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Politics Former Capitol Police chief says entire intelligence community missed signs of riot

03:50  07 february  2021
03:50  07 february  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Capitol Police Union calls it 'unconscionable' leaders didn't better prepare for riot

  Capitol Police Union calls it 'unconscionable' leaders didn't better prepare for riot The U.S. Capitol Police have come under harsh scrutiny. "The disclosure that the entire executive team (former Chief [Steven] Sund, now Acting Chief Pittman, and Assistant Chief [Chad] Thomas) knew what was coming but did not better prepare us for potential violence, including the possible use of firearms against us, is unconscionable," union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement Wednesday.

"The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this", he argued, in an apparent reference to the situation in the US capital on 6 January, when scores of supporters of then-US President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's presidential election win. Sund wrote that minutes after the rioters arrived at the western part of the Capitol , it was clear to him that the "situation was deteriorating rapidly" and that his agency didn't have the resources it needed to provide adequate security for the Capitol without outside agency

And if the US Capitol Police knew an armed insurrection was coming, it's not clear that the best option would have been to staff up and prepare for battle, so the lack of intelligence is noteworthy but the responsibility to keep the building remained with US Capitol Police . Sund said he did ask two of his supervisors, appointed by Congress, for more help 'The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this'. Almost five hours after the fight began, Sund briefed Pence on the security situation. Pence called Pelosi, and Sund advised that both chambers could reopen by 7:30 p.m., he wrote.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund sent an eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders on Monday, providing a detailed account of the events leading up to the Jan. 6 riots as well as a detailed timeline of events as he saw them unfold on that day.

Pelosi immediately called for Sund to step down on Jan. 7. Later that day, Sund submitted a letter of resignation.

ABC News obtained a copy of the letter, which was first reported by CNN.

In the letter, Sund said he knew about the intelligence leading up to the violent event and explained why he relied on assessments, as well as his efforts to secure support before and during the incident, from the National Guard and other law enforcement partners.

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“The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this,” Steven A. Sund, who resigned as the Capitol Police chief after Jan. 6, said in a letter to congressional leaders.Credit Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images. The F.B.I. and intelligence agencies had been tracking the possible plot for years but had little information to substantiate it, the former officials said . It is not clear how much information the F.B.I. or the joint terrorism task force in the Washington area provided to the Capitol Police .

"The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this," he wrote. READ: Former Capitol Police chief 's letter to Congress on delays and failures leading up to Capitol riot . Sund also wrote it was clear to him that within minutes of the mob arriving at the west front of the Capitol , the "situation was Sund said he ordered the department into an "all hands on deck" posture ahead of the event and expedited the shipment of riot helmets, meant to be available for the inauguration two weeks later. He also asked the Sergeant at Arms for both the House and Senate, who together with the Capitol

"Perfect hindsight does not change the fact that nothing in our collective experience or our intelligence – including intelligence provided by FBI, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and D.C. Metropolitan Police (MPD) – indicated that a well-coordinated, armed assault on the Capitol might occur on Jan. 6," Sund wrote.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Chief Steven Sund testifies during the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing in the Capitol Feb. 11, 2020. © CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE Chief Steven Sund testifies during the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing in the Capitol Feb. 11, 2020.

Sund said that intelligence indicated that the Jan. 6 event would be similar to two previous post-election demonstrations from November and December, which he described as MAGA I and MAGA II. Though, he wrote, the assessment included language that "members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, Antifa, and other extremist groups were expected to participate in the Jan. 6 event and that they may be inclined to become violent." He continues: "This was very similar to the intelligence assessment of the Dec. 12, 2020, MAGA II event." During both of those previous protests there was a "limited amount of violence and/or injuries to officers, and a limited number of arrests."

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Capitol Police chief defends 'robust' plan. Nearly 24 hours after the launch of the attack which left four dead, including the fatal shooting of 35-year-old demonstrator Ashli Babbitt, Sund, in department's first public statements addressing the incident, appeared to acknowledge that the department was caught by "But make no mistake – these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior," the chief said , referring to his officers as "heroic given the situation they faced." Yet much of the criticism for the failed law enforcement response focused squarely on Sund and his 2

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to resign later this month; new Capitol fence in place for 30 days. Trump supporters overtook Capitol Police officers to enter the building as lawmakers attempted to count the electoral college votes on Jan. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund made his first public remarks Thursday morning on his agency’s response to the riot , saying police had ” a robust plan established” to deal with protesters and did not acknowledge any deficiencies in the police performance, even after a mob overwhelmed the Capitol .

a man wearing a suit and tie © CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE

"Having previously handled two major post-election demonstrations successfully utilizing an action plan that was based on intelligence assessments that had proven to be credible, reliable, and accurate, we reasonably assumed the intelligence assessment for Jan. 6, 2021, was also correct."

