary of the army who then consults with people within the department of army whether it is appropriate, then goes to the secretary of defense to consult christopher miller to decide whether to study that, then goes in order back to the commanding general the d.c. national guard. this six-step process seems totally unsuited to the situation of responding quickly to an emergency. maj. gen. walker: it is a
long-standing process, but it can work in minutes. for example, during the first week of june, the secretary of the army was with me. i watched him call the secretary defense and consult with the attorney general respond to me with approval within minutes. so it is an elaborate process, but doesn't always have to be win, in extremist circumstances, we can get it done over the phone quickly. senator: but it is normally an elaborate process done in advance by the information came to you january 1 at you got back a response january 5, so this was before january 6. but it had this provision, this restriction you testified to was unusual, that required re-consultation january 6 in a fashion that deeply inhibited the ability to move quickly. maj. gen. walker: that is right. senator: thank you. i wanted to turn to
undersecretary smislova. you have been with the department for how long? undersecretary smislova: 17 years. senator: and you are the undersecretary on january 6? undersecretary smislova: yes. senator merkley: officials said there was a mood within the department and i will quote one former official report, nobody wanted to write a formal intelligence report about this, in part out of fear such a report would be very poorly received by the maga folks within dhs. to follow this up, brian murphy, former head dhs, leading the secretary to him as well undersecretary smislova: yes.
senator merkley: officials ordered him to stay away from the threat of white nationalism and ken cuccinnelli asked him to modify statements to make sure they matched up with comments from president trump to downplay the threat posed by white supremacists. in your time at dhs, it is very important that intelligence is unaffected by politics. did you get a sense that there was a troubling cloud, as reported in various sources, including from the former head of dhs, that there was this troubling cloud of political influence over the quality or determination of how intelligence was presented officials sena undersecretary smislova: we did
not change our assessments based on political pressure or interference. we did publish the homeland threat assessment as a publicly available document that does estate white supremacists are the most persistent and lethal threat to the homeland. senator merkley called feel pressure or receive encouragement -- senator merkley: did you ever feel pressure or receive encouragement that you needed to be careful about clarifying the threat posed by white supremacists? undersecretary smislova: i did not receive that personally. senator merkley: did you consider the report that that type of pressure was applied to be accurate? undersecretary smislova: his is a whistleblower complaint that is being adjudicated. senator merkley: i understand. you were in the leadership. you never got a sense that there was any political influence like he reported regarding encouragement to downplay?
undersecretary smislova: i did not personally have that info pushed upon me. senator merkley: formal intelligence assessments regarding earlier events -- some suggested that there was formal assessment of intelligence regarding earlier events because of this pressure to downplay to some degree the threat posed by white supremacists? undersecretary smislova: the two instances are very different. our support during some of the civil unrest and protests in portland was at the direct request of our own dhs federal law enforcement partners. and in that capacity, we were reacting to a pattern of violence that had shown itself for several weeks. our team did an excellent job in many instances of providing information that kept those officers safe. they were reporting bricks may
be used today as a weapon, another day it might be bug spray, leaf blowers, lasers. our work, by contrast, leading up to the election in january 6, is different. it is a different environment. there is not that pattern of violence. it is a different kind of assessment. so i suggest it is impossible to compare the two. senator merkley: thank you. thank you, madam chair, mr. chair. senator: the chair recognizes senator sinema. senator sinema: thank you. last week, we heard about coordinated security planning efforts between law enforcement and federal partners for january 6, including areas where planning could be improved. the committee heard about
intelligence shared by the fbi office in norfolk virginia on january 5, warning of extremist planning to travel to provoke war. we heard from the chief of capitol police that he never saw that and heard of no intelligence suggesting a coordinated, violent attack on the u.s. capitol. they had of the washington fbi field office said publicly the bureau did not have intelligence suggesting the rally would turn violent fire to the january 5 report. however, on january 8, a podcast from "the new york times" outlined activity across social media showing coordination of groups ahead of the january 6 attack. it highlighted social media conversations about coordinating travel, using weapons, language like occupy the capital in the revolution will come to washington. miss sanborn, was the fbi aware
of these conversations on social media? ms. sanborn: to my knowledge, no ma'am. i could articulate why. under our authorities, being mindful of the first amendment and our mission to uphold the constitution, we cannot collect first amendment protected activities without the next step, which is intent. we would have to have an already predicated investigation that allowed us access to those comms, or a to from a citizen or fellow law enforcement partner to allow us to gather that information. senator: so the fbi does not monitor publicly-available social media conversations? ms. sanborn: correct. it is not within our authority. senator: did the preparations for the january 6 rally followed the typical process for sharing information among law enforcement entities when confronted by this type of event
with a potential for violence, and were additional processes implemented to consider that? this was an event with congress in session and the vice and vice president-elect gathered in one place. undersecretary smislova: a couple things we did different than normal operations was we made this a national priority for all 56 field offices to go out and ask sources, collect information on any threats posed to the national capitol, not only for january 6, but the inauguration. that led to potential collection in the norfolk field office. we also took a step that is different than our normal course of business, that both the washington field office and headquarters stood up command posts. we activated our nc3, a multiagency task force 24/7 inside the hoover building.
