Feb 23, 2021
Senate Hearing on January 6 Capitol Attack Transcript February 23
Top Capitol security officials testified before the Senate on February 23, 2021 about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Read the transcript of the full briefing here.
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Sen. Peters: (00:00)
… the first opportunity to hear about what happened in the Capitol on January 6 directly from our witnesses. We appreciate your willingness to work with our committees to examine the breakdowns that allowed this terrible attack to occur and to ensure that an attack like this can never ever happen again. This hearing is unique because it’s personal for everyone involved and I’m grateful to our witnesses, colleagues, staff, Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, and the National Guard units who continue to assist in protecting the Capitol today, and for all of the hard work that allows this very important discussion to begin. So I would like to once again thank Chairwoman Klobuchar for your partnership and for your leadership, and look forward to your opening remarks.
Ms. Klobuchar: (00:53)
Thank you very much, Chairman Peters, and good morning. Thank you to our witnesses for being here today for this first joint hearing of the Rules Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, as we work to conduct oversight into what happened in the lead up and during the horrific events of January 6. Thank you to Chairman Peters and also Ranking Member Portman, as well as my good friend, Senator Blunt, who I look forward to continue working with on the Rules Committee and this Congress. I think it’s important to note that we planned this entire hearing on a bipartisan basis. That’s because the stakes are so high and we want this, and I say this to our witnesses as well who are all appearing here voluntarily. I think it’s important for the members to know that and we thank them for doing that.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:46)
We want this to be as constructive as possible because in order to figure out the solutions so this doesn’t happen again, we must have the facts, and the answers are in this room. When an angry, violent mob staged an insurrection on January 6 and desecrated our Capitol, the temple of our democracy, it was not just an attack on the building, it was an attack on our republic itself. We are here today to better understand what was known in advance, what steps were taken to secure the Capitol and what occurred that day because we want to ensure that nothing like this happens again. Each of our witnesses held a leadership role at the time of the attack. Acting Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, Mr. Stephen Sund, former chief of the US Capitol Police who is here with us in person today, Mr. Michael Stanger, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, and Mr. Paul Irving, former House Sergeant-at-Arms.
Ms. Klobuchar: (02:49)
The other witnesses are here as many of our witnesses do via video. To our witnesses, your testimony is vital and thank you again for coming. At the same time, this is certainly not the last hearing that we will have regarding this attack. Next week, we will hear from witnesses from federal agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense that are critical to our understanding. The insurrection at the Capitol was more than an assault on democracy. It was an actual life or death situation for the many brave law enforcement officers who show up here to do their work every day. And at the beginning of this testimony, we will hear from one of them. We will never forget the haunting shrieks of the police officer pinned in between the doors at the hands of the riders pleading for help.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:39)
We will never forget Officer Harry Dunn, who fought against the violent mob for hours and after it was over, broke down in tears telling fellow officers he’d been called the N-word 15 times that day. He asks, “Is this America?? Or Officer Eugene Goodman, who after saving Senator Romney who is here with us today, thank you, Senator Romney, from walking directly into the mob, ran by himself to take on a group of rioters, and then Eugene Goodman diverted that mob away from the Senate chamber, allowing us to safely depart. Tragically, the attack on the Capitol also cost the lives of three brave officers, including Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries sustained while engaging with protestors. Two other officers died by suicide following the event of January 6, DC Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith and US Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood.
Ms. Klobuchar: (04:40)
Officer Liebengood or Howie to those who knew him work the Delaware Avenue door of the Russell Senate Office Building, someone who I’ve seen at that doorway and who always greeted me and everyone with a warm smile. It has been reported that 140 US Capitol Police officers sustained injuries from defending the Capitol. The courage of these officers will be remembered forever, but there are still many voices that we haven’t heard in the stories of January 6, including the many staff who make sure we have food in our cafeteria and water and heat in our building. One janitorial worker hid during the attack in a closet. Another custodial staff member reflected on how terrible he felt when he had to clean up feces and had been smeared on the wall saying, “I felt bad. I felt degraded.” These dedicated workers were here too when the Capitol was attacked as were many committed journalists who report on our work to the American people.
Ms. Klobuchar: (05:38)
To make this place safe going forward, we must answer some key questions. First and foremost in many of our minds is what took so long to deploy the National Guard that day, both because of decisions made in the Capitol complex, but also by others in the federal government. 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. There are also important questions to be asked about how information concerning those threats was communicated to rank and file officers. And it’s vital that we explore necessary reforms to the structure of the Capitol Police Board, which I know we will hear more about today. We owe it to the 140 Capitol Police officers injured and to all those at the Capitol who continue to suffer the repercussions.
Ms. Klobuchar: (06:31)
We owe it to the officer beaten by the violent rioters because he literally placed his body in the doorway to protect us. We owe it to the officers who lost their lives. We owe it to the American people to figure out how the United States Capitol, the preeminent symbol of democracy around the world could be overtaken by an angry, violent mob. And we owe it to ourselves, colleagues, to believe enough in our democracy and in the US Senate, that despite our political differences, we will be constructive in this hearing today, not just here to make political hay, but be constructive today to figure out what went wrong and what changes we can make to ensure that the Capitol is safe for us and the public going forward. Chairman Peter, Ranking Member Blunt, Ranking Member Portman and colleagues, for me, the bottom line is that we must get the answers and those answers are what will give us the solutions. Thank you very much.
