A Senate inquiry into the deadly attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6 discovered severe intelligence failures across numerous agencies, as well as systemic law enforcement and military failings that contributed to the incident.
There were strong warnings and reports that Trump supporters, including right-wing extremist organizations, were planned to “storm the Capitol” with guns and perhaps penetrate the building’s tunnel system.
However, the information was never passed on to the highest possible efficiency. As a result, there was mayhem.
This, from Acting Sec Def Miller, is pretty striking:
"On the afternoon of January 5, I received a call from the President in connection with a rally by his supporters that day…He commented that 'they' were going to need 10,000 troops the following day."https://t.co/ogTjglQEgb
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 7, 2021
After confronting the assailants, who swiftly overpowered them and burst inside the building, cops on the front lines suffered chemical burns, brain damage, and shattered bones, among other medical problems, according to a Senate investigation issued Tuesday.
When command systems failed, officers told Senate investigators they were left with no leadership or guidance.
The Senate report is the first — and maybe the last — nonpartisan examination of how hundreds of Trump supporters were able to get into the Capitol that day, brutally bypassing security lines and disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
"I could hear my fellow officer screaming in agony," says Capitol police officer Aquilino Gonell of the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, DC.
"All I could think of was we can't let these people in. It's going to be a slaughter inside." pic.twitter.com/aq0MvK1Bes
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) June 4, 2021
The report’s shortcomings demonstrated how, some 20 years after the September 11 attacks, US intelligence services are still plagued by a basic problem: a lack of imagination.
The study suggests urgent reforms, such as giving the Capitol Police commander greater power, improving law enforcement planning and equipment, and streamlining information collection among federal agencies.
The study, however, as a nonpartisan endeavor, does not dive into the core reasons of the attack, including Trump’s involvement in calling for his followers to “fight like hell” to overturn his electoral setback on that day.
It's not complicated. Trump told white nationalists, domestic terrorists to go to the Capital and 'fight like hell.' And, they did.#NeverForgetJanuary6th
— Southern Sister Resister – Wordsmith #IAmTheStorm (@ResisterSis20) June 4, 2021
It does not refer to the attack as an insurrection, despite the fact that it was. It comes only two weeks after Republicans rejected a bipartisan, independent committee from looking into the conflict more thoroughly.
“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan stated, the chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which conducted the investigation along with the Senate Rules Committee.
“But it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly, as a country and as a democracy.”
— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) June 7, 2021
The results, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, highlight the necessity for a bipartisan panel to examine the fundamental causes of the attack, pointing to Trump’s unsubstantiated statements about the 2020 election.
“As the ‘big lie’ continues to spread, as faith in our elections continues to decline, it is crucial — crucial — that we establish a trusted, independent record of what transpired,” said Schumer, (D-NY).
However, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who spearheaded the filibuster against the commission, said he believes the continuing legislative and law enforcement inspections would suffice.
** Here's what I'm watching for: Because feds say Donohoe is a risk of organizing future incidents, will there be any reference from prosecutors or judge to the Big Lie? Or those who promote it? pic.twitter.com/tgxCeqwId3
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) June 9, 2021
The House of Representatives passed legislation in May to establish a commission styled after the 9/11 commission.
In a letter to House colleagues on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), said that if the Senate fails to authorize the panel, her chamber would initiate its own investigations.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the rules panel, has spoken out against the commission, claiming that an inquiry would take too long.
Cruz is weak and worried. https://t.co/nLrNPQPjBG
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) January 3, 2021
He claimed that Senate suggestions, such as legislation he and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the rules committee chair, plan to propose soon to give the chief of Capitol Police additional ability to request National Guard support, can be adopted faster.
The Guard was delayed for hours on Jan. 6 while officials from numerous departments conducted procedural measures to release the troops, according to the Senate report.
It covers hours of phone discussions between Capitol and Pentagon officials, as the then-Chief of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, pleaded for assistance.
An army of 8,000 pro-Trump demonstrators streamed down Pennsylvania Avenue after hearing Trump speak near the White House. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund had asked for help prior to the day and now begged again to augment his 1,500 troops. Six times! https://t.co/BAhs9TDT8x
— Grandmas Web (@GrandmasWeb) January 11, 2021
As Capitol Police were being overrun and savagely battered by the assailants, the Pentagon spent hours “mission planning” and obtaining many levels of permissions, according to the report.
