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March 02, 2023

Thompson Releases Statement on Government Watchdog Reports on Domestic Terrorism Data and January 6 Threats

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on domestic terrorism (DT) tracking at the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and another report on threats prior to the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“These reports show that the FBI and DHS still have a ways to go on properly tracking domestic terrorism incidents and investigations so we can properly use this critical data to help prevent attacks. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies that track DT threats and investigate incidents clearly must improve their information sharing with each other and develop the necessary internal controls and policies to promote information sharing. As someone who has been closely following the domestic terrorism threat for over ten years and sponsored the Domestic and International Terrorism DATA Act to ensure incidents are being tracked by the Federal government, I intend on making sure DHS and FBI enact the recommendations in these reports.”

In the report, Domestic Terrorism: Further Actions Needed to Strengthen FBI and DHS Collaboration to Counter Threats, GAO found that the FBI and DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) each track DT incidents, but are often plagued by information sharing problems. This has resulted in inaccurate, overlapping, and missing data. GAO recommends that FBI and DHS work to reconcile differences in their tracking and improve their DT tracking overall. GAO also found the two agencies do not consistently assess the results of their collaborative efforts in preventing and addressing DT incidents.

In the report, Capitol Attack: Federal Agencies Identified Some Threats, but Did Not Fully Process and Share Information Prior to January 6, 2021, GAO found that the FBI and DHS I&A did not consistently follow agency policies or procedures for processing tips or potential threats because they did not have proper internal controls. Fixing these deficiencies and ensuring policy compliance will help the agencies ensure potential threats are investigated. GAO also found that DHS I&A, Capitol Police, and Park Police did not consistently share threat information with relevant stakeholders due to a lack of internal controls or policies. For example, Capitol Police did not share threat products with its own frontline officers.

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