Sen. Peters: (07:32)
Thank you, madam chair. And it’s been just over six weeks since our nation watched with horror as our Capitol Building was breached by domestic terrorists who sought to use violence and intimidation to overturn the results of a free and fair election. This was a shocking assault on our democracy and it marked one of our nation’s darkest days. The United States has stood as a beacon for the world showing how democracy can thrive. On January 6th, we saw just how fragile many of our most valued democratic principles, including the peaceful transfer of power is. It’s hard to express how deeply grateful we are for the actions our Capitol Police, our Sergeant at Arms and other law enforcement agencies do to keep us safe every single day, and especially on that day. Too many of our officers were gravely injured or tragically killed as they bravely fought back the attackers.
Sen. Peters: (08:44)
Chief Contee, we are also indebted to the DC Metropolitan Police Department for their value and efforts to thwart the attack. DC police often support to help secure the Capitol, but the officers under your command did not hesitate to come to our aid. We are thankful for the heroic actions of so many who ensured this direct attack on our democracy failed. But there’s no question that there were colossal breakdowns in the intelligence gathering and security preparations leading up to the events of January 6, as well as during the coordination and response efforts once the attack got underway. Our goal today is to begin to understand where those breakdowns and failures occurred and to determine if there are policy and structural changes Congress must make to prevent a future attack of this nature.
Sen. Peters: (09:40)
In my role on the Homeland Security Committee, I’ve worked to draw attention to the rising threat of domestic terrorism, including the rise of insidious ideologies of white supremacy, anti-government militias, and now QAnon conspiracies. These ideologies are intertwined in numerous ways. And on January 6, we saw just how quickly they can shift from online communities to committing organized violent attacks in the real world. But the warning signs were there. Just a few months earlier in my home state of Michigan, law enforcement successfully stopped a plot by anti-government militias to kidnap our state’s governor. We’ve seen an increase in violent crimes over the last decade that are driven by hateful ideologies. And we saw the deadly and tragic consequences on January 6, when the domestic terrorist threat was not taken as seriously as it should have been.
Sen. Peters: (10:41)
This is a systemic and leadership failure on the part of our security officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to the security leadership on the ground in Capitol, and it must be addressed. Domestic terrorism is not a new threat, but it is an urgent threat. It will require serious focus to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the safety and security of all Americans. And I’d like to take a moment to remind my colleagues that every senator here today took an oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. As the committees charged with oversight, strengthening Homeland Security and maintaining Capitol operations, we have a solemn duty to thoroughly examine the security breakdowns and make needed reforms. And I’m hopeful we’ll be able to work together and carry out this responsibility in a serious and a non-partisan way.
Sen. Peters: (11:39)
And finally, while today’s hearing is our first on January 6th attack, it will not be our last. We will continue to seek testimony and information from a range of agencies and officials who were involved in preparing for and responding to the events of the day for the US Capitol and for the entire region. The attack on January 6 was an extraordinary event that requires exhaustive consideration. The American people deserve answers on why their Capitol was breached and I look forward to having a productive discussion with our witnesses in order to provide the American people with those answers. Thank you, madam chair.
Ms. Klobuchar: (12:18)
Good. Senator Blunt.
Mr. Blunt: (12:20)
Thank you, Chairwoman Klobuchar. It’s been great to work with you and Chairman Peters and Senator Portman as we move forward on this hearing on what happened on January the 6th, and I think that’ll obviously also require discussion of what happened in the days immediately leading up to January the 6th. This hearing, as Senator Peters and you have both said, really the beginning of a series of efforts that hopefully we can approach in a bipartisan way that looks for solutions and ensures that the deadly outrageous destructive attack that marked such a sad day in our history never happens again. Certainly the officers who defended the Capitol that day deserve to be recognized and praised for their valiant efforts and their willingness every day to stand ready to do what needs to be done to defend the Capitol and those who work there. I’m certainly a grateful to them.
Mr. Blunt: (13:21)
I’m particularly grateful in this instance to the Metropolitan Police Department and their really admirable response to be here quickly, to be here with significant numbers of people in the very short term and within an hour to have an incredible impact on what was going on here at the Capitol in a positive way. The failures of the day, unfortunately, were of the most serious kind. Senator Klobuchar has already mentioned the three officers whose lives were lost and other officers who have really had to deal with this in a significant way. Also, have to remember that this was an event where the families of our officers were watching in real-time on television in an attack where they’re seeing people that mean the entire world to them in this fight for their lives and fight for our lives, and the Capitol. Three of today’s witnesses, former House Sergeant at Arms, Irving, former Senate Sergeant at Arms, Stanger, and former Chief of the United States Capitol Police, Sund, were all charged with the protection of the Capitol on January the 6th.
