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Politics Acting Capitol Police chief denies her department failed to heed intel warnings

07:10  28 february  2021
07:10  28 february  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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6 attack warning of potential violence. In her opening statement to a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing investigating security failures , acting Chief Yogananda Pittman addressed new focus on questions about intelligence failures that have triggered finger-pointing over who was responsible, saying nothing warned of something so overwhelming. PHOTO: U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman appears before the House Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch via WebEx on Feb. 25, 2021 in Washington, D.C., to testify on the Capitol insurrection events of Jan.

The acting Capitol Police chief on Thursday strongly denied that her department failed to heed intelligence reports ahead of the Jan. 6 attack warning of potential violence. In her opening statement to a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing investigating security failures , acting Chief Yogananda Pittman addressed new focus on questions about intelligence failures that have triggered finger-pointing over who was responsible, saying nothing warned of something so overwhelming.

The acting Capitol Police chief strongly denied that her department failed to heed intelligence reports ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol warning of potential violence on Thursday.

She said the insurrectionists weren’t just interested in "attacking members of Congress" but "they wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation: ... 'Who was in charge of that legislative process?'"

At the House Appropriations subcommittee hearing investigating security failures, Pittman, during her opening statement, addressed new focus on questions about intelligence failures that have triggered finger-pointing over who was responsible, saying nothing warned of something so overwhelming.

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Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman on Thursday defended her department 's complete lack of press briefings since the Jan. 6 insurrection and refused to commit to holding regular briefings in the future. What they're saying: Pittman told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the department "has issued a number of press releases" and but is not prioritizing press updates. Capitol Police spokespersons have been highly uncommunicative since the insurrection and have held zero public briefings. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets.

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman denies law enforcement failed to take warnings of violence prior to Jan. 6 seriously because many of the people traveling to Washington before the Capitol insurrection were white. (Feb. 25). Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman on Thursday defended her department 's complete lack of press briefings since the Jan. 6 insurrection and refused to commit to holding regular briefings in the future.What they're saying: Pittman told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the department "has issued a number of press releases" and but is

a person wearing a neck tie © ABC News

"The department was not ignorant of intelligence, indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the 6th," Pittman said. "There was no such intelligence."

"There's evidence that some of those who stormed the Capitol were organized, but there's also evidence that a large number were everyday Americans, took on a mob mentality, because they were angry and desperate," she said.

"It is the conduct of this latter group that the department was not prepared for. The department did face some operational challenges that we are addressing," she said.

a person posing for the camera: U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman appears before the House Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch via WebEx on Feb. 25, 2021 in Washington, D.C., to testify on the Capitol insurrection events of Jan. 6, 2021. © ABC News U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman appears before the House Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch via WebEx on Feb. 25, 2021 in Washington, D.C., to testify on the Capitol insurrection events of Jan. 6, 2021.

More than a month after the deadly Capitol siege that left 140 police officers injured and five people dead, Yogananda Pittman also told Congress Thursday that there are ongoing threats to disrupt President Joe Biden's expected speech to a joint session of Congress.

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While Navy and local police officials confirmed there were no civilians injured, the accident caused serious damage to a house and several vehicles, Foley Fire Chief Joey Darby told Birmingham ABC affiliate WBMA. The acting Capitol Police chief on Thursday strongly denied that her department failed to heed intelligence reports ahead of the Jan. 6 attack warning of potential violence. In her opening statement to a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing investigating security failures , acting Chief Yogananda Pittman addressed new focus on questions about intelligence failures that

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed these reported threats during a congressional hearing Thursday about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, in which she was asked about heightened security in the nation's capitol , including fencing and National Guard presence, per Politico . The acting Capitol Police chief on Thursday strongly denied that her department failed to heed intelligence reports ahead of the Jan. 6 attack warning of potential violence.

"We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified," she testified Thursday. "So, based on that information we think that it's prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward."

Pittman was the assistant chief of police of the department’s Protective & Intelligence Operations on Jan. 6 and was responsible for its Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division.

