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Interior Department Inspector General Releases Jan. 6 Report

Tyler McBrien
Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 12:49 PM

The inspector general concluded that the organizers of the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally intentionally failed to disclose post-demonstration march plans to authorities.

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On Dec. 18, the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of the Interior published a 47-page report, reviewing the preparation by the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Park Police (USPP) for the Women for America First (WFAF) demonstration at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021.

According to the report, throughout the permitting process, representatives from WFAF “repeatedly” told the NPS that the group did not plan to march after the demonstration. On Jan. 1, 2021, the NPS issued a permit to WFAF authorizing a demonstration at the Ellipse for an estimated 5,000 people—though WFAF amended that estimate to 30,000 in the days leading up to Jan. 6. 

The inspector general concluded that the NPS “complied with legal requirements in issuing the permit for WFAF’s demonstration,” but “did not review WFAF’s fire and life safety documentation or conduct a site inspection as required by NPS policy.” The inspector general also found that the NPS did not comply with notice requirements concerning prohibited items at the site, such as backpacks and bags, nor did it retain pre-demonstration photographs of the site, which “could have been used to seek recovery for damages to Federal property.”

The inspector general found no fault with the USPP, concluding that there was no evidence to suggest “that the USPP failed to exercise its law enforcement responsibilities in accordance with policy on January 6 at both the Ellipse and the U.S. Capitol.” 

You can read the report here or below: 

Tyler McBrien is the managing editor of Lawfare. He previously worked as an editor with the Council on Foreign Relations and a Princeton in Africa Fellow with Equal Education in South Africa, and holds an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago.

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