Former US Capitol police chief Steven Sund testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington.(AP)
Former US Capitol police chief Steven Sund testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington.(AP)

US security officials cast blame for January 6 failures at Capitol

The officials, including the former chief of the Capitol Police, are blaming other federal agencies — and each other — for their failure to defend the building.
AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 10:00 PM IST

Testifying publicly for the first time about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, former security officials say that bad intelligence was to blame for the disastrous failure to anticipate the violent intentions of the mob. That left them unprepared for the attack that was unlike anything they had ever seen before.

The officials, including the former chief of the Capitol Police, are blaming other federal agencies — and each other — for their failure to defend the building as supporters of then-President Donald Trump overwhelmed security barriers, breaking windows and doors and sending lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund described a scene that was “like nothing” he had seen in his 30 years of policing.

“When the group arrived at the perimeter, they did not act like any group of protestors I had ever seen," the ousted chief said, arguing that the insurrection was not the result of poor planning but of failures across the board from many agencies.

Congress was hearing for the first time from Capitol security officials about the massive law enforcement failures on Jan. 6, the day the violent mob laid siege to the building and interrupted the presidential electoral count.

“We must have the facts, and the answers are in this room," Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said at the beginning of the hearing.

Three of the four scheduled to testify Tuesday before two Senate committees resigned under pressure immediately after the deadly attack, including Sund.

Much remains unknown about what happened before and during the assault. How much did law enforcement agencies know about plans for violence that day, many of which were public? How did the agencies share that information with each other? And how could the Capitol Police have been so ill-prepared for a violent insurrection that was organized online?

Read | US Capitol security chiefs give differing accounts of January 6 riot

After smashing through the barriers at the perimeter, the invaders engaged in hand-to-hand combat with police officers, injuring dozens of them, and broke through multiple windows and doors, sending lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers and interrupting 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 by police as she tried to break through the doors of the House chamber with lawmakers still inside.

Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving are speaking publicly for the first time since their resignations at the hearing, which is part of a joint investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee. They are joined by Sund and Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, who sent additional officers to the scene after the rioting began.

The hearing is the first of many examinations of what happened that day, coming almost seven weeks after the attack and over one week after the Senate voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting the insurrection by telling his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat. Thousands of National Guard troops still surround the Capitol in a wide perimeter, cutting off streets and sidewalks that are normally full of cars, pedestrians and tourists.

Congress is also considering a bipartisan, independent commission to review the missteps, and multiple congressional committees have said they will look at different aspects of the siege. Federal law enforcement have arrested more than 230 people who were accused of being involved in the attack, and President Joe Biden's nominee for attorney general, Judge Merrick Garland, said in his confirmation hearing Monday that investigating the riots would be a top priority.

Congress needs to know, quickly, how failed security preparations and delays in the response led to “a mad, angry mob invading this temple of our democracy,” Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., said senators are especially focused on the timing of the deployment of the National Guard, which eventually arrived to help the overwhelmed police, how security agencies shared information ahead of the attack and if the command structure of the Capitol Police Board, which includes the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, contributed to the failures. She said there may be legislation to address any inadequacies.

“We are on a fast track here simply because decisions have to be made about the Capitol,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar said Tuesday’s hearing is the first of at least two public examinations of what went wrong that day as the Senate panels undertake a joint investigation into the security failures. A second hearing, expected to be held in the next few weeks, will examine the response of the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

While there is broad agreement that security measures were inadequate that day, officials have pointed the blame at each other for the causes and disputed each others’ accounts. The day after the riot, Sund said that his force “had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities.” It soon became clear that while the Capitol Police had prepared for protests, they were vastly unprepared for a violent insurrection — and many were beaten as they tried in vain to keep rioters from entering the building.

Interim Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, who has temporarily replaced Sund, last month apologized for failing to prepare despite warnings that white supremacists and far-right groups would target Congress. But she also said that Sund had asked the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the department, to declare a state of emergency beforehand and allow him to request National Guard support, but the board declined. The Defense Department has said it asked the Capitol Police if it needed the Guard, but the request was denied.

A third member of the Capitol Police Board denied Pittman’s claim hours after her testimony was released. J. Brett Blanton, who serves as the architect of the Capitol, said that Sund did not ask him for help and that there was “no record of a request for an emergency declaration.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close
Harry and Meghan interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. (Reuters)
Harry and Meghan interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. (Reuters)

British minister says on Meghan interview: 'No place for racism in our society'

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:13 PM IST
  • Meghan, the wife of Prince Harry, accused Britain's royal family of raising concerns about how dark their son's skin might be and pushing her to the brink of suicide, in a tell-all television interview that will send shockwaves through the monarchy.
Close
Harry and Meghan are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in this undated hand-out photo. (REUTERS)
Harry and Meghan are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in this undated hand-out photo. (REUTERS)

Meghan, Harry say UK royals were worried ‘how dark’ their son Archie would be

By Yashwant Raj I Edited by Nadim Siraj
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:06 PM IST
In another revelation that underlines the former royal couple’s estranged relationship with Buckingham Palace, Harry and Meghan said they were financially cut off by the UK royal family
Close
With Biden now cruising to his first legislative victory less than two months after proposing his relief bill, economists have baked its effects into their forecasts for a stronger recovery in 2021.(AP Photo)
With Biden now cruising to his first legislative victory less than two months after proposing his relief bill, economists have baked its effects into their forecasts for a stronger recovery in 2021.(AP Photo)

