An investigation in the Senate on January 6th riots and breaches of the U.S. Capitol has uncovered a broad passage of government, military and police before the violent attack, including a breakdown in multiple intelligence agencies and a lack of training and readiness for U.S. Police officers. Capitol that were quickly overwhelmed by the riots.
The Senate report, released Tuesday, is the first bipartisan review of how hundreds of Donald Trump supporters were able to violently break security lines and break into the Capitol as lawmakers gathered to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
Two weeks ago, Republicans abatut legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would create an independent commission to investigate the incident, similar to that created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The report includes new details on the front-line police officers who suffered chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones and who told senators they ran out of direction when command systems were broken.
Immediate changes are recommended to give more authority to the Capitol police chief, to provide better planning and equipment for law enforcement, and to streamline the collection of information among federal agencies.
The report does not delve into the root causes of the attack, including Trump’s role when he called on his supporters to “fight like hell” that day to undo his electoral defeat.
Trump was before accused by the House of Representatives for “incitement to insurrection,” but was later acquitted in a trial in the Senate. The report does not refer to the incident as an “insurrection”.
“This report is important in that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here at the Capitol,” said Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the National Security and Government Affairs Committee, who led the investigation together. with the Senate Rules Committee.
“But it doesn’t answer some of the biggest questions we have to face, frankly, as a country and as a democracy.”
The Senate report recounts how the National Guard was delayed for hours on Jan. 6 as officials from various agencies took bureaucratic steps to free troops.
He details hours of calls between Capitol and Pentagon officials while then-Capitol police chief Steven Sund desperately called for help.
He discovers that the Pentagon spent hours “planning the mission” and seeking multiple layers of approvals while Capitol police were being overwhelmed and brutally attacked by riots.
He also claims that the defense department’s response was “informed by critics” of its strong response to the summer 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
The Senate Rules and National Security Committees of the report recommended that the Capitol Police Chief be facilitated to seek assistance directly from the DC National Guard in the event of an emergency.
The current procedure requires the chief to obtain an emergency declaration from the Capitol Police Board first after authorization from the Pentagon, although the board’s approval did not occur on Jan. 6.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat who chairs the Rules Committee, said she and Republican Sen. Roy Blunt would introduce legislation to make the change.
The report also recommends a consolidated intelligence unit within the Capitol Police after widespread failures by several agencies that did not predict the attack, even though insurgents were openly planning it on the Internet.
The police intelligence unit “knew about the posts on social media calling for violence in the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online exchange of maps of the tunnel systems of the Capitol Complex and other specific threats of violence. ” he says, but officers did not adequately report the leadership of everything they had found.
Senators also criticize the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for minimizing online threats and for not issuing formal intelligence bulletins that help enforce laws.
In response to the report, Capitol police acknowledged the need for improvements, some of which they said are already underway.
“Police agencies across the country rely on intelligence and the quality of that intelligence can mean the difference between life and death,” they said in a statement.