The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security failed to share intelligence with the U.S. Capitol Police ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, leaving the Capitol Police under-prepared for that day’s violence, the former chief of the Capitol Police told a U.S. House panel chaired by Georgia Republican Barry Loudermilk on Tuesday.
But Democrats at the House Administration hearing said the testimony by former USCP Chief Steven Sund didn’t change that former President Donald Trump bore responsibility for boosting baseless allegations that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
Trump then summoned supporters to the Capitol, urged them to disrupt then-Vice President Mike Pence’s ceremonial role in certifying the election and then stood by as his supporters attacked the Capitol, Democrats said.
Sund told the panel: “Significant intelligence existed that individuals were plotting to storm the Capitol building, target lawmakers and discussing shooting my officers. And yet, no intel agencies or units sounded the alarm. We were blindsided. Intelligence failed operations. The January 6 attack at the Capitol was preventable.”
Sund told the House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight that besides intelligence failures, the U.S. National Guard had also been instructed not to assist Capitol Police out of concern for political “optics.”
Republicans on the panel, led by Loudermilk, used the hearing Tuesday to rebut the findings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Trump bore responsibility for the insurrection.
Loudermilk has a personal history with the Jan. 6 committee, and noted Tuesday he had been “a target” of the panel.
The committee asked Loudermilk last year to answer questions about a Capitol tour he gave the day before the attack. Some Democratic House members had said they suspected rioters used tours in the days leading up to the attack to gain a better understanding of the Capitol’s layout.
Democrats said Tuesday that Trump, who faces criminal indictments in connection with Jan. 6, is the main responsible party.
“The person responsible for directing the violence to the Capitol that day in order to undermine — to undermine — a peaceful transfer of power is the favorite to secure the Republican nomination for president,” subcommittee ranking Democrat Norma Torres of California said, referring to Trump’s 2024 bid to reclaim the presidency.
Intelligence breakdown and National Guard slowdown
Sund, who resigned from the Capitol Police two days after the Capitol attack, said that intelligence made public since the attack could have prevented that day’s violence if it was shared ahead of time.
“If the intelligence had been accurately reported and the FBI and DHS had followed their policies and established practices, I wouldn’t be sitting here today,” he told the panel.
“This could have been preventable if we had gotten the intelligence they had,” he later told Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith.
Sund’s department’s own intelligence operations also failed to note the potential danger in the days…