Joe Biden’s giant stimulus to easily pass House, say Democrats

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:04 PM IST
Progressive House Democrats are already turning their attention to getting their proposals in a second budget reconciliation bill -- which allows for Senate approval by a simple majority.
Close
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, while speaking during a news conference in Hong Kong, China.(Bloomberg)
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, while speaking during a news conference in Hong Kong, China.(Bloomberg)

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam 'fully welcomes' proposed electoral changes

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:04 PM IST
  • Chinese authorities have said the draft decision before China's National People’s Congress would mean the largely pro-Beijing committee that elects Hong Kong’s leader would also choose a large part of the legislature to ensure that the city is run by “patriots.”
Close
A doctor looks at the vial before receiving a vaccine, as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam,(Reuters)
A doctor looks at the vial before receiving a vaccine, as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam,(Reuters)

Vietnam vaccinates Covid-19 front-liners with its 1st doses

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:58 PM IST
  • The Southeast Asian nation of 96 million people has a goal to inoculate at least half of the population by the end of the year.
Close
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern(Reuters)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern(Reuters)

Royal interview unlikely to affect New Zealand

AP, Wellington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:58 PM IST
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked by a reporter whether the unflattering picture of the British royal family painted by Harry and Meghan had given her pause about New Zealand's constitutional ties to Britain.
Close
Pope Francis boards a plane upon concluding his visit to Iraq at Baghdad airport, Iraq, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)(AP)
Pope Francis boards a plane upon concluding his visit to Iraq at Baghdad airport, Iraq, Monday, March 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)(AP)

Pope leaves Iraq for Rome after historic whirlwind visit

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:41 PM IST
As the pope's plane took off, Iraqi President Barham Salih was at hand on the tarmac, waving goodbye.
Close
Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.(Bloomberg)
Vials of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.(Bloomberg)

Malaysia to buy more Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:39 PM IST
  • The Southeast Asian country last month embarked on a nationwide vaccination programme, targeting to inoculate 80% of its 32 million people by February 2022.
Close
A man rides a motorbike with a woman wearing a burqa sitting behind along a road in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province.(AFP)
A man rides a motorbike with a woman wearing a burqa sitting behind along a road in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province.(AFP)

As US mulls Afghan exit, activist sees long fight for women

AP, Kabul
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:46 PM IST
Under a 2020 deal between the Taliban and the Trump administration, all US troops are to leave Afghanistan by May 1. The Biden administration says it's reviewing the deal, suggesting it may not meet the deadline.
Close
First lady Jill Biden speaks while visiting a robotics lab as she tours Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pa., Wednesday, March 3, 2021.(AP)
First lady Jill Biden speaks while visiting a robotics lab as she tours Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pa., Wednesday, March 3, 2021.(AP)

Jill Biden sees teachable moment in the depths of a pandemic

AP, Waterford
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:27 PM IST
A teacher herself, Biden praised the small circle of parents, teachers and administrators for working together to help reopen Fort LeBoeuf.
Close
US President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses in response to coronavirus, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 22, 2021. (AFP/FILE)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the American Rescue Plan and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses in response to coronavirus, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 22, 2021. (AFP/FILE)

China tells Biden to reverse 'dangerous practice' on Taiwan

AP, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:26 PM IST
The claim to Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949, is an “insurmountable red line,” Wang Yi said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial legislature.
Close
Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said UKPNP is opposed to the use of religion as a weapon and terrorism as a foreign policy tool.(AP File Photo)
Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said UKPNP is opposed to the use of religion as a weapon and terrorism as a foreign policy tool.(AP File Photo)

UKPNP Chairman says part of J-K illegally held by Pakistan since 1947

ANI, Geneva
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 12:14 PM IST
According to a UN resolution, Pakistan is obligated to ensure life, liberty, the dignity of the people of Pakistan-occupied and Gilgit Baltistan, the chairman said.
Close
Meghan Markle gives an interview to Oprah Winfrey in this undated handout photo.(VIA REUTERS)
Meghan Markle gives an interview to Oprah Winfrey in this undated handout photo.(VIA REUTERS)

'Realised soon royal family wouldn't protect me,' says Meghan Markle

AP, Montecito
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 09:56 AM IST
In their pre-taped interview on Sunday night, Meghan also said, when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born.”
Close
(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 27, 2017 Britain's Prince Harry and his fianc�e US actress Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London, following the announcement of their engagement. - Meghan Markle has experienced remarkable highs and lows during a tumultuous period in which she married into royalty and became a mother before souring on life in Britain and returning to the United States. The 39-year-old American former television actress shot to global stardom with her engagement to Prince Harry in 2017 and their fairytale wedding six months later. She gave birth to their son, Archie, in 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)(AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 27, 2017 Britain's Prince Harry and his fianc�e US actress Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in west London, following the announcement of their engagement. - Meghan Markle has experienced remarkable highs and lows during a tumultuous period in which she married into royalty and became a mother before souring on life in Britain and returning to the United States. The 39-year-old American former television actress shot to global stardom with her engagement to Prince Harry in 2017 and their fairytale wedding six months later. She gave birth to their son, Archie, in 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)(AFP)

It's a girl, Meghan Markle and Harry tell Oprah

AP, Montecito
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 09:09 AM IST
Harry said "to have a boy and then a girl, what more can you ask for? But now we've got our family. We've got the four of us and our two dogs."
Close
Intricacies during pregnancy connected to higher risk of death(Unsplash)
Intricacies during pregnancy connected to higher risk of death(Unsplash)

Women can be fired for pregnancy in 28 nations, says World Bank’s Reinhart

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 08:54 AM IST
The pandemic has contributed to an increase in violence against women and is reinforcing gender inequality in many countries, with women on average having roughly three-quarters of the legal rights of men, according to the World Bank.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP