A comprehensive timeline of Jan. 6 intelligence failures
Capitol rioters (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

As the House Select Committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection prepares to go public with their findings over six televised hearings, an expert on intelligence failures has provided an extensive and helpful timeline that can be used to understand how the intelligence apparatus in the U.S. misjudged the looming wave of violence that engulfed the Capitol that day.

Writing for Just Security, Erik Dahl, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer and author of "Intelligence and Surprise Attack: Failure and Success from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and Beyond," explained that the six House hearings likely won't have enough time to delve deeply into the mishandling of information and subsequent bureaucratic bungling that led to lawmakers having to flee for their lives.

Using transcripts (accompanied by links) from Senate hearings, General Accounting Office (GAO) analysis and media reports, Dahl lays out a roadmap that takes readers from Oct 1, 2020, before the election that he reports stated, "DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis developed an intelligence product assessing that ideologically motivated lone offenders and small groups, some of whom may target events related to the election results, pose greatest domestic terrorist threat through 2021, with domestic violent extremists presenting most persistent and lethal threat" to the afternoon after the Capitol assault when the "DHS National Operation Center update sent to DoD: 'In the last 2 hrs – There are no major incidents of illegal activity at this time.'"

As Dahl explains, "In today’s highly charged political atmosphere, it may not be possible to establish a bipartisan January 6 commission specific to the intelligence failures, but the next best option would be for the intelligence community, or individual elements such as the FBI and DHS, to conduct inquiries into what went wrong."

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He added, "Perhaps the most important lesson may be that as comprehensive as this timeline is, we cannot know what other warnings and assessments remain hidden from view," before suggesting, "Only an official January 6 commission, modeled on the 9/11 Commission and with ready access to the full classified record, can provide a complete answer to the question of why, in the face of the many warnings we see here, the U.S. government was not prepared on January 6 to address the threat that led to the deadly assault on the Capitol."

You can find his timeline here.