Former DNI Ratcliffe: Jan. 6 Capitol Breach ‘Was Preventable’

March 7, 2021 Updated: March 7, 2021

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that the Capitol breach on Jan. 6 was a “failure of leadership” in federal law enforcement agencies, saying that intelligence was provided to the FBI and others ahead of time.

The breach that led to the shutdown of both the Senate and House “was preventable,” Ratcliffe told Fox Business on March 7, adding that “there was intelligence” about what could occur.

“This was not an intelligence failure. There was a situational report out of the FBI, a field office not three hours from Washington, D.C., that said the day before, not 24 hours before, that domestic extremists were intent on going to the Capitol, used the word ‘creating war,’ targeting members of Congress, even maps of the tunnel system of the Capitol,” he said.

An intelligence report from the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, office made note of specific threats against members of Congress, maps of the tunnel system in Washington, and places to meet.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the report from the field office was provided in less than an hour to various law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. But D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said in a hearing last week that the report wasn’t provided with a sense of high alert and was sent to him via email on the night before the Jan. 6 incident.

“I would certainly think that something as violent as an insurrection in the Capitol would warrant a phone call or something,” Contee told a Senate panel.

Wray said the report was shared with the agencies.

“Now, again, the information was raw. It was unverified. In a perfect world, we would have taken longer to be able to figure out whether it was reliable,” Wray said. “But we made the judgment, our folks made the judgment to get that information to the relevant people as quickly as possible.” He said that the three methods were used “to leave as little as possible to chance.”

But Ratcliffe, without elaborating on the specifics, said that “what happened on January 6th was preventable,” blaming a “failure of leadership in our law enforcement community.”