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John Fenzel Joins Task Force 1621 to Help Lead a 9/11 – Like Commission Investigating the Siege on the Capitol

February 16, 2021

John Fenzel, a former Special Assistant to the Vice President, and Staff Director of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) under Governor Tom Ridge, has joined Task Force 1621 (, a civilian intelligence organization, in an effort to support a 9/11 – like commission to investigate and report on the events of January 6th, 2021.

TF1621 was established on January 9th, 2021, in immediate response to the violent assault on the US Capitol Building and the 117th United States Congress.  The task force is made up of over 40 prior service military and government counterterrorism specialists, equipped with a broad range of technical capabilities, to include, but not limited to: HUMINT (Human Intelligence) researchers, All-Source Intelligence (Fusion) analysts, financial forensics specialists, data science engineers, and counterintelligence officers. 

“I am honored and excited to have John on the team,” said Heath Gross, TF1621’s Team Lead.  “His experience, skills, and character will be among the task force’s strongest assets.  John has spent his entire career defending and promoting American democracy, I am certain he will bring that same level of passion and commitment to this team.”

John Fenzel is a senior Army Special Forces officer who served for over 30 years on our nation’s battlefields around the world. He has served as a military assistant on the personal staff of the Secretary of Defense, as a Special Assistant to the Vice President, and as a White House Fellow during the Clinton and Bush administrations.  In the wake of the September 11th attacks, he served as Staff Director for Tom Ridge in the Homeland Security Council. He was the principal architect of The Homeland Advisory System, our nation’s color-coded alert system.

Following the events of January 6th, Fenzel created the first publicly available timeline of the Capitol occupation.  As part of TF1621 he will continue that effort with the support of TF1621 Fusion Analysts and data science engineers. 

“Following the attacks of 9/11, John built the first timeline of events for the Whitehouse.  20 years later, facing a domestic, rather than an international threat, John is once again leading the effort to understand this most recent attack on our democracy,” said Gross.  “In addition to his technical capabilities, we believe John’s experience and leadership will play a crucial role in forging a supportive relationship with the Congressional commission, should one be formed.”

Even as Congressional leaders, like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Lindsey Graham, began calling for a 9/11 – like Commission, TF1621 had launched a full-scale investigation within 72 hours of the attack on the Capitol. TF1621’s mission is to serve as a nonpartisan, civilian task force with the mandate to support the development of a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the Capitol Insurrection, including preparedness for, response to, and causes of the attack. The task force commission is also mandated to provide both tactical and strategic recommendations designed to guard against future acts of extremist violence and domestic terrorism.

“At this critical moment in our nation’s history, our nation needs answers.  We need to understand what led to the events of 1/6 so that we can prevent it from ever happening again. In this current political environment, and with the head start they have in their investigation, I believe Task Force 1621 may be our best hope of getting a complete, timely, unbiased, and nonpartisan view of what exactly transpired in the lead-up to and the siege on our Capitol” stated John Fenzel.  “I am honored and excited to join the TF1621 team, and more confident than ever this effort will play a crucial role in helping all Americans understand the contributing factors, actions and events of that day.”

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