Mr. Blunt: (14:40)
We need to hear from them whether it was a failure of imagination of what could go wrong, a failure of intelligence gathering and dissemination, a failure preparation, which ultimately led to this problem, or maybe a structural failure that just is not designed in a way that it allows us to respond to an immediate crisis, and obviously we need to get that done. I want to hear from Chief Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department to learn about the department’s role and frankly, to learn how their decision making process appeared to be so much quicker than the decision-making process we could go through here. I believe it’s important for everyone to note that the attacks on January the 6 did not prevent Congress from fulfilling its responsibilities. Both chambers reconvened that evening and finished the certification of the results of the electoral college. I think Senator Klobuchar and the vice president and I left the building about 4:00 AM on a Friday morning.
Mr. Blunt: (15:45)
But we did get our work done where the American people and people all over the world would have expected it to get done. And then on the 20th, we held an inauguration on the same platform that had been stormed two weeks earlier and carried out one of our most important aspects of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power. I want to thank my colleagues from both the Homeland Security and Rules Committee for today’s hearing, and the staff work that’s gone into getting ready for today.
Sen. Peters: (16:24)
Ranking Member Portman.
Sen. Portman: (16:27)
Thank you, Chairman Peters, Chairwoman Klobuchar, Ranking Member Blunt for the constructive comments this morning. In this business, you often finish like you start, and I appreciate the fact that we’re starting this review by taking the politics out of it so we can get to the bottom of what happened. I want to start by expressing my gratitude on behalf of everybody for the men and women of law enforcement, US Capitol Police, Secret Service, National Guard, Metropolitan Police Department, the FBI and all the law enforcement agencies who put their safety on the line to safeguard democracy on January 6. As I said in the Senate floor that night, it was thanks to them that Vice President Pence, members of Congress, staff and the Capitol complex workforce were protected and we were able to complete our constitutional duty of certifying the election.
Sen. Portman: (17:17)
It was important in my view that we sent a clear message that night to our constituents and to the world, that we would not be intimidated, that the mob would not rule here. But that message could not have been delivered without law enforcement securing us and our respective chambers. Seven individuals lost their lives as a result of the Capitol attack, including two Capitol Police officers and a DC Metropolitan Police Department officer. We will never forget the service and sacrifice of officers Brian Sicknick, Jeffrey Smith, Howard Liebengood. I knew Officer Liebengood. I saw Howie most days at his post at the Russell Office Building. His colleagues will tell you no officer was more dedicated to the mission of the Capitol Hill Police Department, the mission and duty to serve and protect, and I’m proud to have called him a friend.
Sen. Portman: (18:08)
We will never forget Officer Eugene Goodman and the hundreds of other officers who were heroes on the front lines that afternoon, that evening, many of whom sustained injuries. To honor that kind of sacrifice and avoid future attacks, we have got to take a really hard look at what happened on January 6th. The decision-making that led up to that day and the decision-making that allowed the Capitol to be breached and overrun. As the bi-partisan media advisory announcing this joint hearing stated, the purpose today is to examine the security failures that led to a breach of the Capitol on January 6th, specifically the preparation and response efforts. There are key questions that have to be answered. First, some witnesses have suggested there was an intelligence failure. We need to know, was there credible intelligence about potential violence? When was it known and who knew it?
Sen. Portman: (18:59)
Second, our witnesses have differing accounts about requests for National Guard assistance. We need to know, did the US Capitol Police request approval to seek National Guard assistance prior to January 6th? And if so, why was that request denied? We need to know, was the request for National Guard assistance on January 6th delayed? And why, if that is true. And we need to know why it took so long for the National Guard to arrive after their support was requested. Third, the Capitol was overtaken in a matter of hours. We need to know whether Capitol Police Officers were properly trained and equipped to respond to an attack on the Capitol. And if not, why not? And we need to know why the Capitol complex itself was so vulnerable and insecure that it could be so easily overrun. My hope is that today we get clear answers to these questions from our witnesses.
Sen. Portman: (19:53)
We need to know what happened and how to ensure this never happens again. It’s that simple. I’ll be listening carefully, as I know my colleagues will to the testimony of the witnesses before us. These events on January 6 show that while our democracy is resilient, our democracy at times will be challenged. We’ve got to be up to that challenge. That certainly includes securing this Capitol, the citadel of democracy. That’s something we can all agree on. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Klobuchar: (20:24)
Thank you, Senator Portman. Before I introduce the panel, we all believed it was important that we hear from someone who was on the front lines that day. And I’d like to recognize Captain Carneysha Mendoza of the US Capitol Police. Captain Mendoza has been a member of the Capitol Police for almost 19 years with 13 years of leadership experience. She currently serves as a field commander in the special operations division, where her duties include acting as a field commander for significant security incidents. She has served in various divisions within the department, including the command center House division and Senate division. Before she joined the Capitol Police, she served as an active duty soldier in the United States army and she has received various awards for her work, including her work on recovery efforts during the Pentagon attack on 9/11.