MORE: Capitol Police Union calls it 'unconscionable' leaders didn't better prepare for riot

On Jan. 4, the Capitol Police Intelligence and Inter-Agency Coordination Division "assessed "the level of probability of acts of civil disobedience/arrests occurring based on current intelligence information," as "Remote" to "Improbable" for all of the groups expected to demonstrate on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021," according to Sund.

Sund said he directed the department to be placed on "all hands on deck" status, which meant every sworn officer would be working. He also said he activated seven Civil Disturbance Unit platoons, approximately 250 officers, with four of those platoons equipped in helmets, protective clothing and shields.

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The U.S. Capitol Police chief who was in charge during last week’s deadly riots reportedly asked his supervisors ahead of time for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be on standby if the situation spiraled out of control – but was denied. Pentagon officials stated last week that Capitol Police never requested D.C. National Guard backup before Wednesday and later made an urgent request as the pro-Trump mob was about to breach the Capitol building, the newspaper adds. "We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation," Pentagon

The acting chief of the US Capitol Police has apologised to Congress for not having done enough to prepare for the pro-Trump riot earlier this month. "The department prepared in order to meet these challenges, but we did not do enough," said Yogananda Pittman, who took over when the ex- chief resigned. Chief Pittman was speaking on Tuesday to the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees the police department's funding. She said the agency was aware that protesters were planning to bring firearms and other weapons to the Capitol two days before the violence on 6 January.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Protesters breach the Capitol building via a broken window, Jan. 6, 2021. © Pacific Press via Getty Images, FILE Protesters breach the Capitol building via a broken window, Jan. 6, 2021.

On Jan. 5, the day before the mob stormed the Capitol, Sund hosted a virtual meeting with "a dozen of the top law enforcement and military officials from D.C., including the FBI, U.S. Secret Service and the National Guard." The meeting focused on the Jan. 6 event and the Jan. 20 inauguration, which had already been established as a National Special Security Event.

"During the meeting, no entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a coordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists," Sund wrote.

MORE: 4 dead after US Capitol breached by pro-Trump mob during 'failed insurrection'

Sund said the Department of Homeland Security never issued a threat advisory about "violent extremists planning a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol" and noted that the "U.S. Secret Service planned to and did escort the Vice President of the United States to the Capitol on Jan. 6, which it obviously would not have done if it believed there to be a threat of a violent insurrection at the Capitol building and on its grounds."

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On the eve of the attempted insurrection, Sund said he sent an email to his leadership team to ensure that all officers were fully briefed to expect a "long day, large groups, and clashes that could possibly include violence."

As the crowd was attempting to breach the building, Sund wrote, the Capitol Police Dignitary Protection Division prepared to evacuate congressional leadership. Capitol Police "attempted to secure hallways to prevent the mob from advancing further into the building" and "initiated evacuations" of members of Congress to safe locations.

a group of people sitting around a pile of stuffed animals: Demonstrators breach the U.S. Capitol building during a protest in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. © Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE Demonstrators breach the U.S. Capitol building during a protest in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.

Sund maintained that the U.S. Capitol Police "did not fail" and that the department "does not have the manpower, the training, or the capabilities to handle an armed insurrection involving thousands of individuals bent on violence and destruction at all costs." He credited the bravery and heroism of Capitol Police officers who "outnumbered and against tremendous odds" managed to keep members of Congress safe.

"The entire intelligence community seems to have missed this," Sund wrote.

MORE: A visual timeline on how the attack on Capitol Hill unfolded

Pelosi announced on Jan. 15 she was appointing retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, the same man who led the government response to Hurricane Katrina, to issue a report on Capitol security in relation to the riot.

"I have asked retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead an immediate review of security infrastructure, inter-agency processes and command and control," Pelosi said at the time. "The general is a respected leader with experience dealing with crisis."

Sund did acknowledge that a "number of systems broke down" and that "officials or officers who violated policies or directives, or even their oath, need to be held accountable."

In closing, Sund pledged in the letter he "will do anything I can, and everything that is requested of me, to help ensure that an attack like Jan. 6, 2021, never happens again" and that he stands "ready, willing and able to assist in any effort."

They rioted at the Capitol for Trump. Now, many of those arrested say it’s his fault. .
Supporters of former President Trump argue they were merely doing what they thought the nation’s leader had asked.As the cases against nearly 200 of the Capitol rioters begin to wind through federal court, many of the defendants blame the commander in chief they followed for the violence that left five dead during the insurrection Jan. 6.

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