US Capitol/noose
© Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
US Capitol and vigilante justice
What we had here was a failure to communicate. Again, on January 6 — years after numerous investigations and study commissions picked apart the intelligence failures leading up to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Last week, America's security agencies were again caught flat footed when another kind of militant wave, this time pro-Trump fanatics, stormed and trashed the citadel of American democracy, nearly executing what al-Qaeda had failed to do, destroy the U.S. Capitol.


Comment: There is plenty of evidence Trump supporters were purposefully infiltrated to trigger optics, cause havoc, fear monger and wreak damage. Destruction and loss of life at the Capitol cannot be compared to 9/11.


Democrats in Congress are teeing up another round of investigations and commissions to get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection, which will almost certainly revisit the thorny question of whether the U.S. needs an independent counter-subversion agency to infiltrate and neutralize armed domestic extremists, who are now threatening more attacks on or around the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Already, a bill has been introduced to empower federal law enforcement to better monitor and stop domestic extremist violence. Its sponsor, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), said:
"It is not enough to just condemn hate, we need to equip law enforcement with the tools needed to identify threats and prevent violent acts of domestic terrorism. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act improves coordination between our federal agencies and makes sure they are focused on the most serious domestic threats."
Meanwhile, the internal attack dogs of the departments of Justice, Defense, the Interior and Homeland Security are gearing up probes of what security officials knew and when about threats before January 6, according to The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett and Missy Ryan. One fact seems irrefutable: advance warning of the attack was fumbled, not taken seriously or ignored altogether, just like the stark alarm the CIA gave the George W. Bush White House in August 2001: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S."

It's deja vu all over again. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, blue ribbon commissions stumbled all over each other to find out what went wrong, with all of them coming to more or less the same conclusions: U.S. intelligence was awash in reports on al-Qaeda, but "too often failed...to appreciate its collective significance in terms of a probable terrorist attack," as the joint report of the House and Senate intelligence committees put it.

Then there was the 9/11 Commission, which discovered that, among many intelligence lapses, the CIA had actually withheld crucial information from the FBI about the presence of al-Qaeda operatives in the U.S.


All find echoes in the events surrounding January 6. None dare say "wake-up call" or "lessons learned" — there's been far too many of them over the decades. But one response to the 9/11 tragedy may well get renewed attention after the Capitol assault — especially if armed white nationalists are successful in carrying out more attacks in the coming days and weeks: The call for a secret police.

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