Ms. Klobuchar: (21:19)
Born and raised in Missouri, Senator Blunt, Captain Mendoza graduated from Park University with a bachelor of science in criminal justice administration. She has two children. On January 6, she rushed to the Capitol when she heard that her fellow officers needed immediate help and assumed command in the Rotunda as she and her colleagues fought to push back the riders and ultimately drive them out of the building. Captain, thank you for sharing your story today.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (21:52)
Thank you. Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the committee today and thank you all for your service to our country. My name is Captain Carneysha Mendoza, and I’ve served with the United States Capitol Police for 19 years. I take a lot of pride in my job. Prior to serving with the Capitol Police, I served as an active duty soldier with the United States Army. My last duty station was split between the Pentagon and the Washington area Criminal Investigations Division. I’ve received various awards from the army and the Capitol Police to include an award for recovery efforts during the Pentagon attack. Unfortunately, I didn’t save any lives, but there are certain lessons that always stuck with me after 9/11. One of those lessons is knowing the unthinkable is always possible, so be ready. So I always take my job very seriously as 9/11 is always in the back of my mind.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (22:48)
With the Capitol Police, I have served in various operational administrative and collateral assignments. I’m currently serving as a captain in the special operations division, where I have various responsibilities to include serving as a field commander and a field force commander for the Civil Disturbance Unit. Throughout my career, I have responded to and managed various critical incidents and events from congressional and member security related issues to shootings and armed carjackings. I have served as a CDU field force commander for multiple events, including the November 14th Million MAGA March. In my career, I’ve been activated to work demonstrations with various controversial groups and I’ve been called some of the worst names so many times that I’m pretty numb to it now. As an agency, we have trained for and handled numerous demonstrations. It’s something we do on a regular basis and it’s something I’ve always felt we’ve excelled at.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (23:46)
During the Million MAGA March, multiple white supremacy groups to include the Proud Boys and others converged on the Supreme Court along with counter groups. The Civil Disturbance Unit fought hard that day, physically breaking up fights and separating various groups. I literally woke up the next day unable to move due to the pain. On January 6, we anticipated an event similar to the Million MAGA March that took place on November 14th, where we would likely face groups fighting among one another. Additional Civil Disturbance Units were activated that day. I was working the evening shift and had planned to report in at 3:00 PM. I was prepared to work a 16 hour shift and assume field force commander should the event continue into the evening and overnight shifts. It was approximately 1:30 in the afternoon I was home eating with my ten-year-old spending time with him before what I knew would be a long day, when a fellow captain contacted me and told me things were bad and that I needed to respond in.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (24:47)
I literally dropped everything to respond to work that day early. I arrived within 15 minutes and I contacted dispatch to ask her what active scenes we had. I was advised things were pretty bad. I asked where assistance was needed and was advised of six active scenes. There was an explosive device at the Democratic National Committee building, a second explosive device at the Republican National Committee building, and large hostile groups at different locations outside the Capitol Building. I advised the dispatcher I would respond to the DNC since that building was closest to where I was at the time. In route, I heard officers at the Capitol Building calling for immediate assistance so I proceeded past the DNC to the Capitol. As I arrived to the East Front plaza of the Capitol, I heard an officer yell there was a breach at the Rotunda door, and I heard various officers calling for assistance at multiple locations throughout the building.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (25:46)
Many of the doors to the building were not accessible due to the size of the crowd. I was able to enter a lower level door with the assistance of a Capitol division officer. Once inside the Memorial door, I immediately noticed a large crowd of possibly 200 rioters yelling in front of me. Since I was alone, I turned to go back so I could enter another door, but within the few seconds it took me to walk back to the door I entered, there were already countless rioters outside the building banging on the door. I had no choice but to proceed through the violent crowd in the building. I made my way through the crowd by yelling and pushing people out of my way until I saw Capitol Police Civil Disturbance Units in riot gear in the hallway. They were holding the hallway to keep rioters from penetrating deeper into the building. I immediately jumped in line with them to assist with holding the crowd of rioters.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (26:39)
At some point, my right arm got wedged between rioters and the railing along the wall. A CDU sergeant pulled my right arm free and had he not, I’m certain it would have been broken. Shortly after that, an officer was pushed and fell to the floor. I assisted the officer to a safer location and got back in line. At some point, the crowd breached the line officers worked so hard to maintain. Civil Disturbance Units began to redeploy to keep rioters from accessing other areas of the building. I proceeded to the Rotunda, where I noticed a heavy smoke like residue and smelled what I believe to be military grade CS gas, a familiar smell. It was mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by rioters. The rioters continued to deploy CS into the Rotunda. Officers received a lot of gas exposure, which is worse inside the building than outside because there’s nowhere for it to go.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (27:33)
I received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed to this day. I witnessed officers being knocked to the ground and hit with various objects that were thrown by rioters. I was unable to determine exactly what those objects were. I immediately assumed command in the Rotunda and called for additional assets. Officers began to push the crowd out the door. After a couple of hours, officers cleared the Rotunda, but had to physically hold the door closed because it had been broken by the rioters. Officers begged me for relief as they were unsure how long they could physically hold the door closed with the crowd continually banging on the outside of the door attempting to gain reentry. Eventually, officers were able to secure the door with furniture and other objects. I’m proud of the officers I worked with on January 6th. They fought extremely hard.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (28:25)
I know some said the battle lasted three hours, but according to my Fitbit, I was in the exercise zone for four hours and nine minutes. And many officers were in the fight even before I arrived. I’m extremely proud of the United States Capitol Police. I’m especially proud of the officers who are the backbone of this agency and carry out day to day operations. I know with teamwork, we can move forward. The night of January 7th into the very early morning hours of my birthday, January 8th, I spent at the hospital comforting the family of our fallen officer and met with the medical examiner’s office prior to working with fellow officers to facilitate a motorcade to transport Officer Sicknick from the hospital. Of the multitude of events I’ve worked in my nearly 19 year career in the department, this was by far the worst of the worst.
