Padilla Pushes Top Intel Officials on How Trump Election Disinformation is Inspiring More Attacks

With rumored attacks on March 4 and beyond, U.S. intelligence analysts confirm Trump rhetoric is inspiring domestic terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) participated in the second oversight hearing on the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol as a member of both the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules and Administration Committee. Intelligence officials confirmed on-the-record to Padilla that the continued spread of election disinformation about the 2020 presidential election by former President Donald Trump and other elected officials is inspiring more attacks, including the public threat to the U.S. Capitol on March 4th.

WATCH: Full Video of Padilla’s Questioning

Padilla, who battled election disinformation for years as California’s Secretary of State, pointed out that the perpetuation of the “Big Lie” is hurting the ability of America’s intelligence agencies to stop future attacks: “When people of influence, particularly former and current elected officials, continue to spread lies and disinformation about the election, I would imagine that creates a lot more noise, unnecessary noise, counterproductive noise, dangerous noise, for you all to have to sift through. I suspect it also radicalizes some number of people to actually take action, including violent action, just as we have seen for years with jihadist propaganda and foreign terrorism.”

Padilla went on to ask the intelligence officials if the perpetuation of disinformation about the 2020 election makes it harder for them to do their job. Padilla also asked about what kind of message the January 6th insurrection sends to other domestic extremists and foreign adversaries. 

Every witness confirmed that the continued spread of disinformation makes it extremely difficult for them to do their jobs and poses a significant threat that could inspire more attacks like the January 6th insurrection. 

Witnesses included Melissa Smislova, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary Office of Intelligence and Analysis; Jill Sanborn, Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division; Robert G. Salesses, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security; and Major General William J. Walker, the Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard.

For additional information on testimonies and the hearing, click here.