Trump supporters want to 'blow up' Capitol, police chief warns

26 Février, 2021, 13:45 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • FILE- Riot fencing and razor wire reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill in Washington Jan. 19 2021

U.S. Capitol Police were aware of the possibility of violence from armed extremists when the Capitol was attacked by supporters of former President Donald Trump, but quickly became overwhelmed by "insurrectionists", the acting police chief said.

The House on Thursday got its chance to investigate the security failures amid the January 6 Capitol insurrection, as the current acting Capitol police chief and acting House sergeant at arms spoke publicly for the first time.

Pittman told the lawmakers that though the Capitol Police knew of threats to the Capitol on January 6, there was no indication there was a credible threat of the scale that ended up happening. She also noted that former Chief Steven Sund's advance request for National Guard help was turned down by former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, which Irving has denied.

"I can not get past a glaring discrepancy between intelligence received and preparation", Representative Katherine Clark said during Thursday's (local time) hearing before the House Appropriations Committee.

Sund and Irving disagreed earlier this week on when the chief asked for the Guard. The discussions were held before a House panel overseeing the agency's funding.

"We all agreed the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively chose to let it go", Stenger said.

The House Appropriations Committee heard testimony from Capitol Hill security officials about failures at the Capitol on the morning of January 6.

Sund and Irving disagreed on when the National Guard was called and on requests for the guard beforehand.

She also says officers didn't understand when they were allowed to use deadly force, and that the less-than-lethal weapons that officers had were also not as successful as they believed they would be. Klobuchar said she is pleased that they are all appearing voluntarily and hopes that the hearing will have a "constructive" tone.

National Guard personnel and police secure a street near the Capitol Sunday Jan. 17 2021 in Washington as part
FILE- National Guard personnel and police secure a street near the Capitol Jan. 17 2021

So far, those hearings have failed to resolve even basic questions about what transpired, such as when the Capitol Police chief requested approval for backup from the National Guard.

Sund testified that he had contacted both Sergeants at Arms by 1:09 p.m. that day, or by the first indications the Capitol was first breached.

An FBI warning that a protest by Trump supporters could turn violent reached the U.S. Capitol Police the day before the assault, but top officials in charge of securing Congress that day did not see it, they told lawmakers on Tuesday. The day after the riot, Sund said that his force "had a robust plan established to address anticipated First Amendment activities".

At the same time, she argues police didn't have enough intelligence to predict the violent insurrection that resulted in five deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer.

Blodgett called the intelligence "problematic".

"Based on that information, we think it's prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced security posture until we address those issues going forward". She also noted that the Secret Service decided with the same available intelligence that then-Vice President Mike Pence could still attend the January 6 joint session to certify the electoral results. They also highlighted the no-confidence vote issued by the police union in Pittman and others for letting the agency and others down. Officers were left without proper communication or strong guidance from their supervisors as the insurrectionist mob stormed into the building. But he said there are "a lot of concerns" on the committee about her leadership and noted the lack of trust among the rank and file. "And you could see the fear in their eye".

The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says the agency's incident command protocols "were not adhered to" on the day of the Capitol insurrection. And despite calls from the police union and for her and other leaders to step down, she says she still stands by her officers.

Sund told the lawmakers that he didn't know then that his officers had received a report from the FBI's field office in Norfolk, Virginia, that forecast, in detail, the chances that extremists could bring "war" to Washington the following day.

Ryan told reporters following the hearing there are many potential reforms on the table. Among them, he said addressing the current structure of the Capitol Police Board could be one.

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