US Capitol security blame bad intelligence for deadly breach

  • Video report from ITV News correspondent Robert Moore

Security in charge of defending the US Capitol have blamed faulty intelligence for the reason insurgents were able to storm the iconic building.

Officials, including the former chief of the Capitol Police, pointed their fingers at various federal agencies - and each other - for their failure to defend the building as Donald Trump supporters overwhelmed security barriers, broke windows and doors and sent lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers.

Five people died as a result of the riot, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was shot as she tried to enter the House chamber with lawmakers still inside.Ivanka or Don Jr. - which Trump is being prepped for power? Listen to Robert Moore discuss that and more on our latest US podcast below:

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned under pressure after the attack, and the other officials said they had expected the protests to be similar to two pro-Trump events in late 2020 that were far less violent.

He said he hadn’t seen an FBI field office report that warned of potential violence citing online posts about a “war.” And he and a House official disputed each other’s versions of decisions that January day and in advance about calling for the National Guard.

Sund described a scene as the mob arrived at the perimeter that was “like nothing” he had seen in his 30 years of policing and argued that the insurrection was not the result of poor planning by Capitol Police but of failures across the board.

The hearing was the first of many examinations of what happened that day, coming almost seven weeks after the attack and over a week after the Senate voted to acquit Trump of inciting the insurrection by telling his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat.

Donald Trump faced a single charge of incitement to insurrection over the January 6 Capitol siege. Credit: AP

Fencing and National Guard troops still surround the Capitol in a wide perimeter, cutting off streets and sidewalks that are normally full of cars, pedestrians and tourists.

Sund insisted the invasion was not his or his agency’s fault.

“No single civilian law enforcement agency – and certainly not the USCP – is trained and equipped to repel, without significant military or other law enforcement assistance, an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” he testified.

The joint hearing, part of an investigation by two Senate committees, was the first time the officials testified publicly about the events of January 6.

The storming of the Capitol shocked the world. Credit: AP

In addition to Sund, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, testified.

Like Sund, Irving and Stenger resigned under pressure after the deadly attack. They were Sund’s supervisors and in charge of security for the House and Senate.

“We must have the facts, and the answers are in this room,” Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said at the beginning of the hearing. The Rules panel is conducting the joint probe with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.