Cap. Carneysha M.: (29:17)
We could have had 10 times the amount of people working with us, and I still believe the battle would have been just as devastating. As an American and as an army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens. I’m sad to see the unnecessary loss of life, I’m sad to see the impact this has had on Capitol Police officers, and I’m sad to see the impact this has had on our agency and on our country. Although things are still raw and moving forward will be a difficult process, I look forward to moving forward together as an agency and as a country. In closing, I want to honor Chief Sund’s leadership. I served under his command as a watch commander for three years and was able to personally see his hard work and dedication. He was fully dedicated to United States Capitol Police and he cared about every employee on the department. I often hear employees on the department praise his leadership and his ability to inspire others. He’s made a significant impact on our agency. Thank you, chief. Thank you.
Ms. Klobuchar: (30:23)
Thank you very much, Captain Mendoza, for that beautiful statement and for your work on behalf of our country. I’m going to give you the bios on the other witnesses and then Senator Peters will swear them in. Our first witness today is Robert J. Contee, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. Acting Chief Contee was sworn in as acting chief of the MPD on January 2nd of this year. He first joined the department in 1989 as a cadet. After being sworn in, he became a patrol officer before being promoted to lieutenant and leading the force’s intelligence branch. In 2004, he was promoted to captain and put in charge of the violent crimes branch. After being promoted to second district commander, he joined the Special Operations Division. For the next decade, acting Chief Contee served in multiple leadership roles with the MPD, including as patrol chief of Patrol Services South, where he oversaw several police districts.
Ms. Klobuchar: (31:26)
He was appointed as assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau in March of 2018. Acting Chief Contee is a graduate of DC schools and holds a bachelor degree in professional studies from the George Washington University. Acting Chief Contee grew up in the Carver Terrace community in Northeast Washington DC. Our second witness today will be Mr. Steven A. Sund. Mr. Sund served as chief of the US Capitol Police from June of 2019 to January 16th of this year. Mr. Sund joined the Capitol Police in 2017 as assistant chief and chief of operations. Prior to joining the USCP, he spent nearly 25 years with the metropolitan police department where he started out as a patrol officer in 1990. From 1999 to 2006, he served as MPD Special Operations Division and helped plan several major events, including the 2001 and 2005 presidential inaugurations.
Ms. Klobuchar: (32:28)
After joining the MPD’s Homeland Security Division, he rose through the ranks to become commander of the Special Operations Division in 2011. As commander of the Special Operations Division, he served as lead planner for both the 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugurations and many other national security special events. He received his bachelor and master of science degrees from John Hopkins and his master of arts in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School. Our third witness will be Mr. Michael Stanger, formers Senate Sergeant at Arms who served in that capacity from April of 2018 through January 7th of this year. He joined the Senate in 2011 as assistant Sergeant at Arms for the Office of Protective Services and Continuity. He has also served as chief of staff of the Sergeant at Arms and as deputy Sergeant of Arms. Prior to joining the Sergeant in Arms office, he was a 35 year veteran of the United States Secret Service, where he served in many roles including as the special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office.
Ms. Klobuchar: (33:33)
Immediately before joining the Senate, he served as assistant director of the Office of Government and Public Affairs for the Secret Service. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also a veteran having attained the rank of captain in the US Marine Corps. Our final witness today is Mr. Paul Irving. Mr. Irving served as a Sergeant at Arms at the US House of Representatives from January of 2012 through January 7th of this year. He joined the United States Secret Service in-
Ms. Klobuchar: (34:03)
… seventh of this year. He joined the United States Secret Service in 1983, after briefly serving with the FBI. He served as head legal instructor for constitutional law and criminal procedure at the Secret Service Training Academy before joining the Presidential Protective Division during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administrations. Following his White House service, he served as the Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs, Assistant Director for Government Affairs, Assistant Director for Homeland Security, and Assistant Director for Administration for the Secret Service. He retired from the Secret Service in 2008 as Assistant Director and worked as a private security consultant until his appointment as House Sergeant at Arms in 2012. He is a graduate of the American University and Whittier Law School. I want to thank our witnesses for appearing voluntarily today, and I look forward to your testimony.
Sen. Peters: (34:58)
It is the practice of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to swear in witnesses. So if the witnesses would stand, including those joining us virtually, and raise your right hand. Do you swear that the testimony you will give before this committee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Chief Contee: (35:20)
Steven Sund: (35:20)
Sen. Peters: (35:23)
Thank you. You may all be seated.
Ms. Klobuchar: (35:31)
You want to begin then, Chief Contee?
Chief Contee: (35:34)
Sure. Good morning, Chairman Peters, Chairwoman Klobuchar, Ranking Members Portman and Blunt, and members of the committee. I’m Robert J. Contee III, the Acting Chief of Police at the Metropolitan Police Department, the primary police force in the District of Columbia. I appreciate this opportunity to brief you on the events of January 6, 2021, a dark day for our country.
