Security Cameras Suddenly Pan Away as Bomb Squad Responds to Jan. 6 Pipe Bomb

Security Cameras Suddenly Pan Away as Bomb Squad Responds to Jan. 6 Pipe Bomb
(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Library of Congress, Freepik)
February 14, 2024
February 28, 2024

WASHINGTON—Two key U.S. Capitol Police security cameras that were pointed at the offices of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the Jan. 6, 2021, pipe bomb incident were remotely redirected by police and didn’t record or broadcast critical portions of the police response, The Epoch Times has learned.

A review of yet-to-be-released security video footage obtained by The Epoch Times found that Capitol Police Camera 3173—located directly across the street from where the DNC bomb sat—was remotely directed away from the scene at 1:29 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, before the bomb squad arrived.

The Epoch Times discovered that Camera 8020—located high on the nearby Fairchild Building—had been zoomed in showing the bomb squad assembling along E Street Southeast, until the Capitol Police Command Center redirected the camera at 1:44 p.m., just as a bomb robot begins traveling toward the DNC.

A source familiar with the U.S. Capitol Police camera system and response procedures told The Epoch Times that the redirection of key cameras during that type of active event is “really odd.”

For the rest of the day, Camera 3173 pointed at a small park area on South Capitol Street Southeast. For the next 2 1/2 hours, Camera 8020 pointed at distant railroad tracks and a highway overpass.

The Epoch Times’ video review revealed that none of the Capitol Police security cameras that cover the DNC show the Secret Service conducting a security sweep of the property just before 11:25 a.m., in preparation for a visit by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. A dog and its handler were seen on video two hours earlier searching the same area in which the bomb was later found.

Capitol Police video also doesn’t show the discovery of the DNC pipe bomb by an undercover police officer at 1:05 p.m. that day.

When Ms. Harris’s entourage arrived at the DNC at 11:25 a.m., two agents stood in the street surveying the scene as three black SUVs pulled into the garage, video footage shows. After the motorcade is safely inside, four agents are seen on the driveway as a Secret Service SUV and a Metropolitan Police Department squad vehicle back into the driveway.

No bomb-sniffing dogs are seen on video just prior to, during, or after the arrival of Ms. Harris’s entourage, the video footage shows.

The Epoch Times viewed the security video in a U.S. House office building under media access rules first established by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and continued with modifications by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

The rules disallowed screenshots to be taken or video to be recorded. Video clips from the cameras surrounding the DNC were released to The Epoch Times by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of the Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight.

“As part of our overall investigation into the events surrounding January 6, critical questions remain unanswered on the DNC/RNC [Republican National Committee] pipe bomb investigation,” Mr. Loudermilk told The Epoch Times in a statement. “As we continue our investigation, my Oversight Subcommittee will continue working with anyone interested in uncovering the truth.

“The American people have a right to full transparency and complete accountability on this matter.”

The new pipe bomb security video is the latest development in the Jan. 6 pipe bombs investigation. A member of the House Committee on the Judiciary recently confirmed an article by Blaze Media that the DNC pipe bomb was discovered by a plainclothes Capitol Police officer and not a passerby. Investigators want to know what kind of security sweep was conducted by the Secret Service near the time of Ms. Harris’s arrival. The Epoch Times also confirmed a report by Blaze Media that Capitol Police Camera 3173 panned away from the DNC before the arrival of the bomb squad.

Another key question being asked is how the protection detail could have missed the pipe bomb in plain view at the base of a park bench just feet from the DNC building if the device was indeed present at 9:30 a.m. or 11:25 a.m.

The FBI stated that it believes that the pipe bombs at the DNC and the Capitol Hill Club near the Republican National Committee building were planted between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2021, by an individual wearing a gray hoodie and expensive sneakers.

What appears to be a bomb-sniffing dog searches the area at the Democratic National Committee offices where a pipe bomb would be found 3 1/2 hours later on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

A three-year investigation and $500,000 reward have led to no arrests.

Security video footage released on Feb. 13 by columnist Julie Kelly shows just before 9:29 a.m., what appears to be a bomb-sniffing dog at work along the DNC driveway and the building entrance a few feet from where the pipe bomb would be discovered 3 1/2 hours later.

At 9:50 a.m., the dog and its handler search a vehicle in the DNC driveway. After completing the search, the dog crosses the sidewalk just feet from where the pipe bomb would be discovered at 1:05 p.m.

The Secret Service, which hasn’t commented publicly about the DNC pipe bomb, didn’t respond to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, which has watchdog jurisdiction over the Secret Service, is expected to release its own investigation of Jan. 6 that will include the DNC pipe bomb response.

Former FBI special agent Kyle Seraphin, who worked surveillance in the Jan. 6 pipe bombs case, said his team was told by an FBI briefing agent that the bombs weren’t real.

