UPDATED 10:47 AM PT – Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Senators are taking the first-steps in investigating what went down on January 6 in our nation’s capitol. On Tuesday, top Democrats and Republicans probed security officials on how they prepared for possible threats of violence.
Among those who testified were former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and acting D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee III. Both agreed that a lack of intelligence and a slow rollout of National Guard troops contributed to their forces being under-prepared.
“Based on the intelligence that we received, we planned for an increased level of violence at the Capitol,” Sund stated. “And that some participants may be armed, but none of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred.”
Sund and Contee accused several intelligence agencies of failing to inform them about brewing violent unrest. They claimed they held several inter-agency meetings in the days prior where no entity, including the FBI, spoke up about any threats.
However, FBI agents from the bureau’s Norfolk, Virginia office claimed they sent the departments a detailed report specifying possible violent events. When pressed on whether they saw the report, Sund and Contee said it fell through the bureaucratic cracks. They then noted they were made aware of it after the event.
The officials also took aim at the Department of Defense over their slow response to calls to send the National Guard. Contee said he was stunned by the lack of urgency from the DOD. He said they were more concerned with the optics of a National Guard presence at the capitol than they were with taking immediate action.
Additionally, both Sund and Contee stressed they needed backup from the federal government as they were unequipped to handle the situation.
“No civilian law enforcement agency, to include the United States Capitol Police, is trained or equipped to repel an insurrection of thousands of individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” Sund stated.
Meanwhile, senators said this is the first of a larger series of hearings regarding the capitol protests. They vowed to hear testimony from other experts and officials. Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on lawmakers to support a 9/11-style commission to spearhead a full investigation into the protest.