Former National Security Officials Call for a 9/11 Commission-Like investigation of the Attack on the Capitol

Here is the former officials’ letter:

Dear Members of Congress,

We are former senior national security, military, and elected officials who have represented or served Democrats, Republicans, or administrations of both parties. We write to encourage this Congress to establish an independent and bipartisan national commission to investigate the January 6th assault of the U.S. Capitol Complex and its direct causes, and to make recommendations to prevent future assaults and strengthen the resilience of our democratic institutions.

We also write to you with great urgency in light of what we collectively see as an exigent and growing threat. The events of January 6th exposed severe vulnerabilities in the nation’s preparedness for preventing and responding to domestic terrorist attacks. The immediate security failings that permitted a lethal breach of the Capitol Complex by armed extremists raise serious questions and demand immediate solutions.

But January 6th was also the result of complex national security threats. These include coordinated disinformation campaigns, nontransparent financing of extremist networks, potential foreign influences, and white supremacist violent extremism, which the Department of Homeland Security identified in an October 2020 report as among “the most persistent and lethal threat[s] in the Homeland.” As FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to you recently, “January 6th was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.” Understanding how these forces culminated in an attack on the infrastructure of our democracy is critical to preventing future attacks.

In the wake of September 11th, the administration and Congress jointly acknowledged that the attack’s causes were complex and that an independent and well-equipped national commission was an essential tool to aid the federal government. Congressional inquiries, law enforcement activities, and a national commission not only worked in parallel, but critically complemented each other’s necessary work. An independent commission should not supplant the ongoing work by the legislative and executive branches, but it can uniquely support them by providing comprehensive and expert recommendations for Congress to act upon.

Commissions — properly empowered, resourced, and led — can establish a full picture of events and an analysis of their causes, from which nonpartisan recommendations can authoritatively flow. With dedicated time, resources, and expert staffing, they can also exclusively focus on the matter at hand over an appropriate time horizon. Given the gravity of January 6th as a national security matter — the violent disruption to the transition of power and the continuing threat of future attacks — a national commission examining the lead up to the January 6th assault, and the attendant security lapses, is not only appropriate, but a critical component of the national response.

A failure to deploy the full suite of tools available to fully understand January 6th and address its causes will leave the Capitol, and the nation, vulnerable to future attacks. In bipartisan fashion, we have successfully marshaled these tools before, and we implore you to do so once again.


(Note: All titles are former positions or military ranks held prior to retirement)

