Feb. 23 – Four security and law enforcement officers who were on duty during the U.S. mob assault on Jan. 6. Tuesday in Congress, Capitol testified and unveiled a portrait of multiple shortcomings that made the attack happen and caused several deaths.Before the joint meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees, former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Washington, D.C., Metro Police Chief Robert Contee, former House Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and former Senate Sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger appeared.
The event is the first public hearing to discuss the Capitol attack, which was orchestrated and led by former President Donald Trump’s radical backers to impede Congress’ certification of the electoral win of President Joe Biden.Lawmakers called for the hearing to find out what intelligence existed before Jan. 6 to suggest that an attack was coming, what measures were taken to prepare for potential abuse, and why it took so long for the National Guard to be called in.
As officers struggled to maintain control of the perimeter of the Capitol, Sund said he made a request for assistance from the National Guard, but said he was not allowed to do so without a Capitol Police Board emergency statement. “It’s a standing rule that we have,”It is a standing rule we have. “It’s just a process that’s in place.”Irving said that for at least 20 minutes, during which time the crowd of rioters marched on the Capitol, he didn’t get Sund’s request.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said that some of the uncertainty may have been created because protection is split between the House and the Senate.Contee said he was “stunned” by the reluctance to call the National Guard and described a conference call with military officials in which the Capitol Police officers seemed to be more worried about poor optics than defending them. Sund said he “pleaded” to send military officials to the National Guard.”There was no immediate “yeah” in response to that,” Contee said. More about thinking about the strategy was the answer. What was the National Guard’s plan?
The answer was more… more… more. With boots on the ground in the Capitol, the optics and how it will look. My reaction to that was that I was shocked.Sund said no one thought that the breach of the Capitol was predictable, based on intelligence.”Even if you look at some of our partner agencies, acting Chief Contee actually made the statement that the breach of the Capitol was not something anyone anticipated,” he said. “Nor do I think some of our federal partners expected it.
I don’t think Secret Service who brought out the vice president (Mike Pence) expected it.”Sund said some of the assailants were “prepared for war” in his remarks, and some even introduced themselves as police officers to get into the house. All four who testified Tuesday said they agreed with the argument that the assault was targeting white nationalist and terrorist groups.
However, Sund said that the Capitol Police were not unprepared for the attack.”A clear lack of accurate and complete intelligence across several federal agencies contributed to this event and not poor planning by the United States Capitol Police,” he said. The House impeached Trump for inciting an insurrection, but when 43 Senate Republicans voted against the charge, he was acquitted in the Senate.