National Security

FBI, DHS and Pentagon officials to testify on Capitol riot

Intelligence community officials will appear before senators in their second hearing examining the breakdown in security during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Officials from the FBI, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will appear before a joint session of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel next Wednesday.

The hearing comes as former law enforcement officials for the Capitol complex — who resigned in the wake of the riot — blamed the intelligence community in a Tuesday hearing, saying they did not get intel signaling they would need to boost their preparation ahead of the day’s rally on the National Mall.

“A clear lack of accurate and complete intelligence across several federal agencies contributed to this event, and not poor planning by the United States Capitol Police,” former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told lawmakers. “We properly planned for mass demonstration with possible violence. What we got was a military-style coordinated assault on my officers and a violent takeover of the Capitol building.”

The March 3 hearing will feature testimony from Robert Salesses, the acting assistant secretary of Defense for homeland defense and global security; Jill Sanborn, assistant director or the FBI’s counterterrorism division; and Melissa Smislova, acting under secretary for DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

The testimony follows a request by numerous committees seeking answers from 22 different agencies about their internal planning ahead of the Capitol riot.

Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said during Tuesday’s hearing that receiving answers from the three federal agencies would be “critical to our understanding.”

“We must find out what was known about the potential for violence before the attack, and how that intelligence was shared with law enforcement partners, including the officials responsible for protecting the Capitol,” she said. 

Tags Amy Klobuchar Capitol attack Capitol breach Capitol insurrection
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