Capitol Police chief apologizes for security failures during the assault, including a delay in calling for Guard troops.
The acting chief of the Capitol Police apologized to Congress on Tuesday for the agency’s massive security failures on Jan. 6, acknowledging during a closed-door briefing that the department knew there was a “strong potential for violence” but failed to take adequate steps to prevent what she described as a “terrorist attack.”
Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of police, also confirmed that the Capitol Police Board, an obscure panel made up of three voting members, had initially declined a request two days earlier for National Guard troops and then delayed for more than an hour as the violence unfolded on Jan. 6 before finally agreeing to a plea from the Capitol Police for National Guard troops, according to prepared testimony obtained by The New York Times.
In an extraordinary admission, Ms. Pittman, who was not the acting chief at the time of the siege, told members of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the agency, that the Capitol Police “failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours.” She added, “I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department.”
Her comments offered the fullest detailed account to date about police preparations on Jan. 6 in which thousands of angry protesters, believing false claims that the election had been stolen, marched on the Capitol at the behest of former President Donald J. Trump.
Speaking by video conference in a virtual briefing, Ms. Pittman told the subcommittee that the department “should have been more prepared for this attack,” according to the remarks.
Ms. Pittman said that her department knew Jan. 6 would be unlike previous protests. She said her department knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would descend on Washington, D.C.
“We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event,” she said. “We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target. The Department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough.”
She said the Capitol Police had 1,200 people working on site when the attack occurred, which was “no match” for “the tens of thousands of insurrectionists.”
Two days before the attack, Steven Sund, then the chief of the Capitol Police, requested that the Capitol Police Board declare a state of emergency and authorize a request to secure National Guard support. The board denied the request, according to Ms. Pittman, but encouraged Mr. Sund to contact the National Guard to determine how many guardsman could be sent to the Capitol on short notice, which he did.
As the protesters became an increasing threat to the Capitol on Jan. 6, Mr. Sund asked for more help from federal agencies and law enforcement agencies in the area. “He also lobbied the Board for authorization to bring in the National Guard, but he was not granted authorization for over an hour,” she said.
Capitol Riot Fallout
From Riot to Impeachment
The riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, followed a rally at which President Trump made an inflammatory speech to his supporters, questioning the results of the election. Here’s a look at what happened and the ongoing fallout:
- As this video shows, poor planning and a restive crowd encouraged by President Trump set the stage for the riot.
- A two hour period was crucial to turning the rally into the riot.
- Several Trump administration officials, including cabinet members Betsy DeVos and Elaine Chao, announced that they were stepping down as a result of the riot.
- Federal prosecutors have charged more than 70 people, including some who appeared in viral photos and videos of the riot. Officials expect to eventually charge hundreds of others.
- The House voted to impeach the president on charges of “inciting an insurrection” that led to the rampage by his supporters.
Source: Read Full Article