USPC Acknowledge Need to Improve Intel Amid Senate Report on Capitol Riots

Security Staff
The security staff are seen near the U.S. Capitol building a day after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump stormed it in Washington, D.C., the United States, Jan. 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

The US Capitol Police (USPC) recognizes the need to boost their intelligence amid a damning report by bipartisan Senate committees, the service said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Capitol Attack Report, published on Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Senate Committee on Rules has uncovered a string of intelligence and security failures leading up to and on January 6 that allowed Donald Trump’s supporters to breach the Capitol building.

“As a consumer of federal intelligence, the Department leadership agrees improvements are needed specific to intelligence analysis and dissemination,” the statement said. “Law enforcement agencies across the country rely on intelligence, and the quality of that intelligence can mean the difference between life and death. The USCP also acknowledges it must improve how it collects and shares intelligence with its own officers and stakeholders and has made significant changes since the attack on January 6.”

The USCP also stressed in the statement that it receives intelligence from every federal agency, however, it did not get any actionable intelligence about a large-scale attack before January 6.

“Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew thousands of rioters were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol,” it added. “The known intelligence simply didn’t support that conclusion.”

The storming became the worst attack on the Capitol in more than two centuries. It interrupted a session that was about to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win, sending lawmakers scurrying for shelter as rioters entered the hallways and offices of Congresspeople.

In their 128-page joint report, the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees established that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the US Capitol Police intelligence offices knew about preparations for violence weeks ahead of the attack — including the sharing of Capitol tunnel plans online — but they failed to convey the full scope of threat information they possessed to the USCP leadership.

As a result, the USCP did not have an operational plan for the storming. The USCP leadership also failed to provide front-line officers with protective equipment or training in basic civil disturbance tactics, while “opaque” processes at the USCP board slowed requests for the National Guard support. It began arriving more than four hours after barriers at the Capitol were breached.

As the attack unfolded, the USCP command system broke down spectacularly, leaving front-line officers without information or instructions, while senior officers were directly engaged with rioters and USCP leadership never took control of the radio system.

As one officer noted, “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.”

Officers said they did not recall hearing USCP chief Steven Sund on the radio at any point during the attack and only heard his deputy, Yogananda Pittman, once — when she ordered a lockdown of the Capitol building.

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