Senior law enforcement officials tasked with keeping the U.S. Capitol safe on January 6 claimed that a series of unanswered calls, withholding of information and conflicting orders led to the systematic blackout that allowed thousands of MAGA rioters to enter the government building.
Testifying before two Senate committees on Tuesday, former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund criticized the Pentagon for taking hours to send reinforcements on January 6, even as other officials of the US forces Order pleaded for help as rioters entered the building and forced elected leaders into hiding. .
As Sund insisted he asked for the National Guard just after 1 p.m., Paul Irving, the House’s former Sergeant-at-Arms, said he did not recall the conversation and did not receive of official request that “shortly before 1:30 pm.” Troops, however, were not approved to assist overwhelmed officers on Capitol Hill until 2:10 pm.
DC Metropolitan Police Department Acting Chief Robert Contee also spoke in shock when he learned that the National Guard did not want to send troops to the Capitol during the insurgency – because it “ did not like the look of the boots on the ground ”in government. building.
“This assault on the Capitol has exposed the security weaknesses of the country’s safest city,” Contee said, adding that when MPD received the call for help on January 6, it “responded immediately” .
But Irving insisted that the initial intelligence he saw “did not support” that there would be a coordinated assault on Capitol Hill – “nor was it contemplated in any of the interagency discussions I have had. attended in the days preceding the attack.
“We all thought the plan met the threat and we were ready. We now know we had the wrong plan. As one of the senior security officials responsible for the event, I am responsible for it. I accept this responsibility, ”Irving said.
Irving added that the Capitol Police were aware of the information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that led to this conclusion. Contee also added that while he was “surprised at the reluctance” to immediately send reinforcements for the United States Capitol Police officers to repel thousands of MAGA rioters, intelligence before Jan.6 did did not indicate that the demonstration would derail.
“To be clear, the intelligence available pointed to a strong presence of some of the same groups that contributed to the violence in the city after the November and December protests,” Contee said. “The district had no information indicating a coordinated assault on the Capitol.”
When the backup finally arrived hours later on Capitol Hill on Jan.6, Contee added, police were too overwhelmed to fight the siege.
Former Capitol Building Police Chief Sund added in his testimony on Tuesday that rioters coordinated the attack via radio communications and improvised weapons – and that the officers had no chance because “these criminals had prepared for war ”.
He added that the deadly attack was a “coordinated military-style assault” that could have been downplayed if federal agents had provided law enforcement with accurate and complete intelligence. Sund stressed that while the Capitol Police were ready for violent groups, they were not ready to be outnumbered by an insurgency.
“Blaming only the United States Capitol Police leadership is not only inappropriate, it also downplays what really happened,” Sund said. “No entity, including the FBI, provided new information on January 6.”
Pointing out the National Guard’s lack of support, Sund added that during the insurgency, senior security personnel hopped on a conference call to discuss how to secure the Capitol, including providing reinforcements from 125 unarmed national guards. During the call, Sund and Contee both testified that a senior Pentagon official, Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, had said he did not want to deploy the National Guard because of the “optics” of the troops. armies in front of the Capitol.
Sund added: “Mr. Irving said he was concerned about the “optics” of the National Guard’s presence and did not think intelligence was backing it “
During Tuesday’s testimony, Irving said he did not recall the phone call.
Irving, however, hit back at Sund’s accusations, stating that “if Chief Sund, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger, or any of the law enforcement officials involved in the planning concluded that the intelligence had called the National Guard … ensure the presence of the National Guard. “
However, all officials said on Tuesday that the January 6 insurgency was a “coordinated attack.”
Five people died in the violent riots. Four were pro-Trump protesters, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was gunned down by a police officer after trying to break into the President’s lobby. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed after being hit with a fire extinguisher by rioters. In the aftermath of the January 6 siege, at least two officers who responded to the riots on the Capitol committed suicide.
Captain Carneysha Mendoza, who has worked in the Capitol Police for nearly two decades, was the first to testify before Senate committees on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and on Senate Rules about his face … who still have not healed.
“As an American and military veteran, it is sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens,” she said.
She testified that her arm got caught as she tried to stop a mob of rioters from entering the Capitol – which was thankfully freed by another officer – and that she could smell the “CS gas. military grade ‘in the air.
“There are certain lessons that have always marked me after September 11. One of those lessons is knowing that the unthinkable is always possible – so be prepared, ”added Mendoza, who worked on the recovery efforts for the Pentagon attack. “We could have had 10 times as many people working with us and I still believe the battle would have been just as devastating.”
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