CAPITOL rioters reportedly came "prepared for war," but there was no FBI warning about the coordinated attack, the ex-police chief said.
Testifying publicly for the first time about the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, former security officials say that bad intelligence was to blame for the disastrous failure to anticipate the violent intentions of the mob.
They say they were left 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.
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.
He added: “I witnessed insurgents beating police officers with fists, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades, and flag poles. These criminals came prepared for war.”
Sund is testifying along with the former sergeants-at-arms of the House of Representatives and Senate, Paul Irving and Michael Stenger.
All three men resigned in the wake of the January 6 violence that left five people dead.
Also appearing was Robert Contee, the acting police chief in Washington, D.C., whose forces helped the Capitol Police control the mob and eventually clear the Capitol so that lawmakers could return to certify President Joe Biden's election victory.
The Washington Post has reported that the Capitol Police's own intelligence unit warned on January 3 that "Congress itself" could be the target of Trump supporters summoned by the then-president to fight his loss in the November 3 election.
The FBI also says it warned law enforcement agencies on January 5 that extremists were preparing to commit violence, although the warning was based largely on unconfirmed intelligence such as social media postings.
Irving denied Tuesday authorities had rejected having the National Guard deployed at the Capitol on January 6 because it might look bad, saying the intelligence did not warrant the troops' presence.
Irving made his comments in written testimony for two Senate committees investigating the security preparations and response to the attack on the Capitol.
He said that on January 4, he had discussed the possible use of 125 National Guard troops with then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger.
Irving said: "'Optics' as portrayed in the media did not determine our security posture … We did discuss whether the intelligence warranted having troops at the Capitol, and our collective judgment at that time was no – the intelligence did not warrant that."
His testimony appeared to be in direct conflict with Sund's account.
Sund said he had requested National Guard troops but that Irving "stated he was concerned about the 'optics' of having National Guard present."
More than 200 people have been charged so far for their roles in the riot, including some with ties to far-right fringe groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
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