Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray about the communication failures that occurred on Jan. 6 and the much-discussed Norfolk memo, named for the FBI office in Virginia where it originated.
Wray described how the FBI quickly shared an intelligence report about online chatter before Jan. 6, saying they provided information in three ways to other law enforcement agencies, after receiving the information from the FBI’s Norfolk field office.
The Norfolk memo has become central to questions about whether law enforcement agencies protecting the Capitol had enough sound intelligence to prepare before the siege.
Wray’s answers to at least three senators’ questions on Tuesday about the Norfolk report fill out where and how the intelligence was shared, and stands in contrast to testimony last week from law enforcement chiefs around the Capitol who largely blamed security failures on Jan. 6 on a lack of intelligence that had been communicated. Former US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told House lawmakers, for example, that he only learned days before last week’s hearing about the bombshell FBI memo.
Wray said the Norfolk report was passed to law enforcement partners, including the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department within an hour after it was received, he said on Tuesday.
It was shared in three ways, he said: an email to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a verbal command post briefing in the Washington field office and at FBI headquarters that involved police in DC, and through the law enforcement portal.
Read a part of Klobuchar and Wray’s exchange in today’s hearing:
Klobuchar: “One of my questions that we’ll continue to be asking as part of this investigation we’re doing with the Rules Committee and Homeland Security, is how could we change this so this never happens again. So those type of threats — this type of information gets to the right people. And do you have any response on that?
Wray: Well, as I said, if connection with the particular report that you’re referring to, the Norfolk S.I.R. as they call it, we did communicate that information in a timely fashion to the Capitol Police and MPD in not one, not two, but three different ways.
Klobuchar: You think it is enough just to send an email?
Wray: It is more than just an email. Right. So first off the email itself, went to I think there may be as many as five capitol police task force officers on the joint terrorism task force, and the whole point of the task force is for the chosen representatives of the partner agency to be there in the loop real-time so that everybody has the same information so that each agency could use that information to do what it needs to do.”
“So having said that, I do not consider what happened on January 6th to be an acceptable result and that is why we’re looking at figuring how to the process could be improved,” Wray continued.
Wray called the memo “raw, unverified, uncorroborated information” that had been gathered from online posts, but was notable enough for the FBI to share with police in Washington, DC, almost immediately.
Wray did not see the Norfolk report until after Jan. 6, he added.