WASHINGTON, D.C. — Security officials at the U.S. Capitol blamed communication failures between intelligence agencies and law enforcement for the security failures during the insurrection last month.
The leadership in charge of keeping the Capitol safe say they didn’t know the intelligence community had information about the imminent threat of violence and would have prepared differently if they did know.
“We properly planned for a mass demonstration with possible violence,” said former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. “What we got was a military-style coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol.”
Sund, who resigned after the attack, testified during the first Congressional hearing about the attack.
“Even our best efforts was not enough to stop this unprecedented assault,” Sund said.
“Why didn’t you and others involved be better prepared to confront the violence?” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked.
“We expanded the perimeter,” Sund said. “We took a number of steps to outfit our personnel with additional hard gear. We developed a plan for if we had protesters that may be armed.”
“But now you realize it wasn’t enough those security measures,” Klobuchar responded.
A 19-year veteran with the Capitol Police department described the lasting impact to the officers that day.
“I received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed to this day,” Capt. Carneysha Mendoza said.
Security officials told Congress they did their best based on the intelligence they had at the time.
“We all believed that the plan met the threat and that we were prepared. We now know that we had the wrong plan,” said Paul Irving, former Sergeant at Arms for the U.S. House of Representatives.
We now know the FBI issued an internal warning about the threat of violent extremists planning for war the day before the Capitol attack but Sund said the extent of that threat was never properly communicated to law enforcement.
“The focus going forward needs to be on the efforts to improve intelligence and the coordination of security measures between all involved agencies,” Sund said.
Another big question has been why it took so long to get National Guardsmen to the Capitol for help.
Lawmakers will question defense officials about that next week.
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