Senators Grilled Law Enforcement Leadership About the Capitol Riot. We Still Don’t Know What Exactly Went Wrong

Senators grilled top officials in charge of responding to the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob for hours at a joint hearing on Tuesday. But despite being some of the key decision makers leading up to the insurrection, the law enforcement leaders offered little insight into how the chain of command broke down, resulting in the deadly breach of the Capitol.

There was a general consensus among the four witnesses that there should be further review and changes made to prevent something similar from happening again. But the testimony of the officials—former chief of U.S. Capitol Police Steven Sund, former House and Senate sergeants at arms Paul Irving and Michael Stenger, and the acting Chief of DC Metropolitan Police Robert Contee—left open serious questions about why they didn’t see the threat coming.

“Based on the intelligence that we received, we planned for an increased level of violence at the Capitol, and that some participants may be armed. But none of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” Sund said. “I acknowledge that under the pressure of an unprecedented attack, a number of systems broke down.”

Why and how exactly they broke down is still unclear, including failures to foresee the possibility of violence on this scale and a significant delay before the National Guard came to respond while the onslaught was underway. Those failures left the Capitol vulnerable to the deadly attack by extremists that directly threatened the lives of lawmakers, congressional staff, and police officers, and disrupted the certification of the Electoral College results at the heart of the transfer of power. An inability to diagnose the problems that plagued law enforcement that day could leave the U.S. government exposed to future attacks.

Sund sought to cast the Capitol Police—the agency he oversaw until his resignation in the wake of the attack—as a “consumer” of information provided by the U.S. intelligence community. “There’s significant evidence coming out that the insurrection that occurred on the 6th was planned, coordinated well in advance,” Sund said. “It’s that detection that I think would have been key to put the effective security in place for this event.”

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But not only did much of the planning for the storming of the Capitol happen in plain sight, at least one significant piece of intelligence that officials received ahead of the attack was apparently not passed on to some of the highest-ranking security officials on Capitol Hill.

Sund, Stenger and Irving all said they did not see a threat report issued by an FBI office in Virginia that detailed online threats related to Jan. 6. Sund said that he only found out within “the last 24 hours” that his agency received the FBI report on Jan. 5, a day before the attack.

The Jan. 6 rally had been planned for months, and was meant to be the culmination of several “Stop the Steal” protests across the country, including two large demonstrations in Washington in …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

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