>> dhs had been on heightened alert before the election and after the election. we participated in the command post and the washington fusion center. in retrospect, we may have been better off if we had considered sending some kind of terrorism bulletin, but we did not for january 6. senator: the fbi field offices did have intelligence outlin ing threat to converse -- threat to congress. the conversations were happening on social media. dhs was tracking the travel of some of the suspected actors. what broke down and got in the way of law enforcement properly
planning to meet these publicly articulated planned threats? >> exactly the processes we had in place, we followed. that is the good news. any time there is an attack, we in the fbi went to about 1000 and not ever happen -- not ever have this happen again, so we ask ourselves the questions you are asking. is there a place we could have collected more? that is what we are looking back at. the information we had, worked quickly to get that out in reporting and share it in multiple ways, verbally, email, portals, etc., but 100 percent you can rest assured we are asking ourselves the same, as we want to continue to improve. undersecretary smislova: we also at dhs are completely dissatisfied with the result of our efforts leading up to january 6.
we are examining how we distribute information, coordinate with partners, we thought it was sufficient and clearly, it was not. we are working much more focused to find more resources, for better understanding of this threat. we are also looking at how we can better understand social media to get those tips and maybe get at her insight -- get better insight. this is a threat for us in the intelligence community to understand, it will require more partnership with nontraditional partners and our standard state and local partners. and you will see that we will reinforce our good partnership with the fbi. we will do better. senator: following up on that comment around local partnerships, i want to go back to miss san board.
january 5, the fbi received information armed protests were planned at capitol buildings in all 50 state capitols. can you share how that intel was acted upon and shared? ms. sanborn: i don't recall off the top of my head. i have to get back to you on the mechanism we did to share that information. senator: would it be fair to assume it was not a particularly high priority that there were armed protests planned in all 50 state capitols? ms. sanborn: now, it was a high priority. for our mission and focus, we were not on january 6 focused only on the capitol, we were focused on the country. it was a very important focus. i just can't for member the mechanism of the document that whether it was email, joint product, but we were concerned with it and i know we disseminated it. and iou that.
senator: thank you. i see my time has expired. i yield back. chair: senator padilla, you are recognized for your questions. senator padilla: thank you. first a comment, and then a question for the witnesses. i understand a lot of people are saying they would like to see a reconstruction of the events of january 6, and how they came to be. for anybody interested, i would turn their attention to the house impeachment managers' presentation to the u.s. senate february 9-13. my questions today though our in some ways a follow-up to yesterday's judiciary committee hearing, where we heard from fbi director christopher wray.
i will quote from his testimony. "we are not aware of any widespread evidence of voter fraud, much less that would have affected the outcome in the presidential election." and yet, former president trump and other people with insulins continue to spread lies and disinformation about how the november 2020 election was stolen -- insolence continued to spread lies and disinformation about how the 2020 november election was stolen. he continued to spread these lies at a political conference, we did even better in the second election than the first. i won the first and i when the second and we did much better. prior to the u.s. senate, i served six years as california secretary of state, which includes 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 that one of the biggest challenges government faces in confronting domestic terrorism is, separating the signal from the noise. this was true in the lead up to the january 6 insurrection, when people of influence, particularly former and current elected officials, continued to spread lies and disinformation about election integrity. i would imagine that creates a lot more noise, unnecessary noise, counterproductive noise, dangerous noise for you all to have to sift through. i suspect it also serves to radicalize some number of people to actually take action,
indicating violent action, just as we have seen for years with jihadist propaganda and other forms of foreign terrorism. the question for each of you -- two questions come actually. does the perpetuation of this information about the 2020 election make your job harder, and how? second, what kind of message does the january 6 insurrection send to other domestic violent extremists and our foreign adversaries as well? >> i think i would start pinpointing the specific thing that drives somebody to
mobilization. it is very difficult and probably more complex in the domestic violent extremists space than any of the terror threats we face. and what we have found in our investigations is, domestic violent extremists are not only potentially doing what they are doing in an insular manner, but it is a combination of an ideology they have read and what makes it different is a unique, personalized grievance. when those things combined, it appears to push them to mobilization. for every individual we are trying to find that, but it is incredibly hard and relies on our ability post disruption to explain our process to do that. that is something where trying very hard to get to the bottom of in each of these cases. undersecretary smislova: we did warn in our terrorism advisory system bulletin that we assess perceived grievances that are fueled by false narratives could continue to mobilize or insight people to commit violence.
