National Security

Capitol Police watchdog issues report slamming ‘deficiencies’ before riot

Rioters at U.S. Capitol
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The watchdog for the U.S. Capitol Police issued a report slamming “deficiencies” in the agency’s handling of intelligence leading up to the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

According to the report first obtained by CBS News, Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton found that Capitol Police “did not prepare a comprehensive, Department-wide plan for demonstrations planned for January 6, 2021.”

The report was the first federal audit of the riot, CBS noted. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Jamie Herrera Beutler (D-Wash.), who lead the House appropriations panel that oversees Capitol Police, wrote a letter to the Capitol Police Board asking it to release the report.

House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday that she had been briefed on the report, which she called “disturbing.”

The report criticized the department for not passing along “relevant information from outside sources,” CBS reported. This included a memo from the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Va., issued the day before that specifically suggested that protesters go to the Capitol “ready for war.”

The report said that a Capitol Police intelligence officer pulled the report from the FBI’s system and emailed it internally. Former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund told lawmakers in late February that he had not received a copy of the report.

The report also said that the department disseminated “conflicting intelligence information” leading up to the riot, as well as “inconsistencies” in Capitol Police’s planning for the event.

In a statement to The Hill, Capitol Police said it couldn’t release the report but has made “significant” improvements to its security posture prior to Jan. 6. Still, it acknowledged that it had “internal challenges” with communication, which it is correcting.

“The USCP acknowledges it had internal challenges including communication issues and inadequate training, which it is correcting,” it said. “The Department has also taken significant steps to facilitate the flow of intelligence to all of its sworn personnel, its law enforcement partners and stakeholders.”

Despite its challenges, the Department strongly believes that, short of excessive use of deadly force, nothing within its arsenal on January 6 would have stopped the violent insurrectionists that descended on the U.S. Capitol,” it continued. “Going forward, in additional to enhanced physical infrastructure, the Department believes that external support will be necessary for certain events.”

Five people died as a result of the attack, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Law enforcement officials have previously acknowledged that handling of intelligence was a factor in law enforcement’s response to the riot.

Tags Capitol breach Capitol riot Tim Ryan Zoe Lofgren

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