Chief Contee: (35:58)
I would like to begin by highlighting a few key facts to ensure the committees and the audience understand the very different roles of Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District of Columbia, including MPD, and those of congressional and federal authorities. First, MPD is prohibited by federal law from entering the Capitol or its grounds to patrol, make arrests, or serve warrants without the consent or request of the Capitol Police Board. Second, the President of the United States, not the Mayor of the District of Columbia, controls the DC National Guard. The scope of the requests by the Mayor must be limited to supporting the District’s local jurisdiction and authority, which excludes federal entities and property. Third, since Mayor Bowser declared a public health emergency last March, the District has not issued permits for any large gathering. Although the district and MPD take pride in facilitating the exercise of first amendment rights by all groups, regardless of their beliefs, none of the public gatherings on January 5 and 6 were issued permits by the city.
Chief Contee: (37:09)
On the morning of January 6, MPD was prepared to support our federal partners with a first amendment assembly that was held primarily on federal land, while continuing to patrol and respond to calls for service throughout DC. Based on our experience with prior demonstrations after the election, we recognized that there was a possibility of violence, especially after dark, as smaller groups of protestors gathered with malicious intent on our city streets. To be clear, available intelligence pointed to a large presence of some of the same groups that had contributed violence in the city after demonstrations in November and December.
Chief Contee: (37:55)
The District had intelligence indicating the potential for violent actions in the streets of the District of Columbia. In preparation for the anticipated demonstrations and the possibility of violence on city streets, MPD was fully deployed on 12-hour shifts the week of January 4, with days off and leave canceled. At Mayor Bowser’s request, several area police departments were on standby in DC and more than 300 members of the National Guard were deployed on District streets, providing traffic control and other services. However, these resources were barely enough to counter an event that had never happened in the history of the United States, a mob of thousands of American citizens, launching a violent assault on the US Capitol, the seat of our government, in an attempt to halt the counting of the electoral ballots, an essential step in the peaceful transfer of power in our nation. The mob’s sustained assault on the Capitol precipitated an equally unprecedented response, with then Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund issuing an urgent request for MPD to come assist in defending the Capitol.
Chief Contee: (39:08)
Needless to say, when we received the call for help, MPD responded immediately. Within minutes, our members arrived at a chaotic scene. The violent mob had overran protective measures at the Capitol in an attempted insurrection prior to the arrival of MPD officers at the west front. Our objectives were to one, stop the rioters from entering the Capitol Building, and remove those that were already inside. Two, secure a perimeter so that the Capitol could be cleared for lawmakers. Three, enable Congress to resume their sessions, to demonstrate to our country and to the world that our democracy was still intact. And lastly, once the third objective had been accomplished, begin making arrest of anyone violating the law.
Chief Contee: (39:58)
At 2:22 PM, a call was convened with, among others, myself, leadership of the US Capitol Police, the National Guard, and the Department of the Army. I was surprised at the reluctance to immediately send the National Guard to the Capitol grounds. In the meantime, by 2:30 PM, the District had requested additional officers from as far away as New Jersey and issued notice of an emergency citywide curfew beginning at 6:00 PM. From that point, it took another three and a half hours until all rioters were removed from the Capitol. 90 minutes later, at 8:00 PM, Congress was able to resume its critical work and fulfill its Constitutional duty.
Chief Contee: (40:46)
Over the course of January 6 and into the early morning of the seventh, approximately 1,100 MPD members responded to the Capitol. At least 65 MPD members sustained injuries. Five people lost their lives on January the sixth. As we reflect on that dark day, we offer our condolences to all of the grieving families.
Chief Contee: (41:10)
In closing, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight the heroism of MPD officers who put their lives on the line to protect the Capitol, Congress, and our democracy, but to ensure the continued safety of the District and everyone in it, we must be frank in looking at several critical issues. This assault on the Capitol has exposed weaknesses in the security of the most secure city in the country. The Federal Police Forces in DC will be reexamining their security protocols, given the risk of both foreign and domestic terrorism. As the Chief of the District’s municipal police force, I must think about our preparations not only for possible attacks, but the daily impact of the changing operations of our federal partners. As they harden targets in the federal enclave, other buildings in the city under MPD jurisdiction may become more likely targets.
Chief Contee: (42:08)
This concludes my testimony. I am happy to answer any questions.
Ms. Klobuchar: (42:12)
Thank you very much. Mr. Sund.
Steven Sund: (42:25)
Good morning Chairwoman Klobuchar, Ranking Member Blunt, Chairman Peters, and Ranking Member Portman. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify before year two committees regarding the attack on the United States Capitol that occurred January 6.
Steven Sund: (42:38)
I’ve been in policing for almost 30 years. The events I witnessed on January 6 was the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that I have seen in my entire career. I witnessed insurgents beating police officers with fists, pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades, and flagpoles. These criminals came prepared for war. They came with their own radio system to coordinate the attack, and climbing gear and other equipment to defeat the Capitol’s security features. I am sickened by what I witnessed that day. Our officers fought valiantly, using batons, shields, chemical munitions, and pepper ball guns to hold back the attackers. Capitol Police and responding law enforcement agencies showed tremendous restraint by not using their firearms, which would have likely led to a more chaotic situation and a possible mass casualty incident. No civilian law enforcement agency, to include the United States Capitol Police, is trained or equipped to repel an insurrection of thousands of individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs. I am extremely proud and appreciative of the Capitol Police Officers, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the other law enforcement agencies that came to our assistance.