so to that extent, yes, false narratives are difficult. >> the department of defense does not do intelligence on extremists. secretary austin was in the first few weeks of taking over as secretary and ordered a stand down in the defense department, a one-they stand down to educate people and make sure we are doing everything we can to route that out. senator padilla: i know these issues are complex. complex and challenging, but the answer to the first question, based on what i hear, tele if you disagree, does this make your job harder the answers so
far have been yes, yes and yes. is that correct? >> it is twofold it to a specific one challenging. so variety of inspiration combined with the amount of rhetoric out there are definitely two things that add. senator padilla: what message do you believe this is sending to other domestic violent extremists, let alone foreign adversaries? >> we do assess that the breach on the capitol could inspire others, if that is what you are asking. >> i agree. anytime an adversary is successful, others pay attention. we worry this is an inspiration. >> i agree. >> i agree as well, sir.
senator padilla: thank you. chair: for planning purposes, our witnesses have been here a long time. our plan is to give you in the near future a chance to stretch. i am going to recognize one more senator, chairwoman klobuchar will recognize one member and then we will give you a break. senator rosen. you are recognized for your questions. senator rosen: thank you. i appreciate you bringing together this hearing. we appreciate the witnesses being here. in october 2020, dhs warned "racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists, particularly white domestic
extremists, remain the most persistent and lethal threat to the homeland." and related to the postelection period. according to a former dhs assistant secretary, ina was aware of the potential for violence on january 6, but for reasons of fear did not want to formalize reports. but the day before the attack, ina sent a national summary to law enforcement partners stating there was nothing significant to report -- nothing significant to report. so dhs assessed white supremacists to be the most lethal threat to americans, and if ina was aware of domestic violent extremists mobilizing to cause violence january 6, why did not the department issue a formal intelligence warning that violence could occur?
undersecretary smislova: we have heard of that report that we supposedly sent out that says nothing significant to report. we can't locate. so i have no idea where that notion came from. senator: we will see if we can find it. undersecretary smislova: we have left, ma'am. we don't have a copy of that report. it would not be an official report ina sent out. it is possible it came from a phone call or something else and we had nothing additional to report. we did view the work we had done prior to january 6 as being sufficiently specific in warning of a possible threat. some of the reports we did distribute, you just quoted from. it was our belief that those mornings were enough.
obviously, they were not. we are working hard now to do two things, get better specificity and insight into the threat then secondly, understand better how our customers receive our products, read our products, digest our products. it is unclear to us why they were not received and why we were not better prepared. senator: did ina share intelligence with national fusion centers relating information about possible violence january 6? and with the capitol police partnering at the d.c. area fusion center? undersecretary smislova: yes, we talked with capitol police in early december to make sure they were in receipt of our products. they received the one we put out a week before the attack that we co-authored with fbi national counterterrorism center.
