Menu

140 National Security Leaders to Congress: We Need a January 6th Commission

Protect Democracy applauds the call for an independent and bipartisan national commission to investigate the January 6th assault of the U.S. Capitol.

The January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol was the first violent attack on the peaceful transfer of power in our nation’s history, and one of the most injurious days for law enforcement since 9/11. Four months later, the national security threats exposed by January 6 remain urgent and profound.

Today a group of 140 national security leaders—including former senior intelligence, military, and diplomatic officials spanning the Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, G. W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations—delivered a united message: we need “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.” 

In a letter to Congress, the signatories warn that the events of January 6 were “the result of complex national security threats” and that “understanding how these forces culminated in an attack on the infrastructure of our democracy is critical to preventing future attacks.” A 9/11-style commission, they continued, is a “critical component of the national response.” After 9/11, “congressional inquiries, law enforcement activities, and a national commission not only worked in parallel, but critically complemented each other’s necessary work.” Like then, a 1/6 commission “can uniquely support” critical congressional oversight work.

Signatories include former Secretaries of Defense Chuck Hagel, William Perry, and William Cohen; CIA and NSA Director General Michael Hayden; NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; Vice Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Owens and General James Cartwright; 9/11 Commissioner Ambassador Timothy Roemer; Secretaries of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge, Janet Napolitano, Jeh Johnson, and Michael Chertoff; and Senators John Danforth and Tom Daschle. You will find the full letter, including a complete list of signatories, here.

Coverage of this letter, which was organized by Protect Democracy, originally appeared in the Washington Post.