Lead investigator blows the whistle on key finding Jan. 6 committee ignored in final report
Capitol rioters (Photo by Joseph Prezioso for AFP)

The Jan. 6 Committee concluded that law enforcement was to blame for many of the failures that allowed the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol but ultimately did not include those findings in the final report, according to one of its lead investigators.

Many lawmakers and outside experts have reached the same conclusion, but Tim Heaphy, a former federal prosecutor and the committee’s chief investigative counsel, said his team documented a series of key failures and ignored warnings ahead of the attack, but the committee downplayed or contradicted those findings in their report, reported NBC News.

"[Donald Trump] was the proximate cause," Heaphy said. "But for his words, and deeds, it wouldn’t have happened. That said, what happened at the Capitol was also affected by law enforcement failures to operationalize the ample intelligence that was present before Jan. 6, about the threats of violence.”

“Law enforcement had a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence," he added.

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Heaphy worked on the Blue Team led by senior investigative counsel Soumya Dayananda, who once helped prosecute Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but their findings were not presented in any of the panel's televised hearings and an abbreviated version of their findings was included in the appendix of the report, which said that law enforcement could not have anticipated Trump's actions and were therefore not to blame.

“There was a lot of advance intelligence about law enforcement, about carrying weapons, about the vulnerability of the Capitol,” Heaphy said. “The intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough, in our view, for law enforcement to have done a better job.”

The Blue Team found that Capitol police failed to deploy enough security forces, and the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were too cautious about responding to social media threats ahead of the riot and made a crucial error by not publishing a Joint Intelligence Bulletin about those threats.

“To me, it is not violating anybody’s rights to reach out to them based on something that they post publicly,” Heaphy said. “Sometimes a knock on the door and an inquiry as to intention can have a deterrent effect. The bureau doesn’t, in my view, do that enough. They didn’t do that enough before Jan. 6.”

Ultimately, Heaphy said he agreed with William Walker, the commander of the Washington, D.C., National Guard, who told the committee the law enforcement response before and during the attack would have been much different “if these protesters were Black and brown.”