we know all our products do go to the national network of use and centers that we participated in a phone call sponsored by the national network of fusion centers january 5, where we reiterated concerned that we were in a heightened threat environment with this particular adversary who could mobilize quickly, mostly small cells, lone offenders who would most likely come armed and were interested in attacking government buildings and large gatherings. senator i appreciate that -- senator: i appreciate that. but it seems like we weren't ready. i know you are trying to figure out where your product goes, but how are you going to elevate the ina assessments that white supremacists are the homeland's most lethal threat with quality
and informed intelligence that actually reaches our community about a possible attack, so we can prevent any loss-of-life or other damage? undersecretary smislova: yes. the department is committed to doing that. our secretary is committed to coming up with a whole of dhs approach to combat domestic terror. we are working across the department to understand how to better articulate the threat and mitigate it. senator: thank you. the day before the insurrection, the fbi issued in an internal warning that violent extremists planned to take part in violence on january 6. the acting chief of police told me [indiscernible]
warning about potential violence at 7:00 the night before the attack. mr. conte told me i would think something as violent as the insurrection at the capitol would warrant a phone call. but yesterday, fbi director christopher wray shared information was provided to law enforcement multiple times and in multiple forms. ms. sanborn, that sounds like somebody was mistaken. can you corroborate director wray's statement, and if the warning was only sent in writing, why did not the fbi go further to alert law enforcement in a manner or consistent with the gravity of the threat? ms. sanborn: the information we received, took characterize what it was, it was off the internet on attributable to a specific person. that said, the content and
suggestion of what may happen was concerning enough that based on our prioritizing our 56 field offices, they quickly wrote that up and within the hour had that information to the washington field office. they wrote it in a document typically for dissemination to partners. they wanted to make sure we didn't just rely on the dissemination of a product, that we also followed up with email. it went out in email to task force officers on the washington task force. numerous of those from the national capitol received that email. still, they did not just want to rely on the email and the written document read in a command post re-think they were doing every couple hours, they specifically talked about this to have a common operating picture of what this information was. and still come up to go further and not rely on just that and make sure we broaden divisibility not just in the national capitol region, but
open the aperture to the whole country for state and local partners, we posted that situation information report on what we call the leap portal, which is available to all partners, to give them awareness but also the opportunity to add collection to our piece that we got from social media. senator: i will take this question off-line. there have been many threatening online posts. we need to change the definition of threat. chair klobuchar: next, senator warner. senator warner: thank you. i agree that the cross pollen is a should that takes place on social media -- cross -pollenization that
takes place on social media platforms needs to be examined. it is important. others mentioned this, but meant domestic violent extremists did not start january 6, they did not start with donald trump and they are not going to end with donald trump. in my state, we saw the right valley in charlottesville, where many of these same groups and affiliations came together in another violent effort or a protester was killed, and we lost a couple members of our state police. director wray repeatedly said in testimony before the intelligence committee that domestic violent extremists are a major national security
threat. i believe that message was downplayed during the previous administration because they did not want to hear it. i'm going to start with miss smislova, and then director sanborn, great to see you again. recognizing the constraints placed on you in terms of collections, and acknowledging this threat has been around for a long time, the fbi has acknowledged it is a severe threat, what have you both been able to do, engaging in open source intelligence and independent research communities to better identify these? there was research done by
harvard and d.l. university as well as other researchers that pointed to the map that groups are often working in conjunction and were planning this effort. how are dhs and fbi utilizing independent researchers' open-source activities and making sure we have got a better handle on the rising threat within constraints? >> thank you for the question. we met last week inside ina to discuss contracting with experts outside. we are aware we need to invest more in our understanding of domestic terror. we understand 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, invest more in-house, and are looking at how to better understand the social media world so that we can better focus on where we might actually find specific, insightful information about what the adversary is thinking. we are additionally working to partner more with state and local colleagues who have a different perspective of this threat and have more information in some cases than we do. we are also partnering more across the departments with federal partners, increasing relationships with the fbi. ms. sanborn: what we are trying to do, i will put it in three buckets. increasing private-sector outreach is 100%. i have a section inside my division that does nothing but
partner engagement. the better we educate them on the threat we face, and painting a picture of what those threats really are, they are better able to pay attention and collect and refer information to us. that is helpful. i think that is why when we talk about the fact that 50% of tips and leads in our cases come from that relationship and that education. we are also using state and local partners. we leverage fusion centers a lot, and there expertise, and the orange county fusion center in california is a great example of leading the analytics of social media and leveraging their expertise to predicate basis. their work by the predication of the base case we disrupted. and lastly, challenging ourselves for better collection inside, trying to our sources to be in the right places to collect intelligence we need. that led to the nor folk sir -- norfolk sir.
senator warner: i'm disappointed in both of your answers. we have seen since 2016's election how foreign adversaries manipulate social media. we have to get better at collecting. we saw the unite the right rally in charlottesville. we heard people say we are going to get better at collecting information, and better partnering. neither one of you referenced, there is little really -- literally a host of experts in academia and others monitoring the dbe's and their activities, and oftentimes their connections to antigovernment groups here.
we are always going to get ready, and then we see the kind of chaos that took place on january 6. we can't always keep saying we are going to do better next time when this threat has been around for years. it is not going to disappear with donald trump. he was somebody that actively encouraged these kinds of individuals. we have to pick up our game and academic researchers are tool we need to better develop. we need to work better on the intel side with foreign partners because many of these groups have connections to antigovernment extremists -- connections to foreign antigovernment extremist. -- extremists. i have had a number of conversations with fbi officials where i was constantly assured from the fbi standpoint that we got this well under control.
that was not the case. we cannot have the capitol of the united states desecrated. and for our adversaries, images of those marauders across the world is a price we are going to be paying for years to come. thank you. chair klobuchar: thank you, senator. and thank you for your work as chair of the intelligence committee. we are going to break for 5-10 minutes and will be back. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]