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Report:Capitol Police Unprepared Jan 6 04/14 06:17

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A blistering internal report by the U.S. Capitol Police 
describes a multitude of missteps that left the force unprepared for the Jan. 6 
insurrection -- riot shields that shattered upon impact, expired weapons that 
couldn't be used, inadequate training and an intelligence division that had few 
set standards.

   The watchdog report released internally last month, obtained by The 
Associated Press ahead of a congressional hearing Thursday, adds to what is 
already known about broader security and intelligence failures that Congress 
has been investigating since hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters 
laid siege to the Capitol.

   In an extensive and detailed timeline of that day, the report describes 
conversations between officials as they disagreed on whether National Guard 
forces were necessary to back up the understaffed Capitol Police force. It 
quotes an Army official as telling then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund that 
"we don't like the optics of the National Guard standing in a line at the 
Capitol" after the insurrectionists had already broken in.

   Inspector General Michael A. Bolton found that the department's deficiencies 
were -- and remain -- widespread. Equipment was old and stored badly, leaders 
had failed to act on previous recommendations to improve intelligence, and 
there was a broad lack of current policies or procedures for the Civil 
Disturbance Unit, a division that existed to ensure that legislative functions 
of Congress were not disrupted by civil unrest or protest activity. That was 
exactly what happened on Jan. 6 as Trump's supporters sought to overturn the 
election in his favor as Congress counted the Electoral College votes.

   The report comes as the Capitol Police force has plunging morale and has 
edged closer to crisis as many officers have been working extra shifts and 
forced overtime to protect the Capitol after the insurrection. Acting Chief 
Yogananda Pittman received a vote of no confidence from the union in February, 
reflecting widespread distrust among the rank and file.

   The entire force is also grieving the deaths of two of their own -- Officer 
Brian Sicknick, who collapsed and died after engaging with protesters on Jan. 
6, and Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was killed April 2 when he was hit by 
a car that rammed into a barricade outside the Senate. Evans laid in honor in 
the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday.

   The Capitol Police have so far refused to publicly release the report -- 
marked throughout as "law enforcement sensitive" -- despite congressional 
pressure to do so. House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, 
D-Calif., issued a statement in March that she had been briefed on the report, 
along with another internal document, and that it contained "detailed and 
disturbing findings and important recommendations." Bolton was expected to 
testify before her panel on Thursday.

   The report focuses heavily on failure of equipment and training Jan. 6 as 
Capitol Police were quickly overwhelmed by around 800 of Trump's supporters who 
pushed past them, beat them and broke windows and doors to get into the 
building. It also looks at missed intelligence as the insurrectionists planned 
the attack openly online, and as various agencies sent warnings that were 
disseminated incorrectly.

   Bolton found that in many cases department equipment had expired but was not 
replaced and some of it was more than 20 years old. Riot shields that shattered 
upon impact as the officers fended off the violent mob had been improperly 
stored, Bolton found. Some weapons that could have fired tear gas were so old 
that officers didn't feel comfortable using them. Other weapons that could have 
done more to disperse the crowd were never staged ahead of the rally, and those 
who were ordered to get back-up supplies to the officers on the front lines 
could not make it through the aggressive crowd.

   In other cases, weapons weren't used because of "orders from leadership," 
the report says. Those weapons -- called "less lethal" because they are 
designed to disperse, not kill -- could have allowed the police to better push 
back the rioters as they moved toward the building, according to the report.

   In terms of the Civil Disturbance Unit, the report said there was a total 
lack of policy and procedure, and many officers didn't want to be a part of it. 
There were not enough guidelines for when to activate the unit, how to issue 
gear, what tactics to use or lay out the command structure. Some of the 
policies hadn't been updated in more than a decade and there was no firm roster 
of who was even in the division. The unit was at a "decreased level of 
readiness and preparedness" because there were no standards for equipment, the 
report said.

   Bolton also laid out many of the missed intelligence signals -- including a 
report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security in December that 
forwarded messages posted on forums supportive of Trump that appeared to be 
planning for Jan. 6. One part of that document included a map of Capitol 
tunnels that someone had posted. "Take note," the message said.

   The report looks at a missed memo from the FBI in which online activists 
predicted a "war" on Jan. 6 -- Sund told Senate investigators last month he 
never saw it. Bolton also details the force's own internal reports, which he 
said were inconsistent. One Capitol Police report predicted that the protesters 
could become violent, but Sund testified before the Senate in February that 
internal assessments had said violence was "improbable."

   On intelligence, Bolton said, there was a lack of adequate training and 
guidance for dissemination within the department. There were no policies or 
procedures for open source data gathering -- such as gathering information from 
the online Trump forums -- and analysts "may not be aware of the proper methods 
of conducting open source intelligence work."

   A timeline attached to the report gives a more detailed look at Capitol 
Police movements, commands and conversations as the day unfolded and they 
scrambled to move staff and equipment to multiple fronts where people were 
breaking in.

   The timeline sheds new light on conversations in which Sund begged for 
National Guard support. Sund and others, including the head of the D.C. 
National Guard, have testified that Pentagon officials were concerned about the 
optics of sending help.

   The document gives the clearest proof of that concern yet, quoting Army 
Staff Secretary Walter Piatt telling Sund and others on a call that "we don't 
like the optics" of the National Guard at the Capitol and he would recommend 
not sending them. That was at 2:26 p.m., as rioters had already broken through 
windows and as Sund desperately asked for the help.

   The Pentagon eventually approved the Guard's presence, and Guard members 
arrived after 5 p.m. While they were waiting, Sund also had a teleconference 
with Vice President Mike Pence, the timeline shows. Pence was in a secure 
location in the Capitol because he had overseen the counting of the votes, and 
some of the rioters were calling for his hanging because he had indicated he 
would not try to overturn President Joe Biden's election win.

   The AP reported Saturday that Pence also had a conversation that day with 
acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller in which he directed that he "Clear 
the Capitol."

 
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