Inspectors general from a range of federal agencies are opening a coordinated investigation into the catastrophic failures that led to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, amid reports that officials ignored, downplayed and responded sluggishly to a deadly assault on the nation’s core democratic institutions.
Government watchdogs, who are shielded from political interference under federal law, said on Friday that they planned to review the protocols, and policies that were in place in the lead-up to last week’s breach.
Their goal: To determine why the federal government was caught flat-footed when pro-Trump rioters attacked Congress, and come up with protocols to prevent similar failures in dealing with a dramatic escalation in political violence in Washington and in state capitols.
The review will be jointly conducted by the inspectors general from the Justice Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior, according to a statement from the office of Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general.
In the days following the attack, it has become clear that federal agencies, including the F.B.I., did not do enough to heed alarms, raised within the bureau itself, that far-right extremists allied with President Trump planned to attack the Capitol. Several people on a terrorist watch list were also in Washington for the rally by Mr. Trump that devolved into the assault.
At the same time, questions have arisen about the Pentagon’s delay in sending national guard troops to help Capitol Police officers who were overwhelmed and, in some cases, badly beaten by the mob.
The review will examine all of the information relevant to the that was available to the Justice Department and the F.B.I. before it took place, and the extent to which that information was shared with the Capitol Police and other federal, state and local agencies.
Mr. Horowitz will also review what role Justice Department personnel had in responding to the siege, and whether weaknesses in the department’s protocols led to the security failure.
The Department of Defense review “will examine requests for D.O.D. support leading up to the planned protest and its aftermath at the U.S. Capitol complex, the D.O.D.’s response, and whether the D.O.D.’s actions were lawful” the Pentagon’s inspector general wrote in a statement on Friday.
The new probe comes after the announcement earlier this week that the inspector general from the Capitol Police will initiate a separate investigation into the failures by the force to contain the violence. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan federal watchdog agency, signaled that it would look into what role, if any, members of Congress may have played in inciting the mob.
Led by Representative Mikie Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat and former Navy pilot, more than 30 lawmakers on Wednesday called for an investigation into an uptick of visits to the Capitol — perhaps for the purpose of surveillance and planning — the day before the riot.