Javed Ali, Senior Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council
Thad Allen, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard; Commandant of the Coast Guard
Wendy R. Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Defense
Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Brian Baird, U.S. Representative, 1999–2011
Daniella Ballou-Aares, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State
Rand Beers, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
John Bellinger, Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State; Legal Advisor, National Security Council
Tatyana Bolton, Cyber Policy Lead — Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Charles Boustany, U.S. Representative, 2005–2017
Steven Browning, U.S. Ambassador; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Todd F. Buchwald, U.S. Ambassador, Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State
Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy
Daniel Byman, Professional Staff Member, 9/11 Commission
Piper Campbell, U.S. Ambassador; Head U.S. Mission to ASEAN
Kevin Carroll, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security; Senior Counsel to the House Homeland Security Committee
J. E. Cartwright, General, U.S. Marine Corps; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Steven Cash, Chief Counsel, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein; Intelligence Officer, CIA; Assistant District Attorney, New York
Michael Chertoff, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Peter Chiarelli, General, U.S. Army, 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence
William Cohen, Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense
Tom Coleman, U.S. Representative, 1976–1993
Gary Corn, Colonel, U.S. Army, Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Cyber Command
Thomas Countryman, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation
Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador
George Croner, Litigation Counsel, National Security Agency; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Carlos Curbelo, U.S. Representative, 2015–2019
John Danforth, U.S. Senator, 1976–1995
J. Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to President Obama and Cybersecurity Coordinator
Tom Daschle, U.S. Senator, 1987–2005
Greg Delawie, U.S. Ambassador
Charles W. Dent, U.S. Representative, 2005–2018
Murray Dickman, Chief of Staff to the Attorney General
David Durenberger, U.S. Senator, 1978–1995
Eric Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Mickey Edwards, U.S. Representative, 1977–1993; Chair, House Republican Policy Committee, 1989–1993
Susan Elliott, U.S. Ambassador
Jeffrey Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs; U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Brenner Fissell, Appellate Counsel, Guantanamo Bay Military Commissions
Emil Frankel, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
Charles Fried, Solicitor General of the United States
Francis Fukuyama, Deputy Director, Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State
Kim Fuller, U.S. Department of the Army, Director of International Affairs (Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary)
Larry Garber, USAID Mission Director, West Bank/Gaza
Richard Gephardt, U.S. Representative, 1977–2005
Stuart Gerson, Acting Attorney General of the U.S.; Assistant Attorney General; U.S. Air Force Counterintelligence Officer
Glenn Gerstell, General Counsel, National Security Agency
James Glassman, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Kevin Green, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Nina Hachigian, U.S. Ambassador
Chuck Hagel, Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense
Morton Halperin, Director, Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State
Jane Harman, U.S. Representative, 1993–1991, 2001–2011
Gary Hart, U.S. Senator, 1975–1987
Luke Hartig, Senior Director for Counterterrorism, National Security Council
Michael V. Hayden, General, U.S. Air Force; Director, CIA; Director, NSA
Jason Healey, Director, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Homeland Security Council
Margaret Henoch, CIA Senior Intelligence Service
Rush D. Holt, U.S. Representative, 1999–2015
Cameron Hume, U.S. Ambassador
Gordon Humphrey, U.S. Senator, 1979–1991
Paul Douglas Humphries, CIA
Carol Humphries, CIA, Captain, U.S. Navy Reserve
Bob Inglis, U.S. Representative, 1993–1999, 2005–2011
Steve Israel, U.S. Representative, 2001–2017
Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Susan Koch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction Policy
Jim Kolbe, U.S. Representative, 1985–2007
David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor
David Laufman, Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section in the National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice
J. William Leonard, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Security & Information Operations)
Jason Lewis-Berry, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State
Andrew Liepman, Deputy Director, National Counterrorism Center; Deputy Director, CIA/Counterterrorism Center; Director, Office of Iraq Analysis; Deputy Director, Weapons Intelligence Non Proliferation and Arms Control Center
Robert Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
George Little, Press Secretary, Pentagon; Spokesman, CIA
James Loy, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard; Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Lewis Lukens, U.S. Ambassador
Michael McFaul, Ambassador; Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council
Steven McGann, U.S. Ambassador
Dennis McGinn, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy; Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Joseph Medina, Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps
Christopher Mellon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Connie Morella, U.S. Representative, 2003–2006; U.S. Ambassador
Janet Napolitano, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
William Owens, Admiral, U.S. Navy; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Christopher Painter, Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State
William Perry, Secretary of Defense
Larry Pfeiffer, Chief of Staff, CIA; Senior Director, White House Situation Room
Annie Pforzheimer, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Afghanistan
Randal Phillips, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA
William Piekney, Senior Operations Manager, CIA
Steven Pifer, Senior Foreign Service Officer; U.S. Ambassador
Tony Pipa, Chief Strategy Officer, USAID
Marc Polymeropoulos, Senior Intelligence Service, Directorate of Operations, CIA
Allison Price, Senior Spokesperson, U.S. Department of Justice
Deborah Pryce, U.S. Representative, 1993–2009
Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor
Thomas Ridge, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Denver Riggleman, U.S. Representative, 2019–2021
Thomas B. Robertson, U.S. Ambassador
Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner; U.S. Ambassador; U.S. Representative, 1991–2003
Michael Rogers, Admiral, U.S. Navy; Commander, U.S. Cyber Command; Director, National Security Agency
Todd Rosenblum, Deputy Under Secretary of Intelligence, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nicholas Rostow, Legal Advisor to the National Security Council; Staff Director, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Joel Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Nilmini Rubin, Director, National Security Council
David Scheffer, U.S. Ambassador
Robert Shanks, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice; General Counsel, Overseas Private Investment Corporation; General Counsel, Peace Corps
Christopher Shays, U.S. Representative, 1987–2009
Douglas Silliman, U.S. Ambassador
John Sipher, Senior Intelligence Service, CIA Clandestine Service
Peter Smith, U.S. Representative, 1989–1991
Suzanne Spaulding, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State
Miles Taylor, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Tomicah Tillemann, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State; Speechwriter to the Secretary of State
Kurt Tong, U.S. Ambassador
Olivia Troye, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to Vice President Mike Pence
Stanley A. Twardy, Jr., United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, 1985–1991
Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General; Assistant Secretary of Defense; U.S. Ambassador
Alexander Vindman, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army; Director for European Affairs, National Security Council
Edward Walker, U.S. Ambassador; Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
James Walsh, U.S. Representative, 1989–2009
Zach Wamp, U.S. Representative, 1995–2011
Thomas Warrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
William Wechsler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism
Pamela White, U.S. Ambassador
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey; Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Jonathan Winer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement; Special Envoy for Libya
Tim Wirth, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs; U.S. Senator, 1987–1993; U.S. Representative, 1975–1987
Douglas H. Wise, CIA Senior Intelligence Service; Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Tamara Cofman Wittes, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Stephen N. Xenakis, Brigadier General, U.S. Army
Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador
Dov S. Zakheim, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Peter D. Zimmerman, Chief Scientist, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Chief Scientific Advisor, US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Science Advisor for Arms Control, U.S. Department of State