House lawmakers question top security officials about the failure to stop the Jan. 6 riot.

Jun 15, 2021
In The News

The F.B.I. is pursuing potentially hundreds more suspects in the Capitol riot, the agency’s director told Congress on Tuesday, calling the effort to find those responsible for the deadly assault “one of the most far-reaching and extensive” investigations in the bureau’s history.

“We’ve already arrested close to 500, and we have hundreds of investigations that are still ongoing beyond those 500,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, told the House Oversight Committee.

His assurances of how seriously the agency was taking the attack by a pro-Trump mob came as lawmakers pressed him and military commanders on why they did not do more to prevent the siege despite threats from extremists to commit violence.

“The threats, I would say, were everywhere,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who is the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee. “The system was blinking red.”

Ms. Maloney confronted Mr. Wray with messages from the social media site Parler, which she said referred threats of violence to the F.B.I. more than 50 times before the attack on Jan. 6. One message, which Ms. Maloney said Parler had sent to an F.B.I. liaison on Jan. 2, was from a poster who warned, “Don’t be surprised if we take the Capitol building,” and “Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the Insurrection Act.”

“I do not recall hearing about this particular email,” Mr. Wray replied. “I’m not aware of Parler ever trying to contact my office.”

In hearings before two congressional committees on Tuesday, lawmakers sought new information about the security failures that helped lead to the violence.

At one hearing, Ms. Maloney presented her committee’s research into the delayed response of the National Guard, which showed that the Capitol Police and Washington officials made 12 “urgent requests” for their support and that Army leaders told the National Guard to “stand by” five times as the violence escalated.

“That response took far too long,” Ms. Maloney said. “This is a shocking failure.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.