“Looked very bomb-like,” Mr. Seraphin said on the Jan. 25 episode of his podcast. “Those are the actual words that I remember, ‘Looked very bomb-like.’”
According to the U.S. Bomb Data Center, of the 348 hoax device incidents in 2021, the most common hoax bomb was an improvised explosive device (IED) such as a pipe bomb. The IED accounted for 88 percent of the hoaxes. Of the 381 actual bombings in 2021, 126 used IEDs.

During a House hearing in April 2023, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Steven Dettelbach, wouldn’t comment when asked if the pipe bombs were operable.

“I’m not accepting that answer,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said in response.

The ATF denied a federal Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Epoch Times in 2023 for details on the bombs.

Video Shows Destruction of Bomb

While two security cameras were turned away from the DNC bomb site, two other cameras—8021 and 4205—captured much of the detection, removal, disarming, and eventual destruction of the DNC device by a bomb robot at 2:11 p.m. and 2:31 p.m.

In the video captured by those cameras, the bomb robot was on the extreme edge of the screen and was occasionally partially obscured.

Camera 8019 showed the bomb squad beginning to assemble at 1:13:44 p.m. on E Street Southeast just east of Canal Street Southeast.

At 1:35 p.m., Camera 8020 showed a Capitol Police bomb squad truck staged on E Street. A ramp extends from the rear of the truck down to the street. About a dozen police officers stand nearby.

At 1:34:32 p.m., the bomb robot—also known as a tactical unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)—rolled down the ramp to the street.

At 1:43:38 p.m., the UGV emerges from between the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) truck and a nearby police pickup truck. The rubber-track UGV turned west on E Street and started traveling northwest up Canal Street toward the DNC.

Footage from a Capitol Police security camera that was redirected from the bomb squad response to the pipe bomb at the Democratic National Committee to a static view of distant rail tracks at 1:44 p.m., in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

At 1:44:33 p.m., just as the UGV turned onto Canal Street, Camera 8020 was directed away from the bomb squad and its gaze was fixed to the south on a set of railroad tracks and part of a highway overpass. The camera stayed in that fixed position until 4:14:44 p.m., when it panned back to show the dwindling police command center along E Street west of New Jersey Avenue Southeast.

The UGV reached the DNC property at 1:49 p.m. and left the street to travel northwest on the sidewalk toward two park benches. It stopped at the benches and inched forward to examine the pipe bomb at 1:50:22 p.m., video footage shows.

After remaining stationary for several minutes, the UGV creeped closer to the pipe bomb. At 1:58:05 p.m., the UGV backed away from the bench with a silver object in its grasp. The robot spun to its left and moved toward the street. On the way, it rotated 360 degrees before continuing into the street.

By 2:00:51 p.m., the UGV with the pipe bomb had traveled south on South Capitol Street and stopped near the intersection with Canal Street. It remained in the street, just feet from the curb. Rotation and movement of the robot’s manipulator arm were visible on the CCTV feed over the following 10 minutes.

With the pipe bomb on the ground near the curb, the robot fired its disruptor—a water cannon—at 2:11:55 p.m. A small plume of dust was kicked up from the street after the disruptor shot but there was no explosion from the pipe bomb.

A disruptor is designed to disarm a pipe bomb by targeting high-velocity liquid such as water at the device to break it apart without triggering detonation, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate. Homeland Security supplied a patented disruptor called the ReVJeT to bomb squads across the United States through the FBI’s Hazardous Device School.

At 2:25:52 p.m., the UGV set the remaining section of the pipe bomb down in the street near the curb. The robot’s manipulator hands hovered over the device, retracting and extending.

At 2:31:16 p.m., the UGV fired another disruptor shot at the pipe bomb, video footage shows. A piece of debris shot approximately 10 to 12 feet in the air, clearing the top of the street signs in the direction of the DNC. A second chunk of the device flies backward into the street.

A technician wearing a protective bomb suit walked onto the scene at 2:50 p.m., kneeling to examine some of the bomb debris in the street. The tech is later seen stretched out on his stomach, searching the bushes next to the building. At 3:12 p.m., four officers arrived to comb the scene, picking up and bagging the debris as evidence.

The Epoch Times reached out to U.S. Capitol Police for comment on the two cameras that were directed away from the pipe bomb scene but did not receive a reply by press time.

Footage from a camera that was directed away from the pipe bomb scene. (U.S. Capitol Police/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

New Questions Raised

Details on the bomb squad’s handling of the device are the latest developments in the investigation of pipe bombs found at the DNC and in an alley between the Capitol Hill Club and the RNC.

Fresh questions have been raised about the DNC pipe bomb because of security video footage that shows what has been described as a lack of urgency by the Secret Service and police after the bomb was discovered near a park bench at 1:05 p.m.

The video footage shows that it took Secret Service agents nearly 2 1/2 minutes to emerge from their vehicles to investigate after they were tipped off about the bomb by a plainclothes Capitol Police officer.

