“Why did the agency wait two days?” : Secret Service withheld Pelosi threat until Jan. 6 riot
Amid scrutiny by the US Secret Service over missing text messages related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, an independent watchdog revealed Wednesday that the agency waited until after the insurgency to notify Capitol Police. of a threat against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This revelation comes from a batch of documents obtained by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Around noon on the day of the attack, then-President Donald Trump began a speech in Washington, D.C., which included his “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by the Democrats, according to a NPR schedule released earlier this year.
About an hour later, Pelosi, D-California, launched a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the 2020 election. Right-wing rioters stormed the Capitol around 2:00 p.m. Over the next half hour, then-Vice President Mike Pence and Pelosi were driven to safer locations and the building was locked down.
CREW documents reveal that the Secret Service – which uncovered the threat against Pelosi on January 4, 2021 – did not send an email notifying Capitol Police of the online threats against Pelosi until two days later, at 5:55 p.m. around the time the police had begun to chase the rioters from the building.
Jordan Libowitz and Sara Wiatrak of CREW pointed out in a blog post on Wednesday that “while the Secret Service downplayed threats posed by far-right groups and Trump supporters until January 6, newly obtained documents reveal how serious and explicit the threats were”. has been.”
In a separate blog post focusing specifically on Pelosi’s discovery, Libowitz and Lauren White pointed out that “last month we learned that the Secret Service failed to prepare for violence on January 6 despite warnings explicit, then deleted key evidence from the day forward, likely breaking the law.”
“The delay in notifying Capitol Police of the threat to the Speaker of the House only adds to the impression that the agency has failed to do its job and leads to more questions,” they wrote. . “Why did the agency wait two days, until the Capitol was breached and congressional leaders went into hiding, to pass it on?”
Sharing the second blog post in a tweet on Wednesday, Joyce Vance, a law professor at the University of Alabama and MSNBC legal commentator, said “this is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation”.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed the email was genuine. He noted that Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is not a beneficiary of the Secret Service, which oversees the president’s security. The messages were sent to Capitol Police out of “an excess of caution,” even though they did not contain “a specific threat of violence against her that night,” he said.
The Secret Service flagged the account because he posted a specific threat of harm to Biden. The United States Capitol Police conducts its own monitoring of similar threats against members of Congress and was likely tracking the same information as the Secret Service, Guglielmi said.
The newspaper noted that “employees in Pelosi’s office also did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.”