Emails: DHS expected massive crowds on day of Capitol insurrection

WASHINGTON, D.C. — We obtained dozens of pages of emails between intelligence officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The internal emails show intelligence officials expected massive crowds to turn out and shared a list of the dozens of demonstrations planned for that day.

An email from Jan. 6 from a DHS senior special agent listed the groups planning to protest which included “Million MAGA March,” “March for Trump,” “Stop the Steal” and others.

An email with the subject, “National Crisis Coordination Center (NCCC)” on Jan. 6 said: “There are approximately 300 Proud Boys at the U.S. Capitol… The Proud Boys are threatening to shut down the water system in the downtown area, which includes government facilities.”

An email sent at 9:45am on Jan. 6 by a law enforcement physical security officer for DHS said: “What I have is the Ellipse is permitted for 30k but they are expecting for there to be much more. Freedom Plaza original permit was 5k and it was raised to 30k, the permit outside Sylvan theater is permitted for 15k.”

We showed the emails to retired FBI agent J.J. Klaver.

“Emails talking about crowd size, those kind of stood out,” Klaver said. “Numbers they’re expecting but they think it’s going to be a lot more… I think it poses the question that everyone wants the answer to and that’s why weren’t better security precautions in place to protect not just the Capitol but other federal facilities?”

The internal emails also show the communication right before the attack and the urgent warnings as the insurrection was underway.

At 12:21pm, an email referenced former President Trump’s speech at the rally and said: “POTUS is encouraging the protesters to march to Capitol grounds and continue protesting there.”

About a half an hour later, an email was sent that said: “Large group just breached the USCP [U.S. Capitol Police] barricade on the West front.”

At 2:14pm, an email warned in all caps: “CAPITOL HAS BEEN BREACHED PROTESTERS ARE NOW INSIDE THE CAPITOL.”

By 2:16pm, an email said the “Capitol is locking down Chambers.”

A warning about attacks on officers was sent in an email at 2:33pm that said: “OFFICERS ARE GETTING SPRAYED WITH OC.”

At 6:00pm, an email with the subject, “Inside Capitol is Clear,” said: “Senate and House members that are in non-leadership positions are being bussed off Capitol grounds.”

That email went on to discuss the law enforcement assistance, saying: “MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] has 1000 bodies on ground. Several local police departments are here as well as the National Guard is in route.”


This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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