“First of all the lackadaisical response to the notification that there’s a bomb nearby,” Mr. Massie said on Jan. 30, describing the significance of the security video that his office released.

“They mill about, they finish their lunch in their cars after the guy with the backpack comes up and says, ‘Hey, there’s a bomb over here.’”

The first mention of the DNC pipe bomb on Capitol Police radio occurred at 1:07 p.m., according to audio obtained exclusively by The Epoch Times.

“987-Adam, I’m going to declare a 10-100 at the DNC as well,” an officer broadcast on the OPS2 radio channel.

“Similar device as was found at the RNC as well. Advising the units on scene what’s going on.”


It took some 11 minutes after the report of the bomb for the Secret Service to evacuate Ms. Harris from the DNC.

According to CCTV footage reviewed by The Epoch Times, Ms. Harris’s entourage pulled away from the front of the building at 1:16:16 p.m.

The vehicles in Ms. Harris’s protection detail emerged from a garage door located mere feet from the pipe bomb at 1:13:40 p.m. before heading to the building’s front entrance.

A man identified by Mr. Massie as a plainclothes Capitol Police officer is seen on security video approaching two sport utility vehicles parked in the DNC driveway at the intersection of Canal Street Southeast and South Capitol Street Southeast. The SUVs were part of Ms. Harris’s protection detail.

A police officer waves to Secret Service agents after he snapped a photo of a pipe bomb found under a bench next to the Democratic National Committee on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

According to guidelines developed by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security, the minimum evacuation perimeter for a pipe bomb is 70 feet, while the preferred evacuation zone is at least 1,200 feet.

In the nearly seven minutes after the undercover officer approached the Secret Service detail to report the bomb, the streets weren’t closed, the sidewalks weren’t cordoned off, and pedestrians were allowed to walk right past the bomb for five minutes, security video footage shows.

An official familiar with Washington police operations said the Secret Service response at the DNC is puzzling.

“The whole reaction to the pipe bomb, I’m just baffled by it,” the source told The Epoch Times.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Agents walked back and forth on the driveway and sidewalk near the bomb, and one officer walked close enough to snap a photo of the device with his cell phone before waving at the other officers. Two agents stand outside of the building’s rear entrance, a few feet from the bomb.

Just before 1:10 p.m., a group of teenagers or young adults crossed the street and traversed the DNC sidewalk, feet from the bomb, video footage shows.

Just before 1:13 p.m., a blue passenger vehicle drove down Ivy Street Southeast, turned onto Canal, and sat at the stoplight adjacent to the DNC. Someone approached the driver and gestured before the vehicle drove off toward Washington Avenue Southwest.

Four trains coming from and going to Union Station travel over the railroad trestle right next to the DNC between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the video footage shows.

At 11:22 a.m., an Amtrak train traveling east toward Union Station rolled over the trestle. At 1 p.m., a Virginia Railway train with six passenger cars crossed the trestle. At 1:20 p.m., a regional commuter train traveling west with 13 passenger cars ambled past. An Amtrak train traveling east pulling seven passenger cars passed the DNC at 1:22 p.m.

Capitol Police Discovery

Mr. Massie said Capitol Police confirmed to him on Jan. 30 that the DNC pipe bomb was discovered by a Capitol Police officer.
“They say it was a Capitol Police officer who found this bomb, and he told them it was a bomb,” Mr. Massie said on the podcast “Firebrand With Matt Gaetz.”
Pedestrians walk past the benches at the Democratic National Committee where a pipe bomb was discovered five minutes earlier on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/FBI)
Pedestrians walk past the benches at the Democratic National Committee where a pipe bomb was discovered five minutes earlier on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Capitol Police/FBI)

“He radioed it in and said, ‘We’ve got the device, we found another device.’”

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified in February 2021 that after the pipe bomb was found at the Capitol Hill Club at 12:43 p.m., USCP sent countersurveillance officers to the DNC. Those officers usually work in pairs.

In the video footage, The Epoch Times noticed a man—dressed nearly identical to the officer who reported the pipe bomb to the Secret Service—walking past the bomb scene about a minute before the bomb was reported. Dressed in a dark vest, lighter pants and shirt, and a cap, the man strolled past the Secret Service vehicles, along South Capitol Street under the railroad trestle, then crossed the road and disappeared off camera.

At 1:09 p.m., Camera 3173 pivoted and zoomed in on the bench, indicating that the Capitol Police Command Center was aware of the bomb. A portion of the bomb’s white kitchen timer is visible on the far left corner of the video screen.

Mr. Massie, who has repeatedly pressed the FBI and the ATF to release more details in the case, said there has been “an ongoing coverup” of the pipe bombs by federal officials.

“It looks identical to the training pipe bombs they build or train with, that the FBI uses ... right down to the 60-minute kitchen timer,” Mr. Massie said on Jan. 30.

“They all still claim these were viable pipe bombs.”