She said the IICD came back with four "special assessments" about the potential for violence on Jan. 6 – all of which she said were "raw intelligence."

"Although the Department’s Jan. 3 Special Assessment foretold of a significant likelihood for violence on Capitol grounds by extremists groups, it did not identify a specific credible threat indicating that thousands of American citizens would descend upon the U.S. Capitol attacking police officers with the goal of breaking into the U.S. Capitol Building to harm Members and prevent the certification of Electoral College votes," she said. "Nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partners include any specific credible threat that thousands of American citizens would attack the U.S. Capitol."

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Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later. Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

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MORE: Acting Capitol Police chief admits 'internal challenges' during Jan. 6 response a group of people standing in front of a building: Rioters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington D.C. © Julio Cortez/AP, FILE Rioters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington D.C.

The former Capitol Police chief, Steven Sund, who resigned in the wake of the attack, testified Tuesday that he never saw an FBI assessment sent by email the evening before the Jan. 6 assault -- a description of an online threat that extremists were preparing for "war" against the Capitol as Congress met in joint session to count Electoral College votes.

Regarding the assessment from the FBI's Norfolk field office, Pittman said it was not "evaluated intelligence."

“It was being shared for informational purposes but has not been fully evaluated integrated with other information interpreted or analyzed receiving agencies are requested, not to take action based on this roll recording," she said. "We do not believe that that document in and of itself would have changed our posture we believe it was consistent with the information and intelligence that we already had that those groups were going to be violent, and they were expected to participate in unlawful activity on the campus of the one thing that we were already leaning forward and asking for was additional resources, as it relates to the request for the National Guard."

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Pittman noted that during the Jan. 6 attack, while there were "well over 10,000" people on the Capitol grounds, about 800 people actually came into the Capitol.

During an intense back and forth, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-N.Y., repeatedly asked about the role of the four-person Capitol Police Board. "It's like your appendix -- it's just there it doesn't have any real function," DeLauro said, adding, it "seems to seems to be non-functioning."

That frustration was shared by Chairman Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who questioned why the Capitol Board didn’t take a vote on requesting National Guard assistance beforehand based on the threat assessments of potential violence.

“We need to be ready for that and I don't think saying that while the Secret Service, you know, didn't see a threat either, that to me doesn't cut it either, because who cares so they got it wrong too, like, I mean that's the underlying issue here, and really just trying to understand moving forward," Ryan said.

"Why wouldn't we have been prepared for the worst-case scenario?" he asked later.

"We were already preparing for what we knew was going to be violent acts, and civil disobedience for that day of bringing in essentially every employee we had available to us and reaching out to our law enforcement partners," Pittman replied. "We had the immediate response from the Metropolitan Police Department. We're so thankful for them as well as the U.S. Secret Service. With that said, there were those additional requests for the National Guard. So there was several security enhancements that were requested. But with that said, it wasn't enough. It was not enough."

"I don't understand why Chief Sund and yourself weren't pushing for a full vote at the board," Ryan said. "That to me, if it was such a priority for you, then why would you say I want to force a board vote."

He added that he felt that the Capitol Police didn't take the intelligence and synthesize it to realize that something bad could happen.

Ryan closed out the hearing by telling Pittman, "We've got to make sure that the leadership with Capitol Police is operating and functioning at a very, very high level, especially in this current environment."

"I know you can tell from the committee here and rank and file members of Congress who don't sit on this committee are extremely disappointed, extremely concerned," he said.

Pittman said that the results of the investigation into the conduct of Capitol Police officers will be shared when the probe is done, perhaps in 60 to 90 days.

Currently, 35 officers are under investigation and six officers have been suspended.

Two months and nearly 300 Capitol riot arrests later, the FBI is hunting hundreds more .
Most of the accused face charges from the Jan. 6 riot that could send them to prison for anywhere from 1-20 years.Investigators who typically work cases involving the trafficking of drugs, child pornography and sex have taken calls from rioter’s angry ex-wives and former girlfriends and employers turned tipsters.

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