Steven Sund: (43:52)
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. We rely on accurate information from our federal partners to help us develop effective security plans. The intelligence that we based our planning on indicated that the January 6 protests were expected to be similar to the previous MAGA rallies in 2020, which drew tens of thousands of participants. The assessment indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, Antifa, and other extremist groups were expected to participate on January 6, and that it may be inclined to become violent. Based on the intelligence that we received, we planmed for an increased level of violence at the Capitol, and that some participants may be armed, but none of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred.
Steven Sund: (44:46)
Extensive preparations were put into place for January 6, that included the full activation of the department, intelligence and information sharing with our federal and local partners and department officials, implementing a significant enhancement for member protection, extensive operational enhancements to include significant civil disobedience deployment, and an expanded perimeter. We also distributed additional protective equipment for our officers and coordinated outside agency support.
Steven Sund: (45:17)
As recent as Tuesday, January 5, during a meeting I hosted with my executive team, the Capitol Police Board, and a dozen of the top law enforcement and military officials from DC, no entity, including the FBI, provided any new intelligence regarding January 6. It should be also noted that the Secretary of Homeland Security did not issue an elevated or imminent alert in reference to the events at the United States Capitol on January 6. We properly planned for a 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.
Steven Sund: (45:54)
I know that the images we saw of the officers battling for their lives and the visuals on national TV had a profound effect on the nation. The United States Capitol Police did everything we could based on the intelligence and available resources to prepare for this event. While my officers were fighting, my post was in the command center, coordinating resources from numerous agencies around the National Capitol Region to provide critically needed support. I was also briefing the two Sergeant at Arms and working on establishing accountability and priorities for the incoming resources. As Capitol Police and outside resources began to reestablish the security perimeter, I responded to the Capitol Building to personally evaluate the situation and brief the Sergeant at Arms and leadership.
Steven Sund: (46:39)
I acknowledge that under the pressure of an unprecedented attack, a number of systems broke down. One of the reported issues described by officers was a lack of clear communications and directions from officials. It appears that the established incident command for the Capitol Building was overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, and as officials battling insurrections, as opposed to directing the response. There have also been reports that some officers may have felt confused or let down during the attack. As an official who cares as much as I do about my colleagues, nothing is more painful to me. These issues must be addressed through new training, policies, and procedures. Even our best efforts were not enough to stop this unprecedented assault on the Capitol. However, casting blame solely on the United States Capitol Police leadership is not only misplaced, but it also minimized what truly occurred that day.
Steven Sund: (47:33)
The focus going forward needs to be on the efforts to improve intelligence and the coordination of security measures between all involved agencies. Hopefully this will be part of the focus of an independent after action committee to look at all aspects of the January attack on our nation’s Capitol.
Steven Sund: (47:50)
In closing, I want to again recognize the heroic efforts of the Capitol Police officers, who on January 6, outnumbered and against the odds, successfully carried out their mission to protect the members of Congress and the legislative process. I couldn’t have been more proud to be part of their team and the USCP mission. I’m available to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.
Ms. Klobuchar: (48:12)
Thank you, Mr. Sund. Mr. Stenger.
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (48:19)
Chairwoman Klobuchar, Chairman Peters, Ranking Member Blunt, and Ranking Member Portman, the National Capitol Region is a unique environment for law enforcement. US Capitol Police in conjunction with the Sergeants at Arms work to provide security for the Capitol Complex and its population, but there is a shared responsibility with other law enforcement groups within the region. Sharing of information and resources are paramount for success. Once assuming a position as the Senate Sergeant at Arms, enhancement of the working relationship between my office and US Capitol Police have been a priority. I am a proponent of the concept of intelligence-led policing. This methodology can be used in assessing threats to individual members, as well as threats to the campus. As in all intelligence operations, it is only as good as the analyst assessing it, and that assessment is then placed in the appropriate hands to take steps in order to mitigate any threats.
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (49:22)
We have to be careful of returning to a time when possibility rather than probability drive security planning. With the events of January 6, certainly a real review of intelligence should be done. Returning to the concept of possibly driving security operations may result in poor use of resources. This is the constant give and take of security planning.
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (49:45)
There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6. Investigations should be considered, as for [inaudible 00:49:53] what appears to be professional agitators. First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with these investigations. Law enforcement coordination in the National Capitol Region should be reviewed to determine what can be done in a more efficient, productive matter. Intelligence collection and dissemination, training and concepts on the use of force must be consistent. This integration should be accomplished with regard to self-interest and goals.
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (50:23)
In conclusion, whenever you prepare for a major event, you should always consider the possibility of some level of civil disobedience at these demonstrations and plan accordingly. The events of January 6 went beyond disobedience. This was a wild, coordinated attack, where the loss of life could have been much worse. This concludes my prepared remarks.
