By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Michael Bilasamo and Lisa Moscow, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – Witnessing for the first time about the uprising in the US Capitol, former security officials blamed flawed intelligence for the catastrophic failure to anticipate the violent intentions of the mob attacking the building and the presidential election certification Interrupted.
Officers, including the former head of the Capitol Police, are blaming other federal agencies – and each other – as supporters of then-President Donald Trump for their failure to protect the building by breaking security barriers, windows and doors, and House and Senate chambers sending fleeing lawmakers. They say they expected the protests to be similar to two Trump events in late 2020 that were far less violent.
Former chief of the Capitol Police Steven Sundar described a scene that was nothing like “seen in 30 years of policing”.
“When the group came to the periphery, they acted like none of the group of protesters I’d ever seen,” the evicted chief said, the rebellion was not the result of poor planning, but board failures from multiple agencies . Officer.
“Any civilian law enforcement agency – and certainly not the USCP – retrains, insures thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated individuals without trained and significant military or other law enforcement assistance, who break down a building for all costs Focuses on, ”Sundar said.
The joint hearing is part of a January 6 investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, when officials have publicly testified about the events of that day. In addition to Sundar, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, and Metropolitan Police Department police acting Robert Conte, are testifying.
Soon after the fatal attack, Sundar, Irving and Stanger resigned under pressure.
“We should have the facts and the answers are in this room,” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Amy Klobuchar said at the beginning of the hearing.
Much is unknown about what happened before and during the attack. How much did law enforcement agencies know about the plans for the violence of that day, many of which were public? How did the agencies share that information with each other? And how could the Capitol Police be made so ill for a violent rebellion that was conducted online?
Sundar told lawmakers that he found out only after the attack that his officers had received a report from the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia that forecast, by extension, the possibility that extremists would “war” in Washington the next day Can. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the January 5 warning, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Sundar said on Tuesday that an officer of the task force had received that memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police, but this information was not disclosed to any other observers. . Sundar said that he was not aware of it.
Senate Homeland Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mise., Said the failure to reach the head of the intelligence report was clearly a major problem. “How can you not get that critical intelligence?” He asked.
“This information would have been helpful,” Sundar replied.
Authorities disagreed when the National Guard was called in and requested the guards in advance. Sundar said he had talked to both Stenger and Irving about requesting the National Guard in the days before the riot, and Irving said he was concerned about the “optics” of attending them.
Irving denies that Sundar’s account is “clearly incorrect”. Security, not optics, determined their security posture, he said, and the top question was whether intelligence supported the decision.
“We all agreed intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go,” Stanger said. They said they were satisfied at the time that Congress had a “strong” plan to protect it.
After smashing through the barriers in the perimeter, the invaders engaged in hand-to-hand combat with police officers, injuring dozens of them, and breaking through several windows and doors, sending MPs to the House and Sent from the Senate chambers and disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Five people died as a result of the violence, including a Capitol police officer and a woman who was shot dead by police as she tried to break down the door of the House chamber with MPs.
The hearing is one of several examinations that took place that day, almost seven weeks after the attack and a week after the Senate voted to incite the rebellion by asking former President Donald Trump to “fight hell” to his supporters Was. Overturned his election defeat. Thousands of National Guard troops still cut the streets and sidewalks, encircling the Capitol in a wide perimeter, usually filled with cars, pedestrians and tourists.
Congress is also reviewing a bipartisan, independent commission, which has an independent commission to review corruption, and several congressional committees have said they will look into various aspects of the siege. Federal law enforcement has arrested more than 230 people who were charged with involvement in the attack, and nominated President Joe Biden for Attorney General, Judge Merrick Garland said Monday in his confirmation hearing of the riots. Testing will be a top priority.
The senators specifically focus on the timing of the deployment of the National Guard, who eventually arrived to help overwhelmed police, how security agencies shared information before the attack and if the Capitol Police Board’s command structure, including the House and Senate Includes Sergeant-at-Arms, contributing to failures.
Tuesday’s hearing is the first of at least two public examinations that went wrong that day as the Senate panel conducted a joint investigation into security failures. A second hearing, expected to take place in the next few weeks, will examine the response of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
Interim Capital Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, who temporarily replaced Sundar, apologized last month for failing to make preparations despite warnings that white supremacists and far-right groups would target the Congress.
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