It also claims that the Defense Department’s cautious approach was inspired by criticism of its harsh response to protesters in the summer of 2020 following the police shooting of George Floyd.
The Capitol Police Board, which is made up of the chiefs of security for the House and Senate, as well as the Architect of the Capitol, has been frequently criticized by the senators.
A Capitol Police officer knocked unconscious on January 6 has condemned Capitol rioters for injuring police and robbing her of the ability to do her job.
"When will I be free … of my brain injury? When will I be free and whole again?" https://t.co/XrsEwe4lm3
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 6, 2021
Even in emergency situations, the board must now accept the police chief’s proposals.
After senators discovered on Jan. 6 that three board members did not comprehend their own jurisdiction and could not outline the legislative requirements for seeking National Guard aid, the report recommended that members “regularly review the policies and procedures.”
In the days following the incident, two of the three board members, the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, were driven out. Under duress, Capitol Police Chief Sund resigned.
This passage from the new Senate Rules Committee report on failures on January 6 is haunting
A Capitol Police officer said "We were ill-prepared… we were not informed….. we were betrayed" pic.twitter.com/tcT2nyYlme
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) June 8, 2021
After numerous failings from different agencies that failed to forecast the attack despite insurgents preparing it publicly on the internet, the study advises an unified intelligence unit inside the Capitol Police.
According to the report, the police intelligence unit “knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharing of maps of the Capitol Complex’s tunnel systems, and other specific threats of violence,” but agents failed to properly inform leaders of everything they had discovered.
Someone contacted a public Capitol Police account on Dec. 28 and warned of “countless tweets from Trump supporters saying they will be armed on January 6th” and “tweets from people organizing to ‘storm the Capitol,” according to the report. Internal alerts were also issued about an increase in posting on various websites depicting maps of the Capitol, including its underground tunnels. However, such details were never widely shared.
Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about Jan. 6 than previously known, including violence in which "Congress itself is the target." But officers were instructed not to use the most aggressive tactics against the mob, according to a new IG report.https://t.co/bL6YS76bp7
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 14, 2021
The Capitol Police acknowledged the need for reforms in response to the study, and stated that some are already being made. “Law enforcement agencies across the country rely on intelligence, and the quality of that intelligence can mean the difference between life and death,” according to the statement.
Bad information, poor preparation, inadequate equipment, and a lack of leadership, according to the study, harmed Capitol Police during the attack. During the battle, the force’s incident command system “broke down,” leaving officers on the front lines without commands. There were no working incident commanders, and some senior officers were arguing rather than issuing commands. According to the study, Capitol Police “leadership never took control of the radio system to communicate orders to front-line officers.”
The IG found the the Capitol Police were told by their leadership not to use aggressive tactics to push back the mob on Jan 6!
And warnings about the attack were ignored!!!
— Feisty is fully vaccinated and very grateful! (@FeistyLibLady) April 14, 2021
In an anonymous statement to the committee, one officer said, “I was horrified that NO deputy chief or above was on the radio or helping us.” “For hours the screams on the radio were horrific(,) the sights were unimaginable and there was a complete loss of control. … For hours NO Chief or above took command and control. Officers were begging and pleading for help for medical triage .”
The lack of communication was caused by “incident commanders being overwhelmed and engaging with rioters, rather than issuing orders over the radio,” according to Yogananda Pittman, the interim chief who succeeded Sund following his departure.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) May 10, 2021
The cops interviewed by the committee described “absolutely brutal” abuse from Trump fans as they trampled over them and burst inside the facility. Officers claimed they heard racist remarks and saw Nazi salutes. One officer attempting to flee the Senate reported he was halted by several guys in full tactical gear who told him, “You better get out of our way, boy, or we’ll go through you to get (the senators).”
The insurgents threatened to assassinate police officers, then members of Congress.
At the same time, the senators praise the officers’ gallantry, noting that one officer told them, “The officers inside all behaved admirably and heroically and, even outnumbered, went on the offensive and took the Capitol back.”