Security Officials Say Poor Intelligence Contributed to Jan. 6 Riot

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified before Congress Tuesday, defending steps taken by his agency to prepare for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and blaming the disaster in part on what he called intelligence failures. Photo: Erin Scott/Pool

Video Transcript

STEVEN SUND: No civilian law enforcement agency, to include the United States Capitol Police, is trained or equipped to repel an insurrection of thousands of individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs. I am extremely proud and appreciative of the Capitol Police officers, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the other law enforcement agencies that came to our assistance. A clear lack of accurate and complete intelligence across several federal agencies contributed to this event, and not poor planning by the United States Capitol Police. We rely on accurate information from our federal partners to help us develop effective security plans.

The intelligence that we based our planning on indicated that the January 6th protest was expected to be similar to the previous MAGA rallies in 2020, which drew tens of thousands of participants. The assessment indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, antifa, and other extremist groups were expected to participate on January 6th, and that they may be inclined to become violent. Based on the intelligence that we received, we planned for an increased level of violence at the capital, and that some participants may be armed. But none of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred.

Extensive preparations were put into place for January 6th that included the full activation of the Department, intelligence and information sharing with our federal and local partners and Department officials, implementing a significant enhancement for member protection, extensive operational enhancements to include significant civil disobedience deployment and an expanded perimeter. We also distributed additional protective equipment for our officers and coordinated outside agency support.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: I guess I'll start with you, Mr. Sund. When a critical intelligence report is received by the Capitol Police from an intelligence community source like the FBI, who usually would receive it? And I guess I'll start with, did you receive this report?

STEVEN SUND: Thank you very much for the question, ma'am. I actually, just in the last 24 hours, was informed by the Department that they actually had received that report. It was received by what we call-- it's one of our sworn members that's assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is a task force with the FBI. They received it the evening of the 5th, reviewed it, and then forwarded over to an official at the intelligence division over at US Capitol Police Headquarters.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: And so you hadn't seen it yourself?

STEVEN SUND: No, ma'am. It did not go any further than that.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: OK. And then was it sent to the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms?

STEVEN SUND: I don't believe it went any farther than from over to the Sergeant at the intelligence [? division. ?]

AMY KLOBUCHAR: OK. And Mr. Irving, Mr. Stenger, did you get that report? Beforehand? Mr. Stenger, did you get the report?

MICHAEL STENGER: No.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: OK. Mr. Irving?

PAUL IRVING: I did not.