On 6 Jan 2021, thousands of violent protestors attacked and occupied the U.S. Capitol in one of the darkest moments of US history. In addition to exposing woeful security failings on the day, the attack on the Capitol spotlighted a strain of deeply rooted violent political extremism which is likely to fester and reemerge again. Early questions in the aftermath include how federal and local law enforcement failed in anticipating and preventing the attack, as well as the role of the intelligence community in monitoring and warning of domestic threats. To understand what happened on the day, what led to it, and where we go from here, please join the Belfer Center's Intelligence Project and Homeland Security Project in a panel discussion with Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Professor Juliette Kayyem, and Intelligence Project Director Paul Kolbe

Questions that will be addressed include: Was this avoidable? What is the role of the intelligence community, if any, in monitoring and threat warning for domestic extremism? What steps are now needed by Congress, the executive branch, and civil society in order to counter anti-democratic forces and root causes of the Capitol insurrection?

Rep. Abigail Spanberger

U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is proud to represent Virginia's 7th Congressional District, which is comprised of ten counties throughout Central Virginia.

Representative Spanberger began her career in public service, first serving as a federal agent with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigating money laundering and narcotics cases, and then serving as a case officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As a CIA officer, she worked at home and abroad to collect vital intelligence, keep our country safe, and work in furtherance of our national security priorities. In the private sector, Representative Spanberger worked with colleges and universities to help them diversify their student bodies and increase graduation rates.

Representative Spanberger serves on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On the House Agriculture Committee, she serves as Chair of the Conservation & Forestry Subcommittee and as a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, & Credit Subcommittee. And on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Spanberger serves as Vice-Chair of the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, & the Environment Subcommittee and as a member of the Asia, the Pacific, & Nonproliferation Subcommittee.

Representative Spanberger grew up in Henrico County. She earned her B.A. at the University of Virginia and her MBA at a dual degree program between Purdue University’s Krannert School and the GISMA Business School in Hanover, Germany. 

Professor Juliette Kayyem

Professor Juliette Kayyem has spent over 20 years managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. A national leader in homeland security, resiliency and safety, she is currently the Senior Belfer Lecturer in International Security at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she is faculty chair of the Homeland Security and Security and Global Health Projects. Kayyem is the author and editor of numerous books including "Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the 21st Century," and "Security Mom," a memoir that explores the intersection, and commonalities, of her life in homeland security and her life as a mother.  She is also the founder of Kayyem Solutions, LLC, providing strategic advice in resiliency planning, risk management, mega-event security, infrastructure protection and cybersecurity.  Kayyem appears frequently on CNN as their on-air national security analyst, and hosts a weekly show on Boston's NPR affiliate WGBH. 

Most recently, she was President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. There she played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in critical infrastructure protections and community resiliency. Before that, she was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor guiding regional planning and the state’s first interoperability plan, climate change policies, and overseeing the National Guard.

She has served as a member of the National Commission on Terrorism, a legal advisor to US Attorney General Janet Reno, and a trial attorney and counselor in the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. She is the recipient of many government honors, including the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Coast Guard’s highest medal awarded to a civilian. In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon’s combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.

Juliette is a board member of Mass Inc. and the Red Cross of MA. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Cyber Alliance, and the Trilateral Commission. 

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and the mother of three children, she is married to First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron.

Paul Kolbe

Mr. Paul Kolbe is the Director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center. 

Paul served for 25 years in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in a variety of foreign and domestic roles, including as Chief of Station, Chief/Central Eurasia Division, and Balkans Group Chief. His overseas assignments included operational and leadership roles in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Central Europe. He was a member of the Senior Intelligence Service and is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal.

Following his CIA career, Kolbe was Director for Intelligence and Analysis at BP, where he built an enterprise-wide intelligence capability focused on geo-political threats, strategic cyber threats, and support to commercial operations. Clients included C-suite leadership, global business units, security networks, and legal teams. Kolbe is a Senior Advisor to the Crumpton Group, Capstone Global, and Spycraft Entertainment. He is also a member of the Cipher Brief network of experts and is an alumnus of Michigan State University’s James Madison college, where he studied International Relations. Kolbe has been married to Maureen Farrell Kolbe for 32 years and is a proud father of 3 great children, all of whom desperately resist his attempts at humor.