I have a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory that — unlike the other one — has never been disproven.
My theory is not that the government secretly instigated the insurrection, but rather that certain officials effectively allowed it to happen by insufficiently securing the Capitol.
Why they failed to appropriately prepare or respond remains a mystery. News coverage of this angle has been almost nonexistent, despite my entreaties over the years.
Frontline personnel at any number of federal and law enforcement agencies were well aware of the chatter on social media about attacking the Capitol. It was all there in plain sight. But none of their superiors jumped into action. There were innumerable points of failure. Why? Was it just a coincidence?
The Jan. 6 congressional committee intentionally avoided a serious investigation of the security lapses on that day, in order to keep the focus on Trump’s culpability. But did they miss another area of Trump culpability? Who knows?
The foremost point of failure was the Capitol Police, whose leadership — particularly its then-chief Steve Sund — ignored a Jan. 3 memo from their own intelligence team.
That memo explicitly warned that “white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence” had been summoned by Trump and could create “significantly dangerous situations for law enforcement and the general public alike” because “unlike previous post-election protests… Congress itself is the target on the 6th.”
Chief Sund ordered the perimeter defined with bike racks, which are only effective for protests where most people are law-abiding. They do nothing to stop a horde. In fact, they can get turned into weapons to use against the police, as they were.
Incredibly, Sund actually ordered the removal of some bike racks late on Jan. 5, for reasons that some of his colleagues considered suspect.
If he had put up a fence instead, the Capitol would never have been sacked.
Sund inexcusably failed to prepare his officers with riot gear. And despite his insistence that he was getting “all hands on deck,” he didn’t even cancel officers’ days off. There was no backup plan.
Did Sund ever discuss his plans with the Trump White House? Nobody’s asked him, as far as I can tell.
Top U.S. Army officials were also culpable. They chose not to put up a fence or send in the National Guard ahead of time. Then, on the day itself, two top generals – one of whom is the brother of Michael Flynn, a key figure in Trump’s attempted coup — stalled for time, slowing the response. Then they lied about it to Congress.
Were they operating under orders? From whom?
There were command posts set up all over Washington in the days before Jan. 6, including two for the FBI alone. But there was no FBI presence in the crowd to alert authorities to the rising menace.
In fact, more than half an hour into the storming of the Capitol, neither of the FBI command centers had raised any alarm, assuring Justice Department officials that the Capitol Police had everything under control. Were they even paying attention?
The most innocent explanation is gross incompetence at every level of the government. But that simply doesn’t hold water.
The most likely explanation is that military and law enforcement leaders simply could not imagine that white people and/or Trump supporters could pose a danger to the country, so they shrugged off any concerns. That would be gross.
But was there something else at play? Did any of these officials consciously choose not to act – or to underreact – because they were sympathetic to the rioters? Or out of fear of angering Trump? Or were they instructed to stand down despite the rather obvious potential consequences? If the latter, who issued those instructions?
Perhaps someday we’ll find out. But today, three years later, we simply have no idea.