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GAO Report Finds DHS Should’ve Considered Designating January 6th as a High-Security Event; Finding Echoes Senator Hassan’s Earlier Questioning of DHS Officials

In March, Senator Hassan Questioned DHS Officials on Why Joint Sessions of Congress Was Not Considered to Be a National Special Security Event

WASHINGTON - Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to consider whether it should designate the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021 as a National Special Security Event (NSSE), a distinction that would’ve provided access to more security resources for the Capitol that day. 


The finding echoes Senator Hassan’s earlier call this year when she questioned DHS officials about whether they had considered designating January 6th as a National Special Security Event, given the widespread reporting of threats to the Capitol. After DHS confirmed that they had failed to do so, Senator Hassan pushed for clarification on what procedures prevented the agency from pursuing the designation. 


Click here to watch Senator Hassan’s original questioning.


In the GAO report on the January 6th attacks, the GAO found:


1)           The Secretary of Homeland Security should consider whether additional factors, such as the context of the events and surrounding circumstances in light of the current environment of emerging threats are needed for designating NSSE events, and


2)           The Secretary of Homeland Security should update the Department of Homeland Security’s policy to clarify and communicate the process for requesting an NSSE designation for an event held on federal property in Washington, DC to all relevant stakeholders, including relevant federal and local entities.