The Department of Justice under then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and approved under then-President Donald Trump had secret commandos with shoot-to-kill authority at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a Newsweek exclusive.
The secret operation under the attorney general ”mostly” operated without the knowledge of Congress or the U.S. Capitol Police, according to the report.
The national force was ”pre-deployed” Jan. 2-3, 2021, to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, about 30 miles south of the Capitol, planning to defend against a terrorist attack, a weapon of mass destruction, or an attack on Trump or then-Vice President Mike Pence.
The revelation raised the question as to what DOJ had understood as a threat Jan. 6 but that ”other agencies evidently missed,” according to Newsweek.
The national force’s heads from six elite government special operations teams met Jan. 3 at the FBI headquarters in Quantico to review threats and plans for the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress that planned to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The decision to deploy the DOJ and FBI force rested solely with acting AG Rosen, despite no formal request from the Capitol Police, Secret Service, Washington Metropolitan Police Department or any other agency, according to Newsweek.
”I believe that DOJ reasonably prepared for contingencies ahead of Jan. 6, understanding that there was considerable uncertainty as to how many people would arrive, who those people would be, and precisely what purposes they would pursue,” Rosen told Congress late last year.
Rosen added that DOJ had ”no frontline role with respect to crowd control,” and was focused solely on ”high-risk” operations.
Among the units at the Jan. 3 planning meeting in Quantico were, according to the report:
- FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team.
- FBI’s national ”Render Safe” team.
- FBI SWAT team from the Baltimore Field Office.
- Special Response Teams from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
- U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations Group.
Those forces staged on the morning of Jan. 6 in downtown Washington and FBI SWAT teams and snipers were deployed to secure congressional office buildings, according to the report.