Ms. Klobuchar: (50:49)
Thank you, Mr. Stenger. Mr. Irving.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (50:55)
Chairman Peters, Chairwoman Klobuchar, Ranking Member Portman, Ranking Member Blunt, and distinguished members of the committees, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. There’s been a lot of press reporting about me, not all of it accurate, and I appreciate the opportunity to address some of that today. My name is Paul Irving, and I served as the Sergeant at Arms to the House of Representatives for the past nine years. Serving in that role was one of the great honors of my life, and I count it a privilege to have work with speakers from both political parties, including Speaker Boehner, Speaker Ryan, and Speaker Pelosi.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (51:36)
I’m a law enforcement officer by training. My professional career started more than 40 years ago as an intern at the Department of Justice, and then as a clerk at the FBI. I later became a Special Agent with the Secret Service where I worked on two different presidential protection details, and ultimately rose to the rank of Assistant Director.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (51:54)
Like you, I am profoundly saddened by the events of January 6. The entire world witnessed horrific acts of violence and destruction carried out by our very own citizens against the global symbol of democracy, our seat of government. I am particularly saddened by the loss of life, which included three officers. My heart goes out to all the families that lost a loved one.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (52:20)
We began planning for the protests of January 6 in December, 2020. The planning relied on what we understood to be credible intelligence provided by various state and federal agencies, including a special event assessment issued by the Capitol Police on January 3. The January 3 assessment forecast that the protests were, quote, “expected to be similar to the previous Million MAGA March rallies,” that had taken place in November and December, 2020. Every Capitol Police daily intelligence report between January 4 and January 6, including on January 6, forecast the chance of civil disobedience or arrest during the protests as remote to improbable.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (53:06)
I relied on that intelligence when overseeing the security plan put forth by Chief Sund. The Chief’s plan took on an all hands on deck approach, whereby every available sworn Capitol Police employee with police powers was assigned to work on January 6. That meant approximately 1,200 Capitol Police officers were on site, including Civil Disturbance Units and other tactical teams. I also understood that 125 National Guard troops were on notice to be standing by for a quick response.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (53:35)
The Metropolitan Police Department was also on 12 hour shifts with no officers on day off or leave, and they staged officers just north of the Capitol to provide immediate assistance if required. The plan was briefed to multiple law enforcement partners. Based on the intelligence, we all believed that the plan met the threat, and that we were prepared. We now know that we had the wrong plan. As one of the senior security leaders responsible for the event, I am accountable for that. I accept that responsibility, and as you know, I have resigned my position.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (54:11)
Much has been said about whether optics affected my judgment in a January 4 telephone call with Chief Sund and Senate Sergeant at Arms Stenger about a National Guard offer to incorporate 125 unarmed National Guard troops into the security plan. The Guard’s purpose would have been to work traffic control near the Capitol. My use of the word “optics” has been mis-characterized in the media. Let me be clear. Optics, as portrayed in the media, played no role whatsoever in my decisions about security, and any suggestion to the contrary is false. Safety was always paramount when making security plans for January 6. We did discuss whether the intelligence warranted having troops to the Capitol. That was the issue, and the collective judgment at that time was, no, the intelligence did not warrant that.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (55:05)
If the Chief or any other security leader had expressed doubt about our readiness without the National Guard, I would not have hesitated to request them. Chief Sund, Senate Sergeant at Arms Stenger and I were confident in the Chief’s plan, and I did whatever I could to ensure that Chief Sund had the support needed to prepare and execute that security plan. And on January 6, when I was asked for authorization to request National Guard assistance, I approved it.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (55:34)
There are important lessons to be learned from January 6. I commend the committees for conducting this proactive review of the events leading up to and on January 6. I want to help the staff and members make changes and improvements, and to ensure the tragedies of January 6 never occur again. I look forward to answering your questions.
Ms. Klobuchar: (55:57)
Thank you very much. We’ll now begin questioning. I want to start out just to clear up one thing by just asking all of our witnesses a yes-no question. Based on what we know now, including the recent Department of Justice indictment, do you agree that there is now clear evidence that supports the conclusion that the January 6 insurrection was planned and it was a coordinated attack on the US Capitol? And just say, everyone agree?
Steven Sund: (56:26)
Ms. Klobuchar: (56:28)
Okay. Would you agree that this attack involved white supremacist and extremist groups?
Steven Sund: (56:36)
Ms. Klobuchar: (56:37)
Okay. Would you agree that this was a highly dangerous situation, which was horrific, but could have actually been worse without the courage of the officers that you commanded?
Steven Sund: (56:48)
Ms. Klobuchar: (56:50)
Okay. Yes. Thank you. Okay. So now let’s look at what we knew leading up to it, or what you knew leading up to it, or what people that worked for you knew leading up to it. We knew leading up to it that on January, leading up to January 6, that President Trump sent nationwide tweets telling people to come to Washington on January 6, and saying, “Be there. We’ll be wild.” And according to public reporting by the Washington Post, the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office issued a threat report on January 5 that detailed specific calls for violence online in connection with January 6, including that protestors, quote, “Be ready to fight,” end quote, and quote, “Go there ready for war,” end quote.
Ms. Klobuchar: (57:36)
I guess I’ll start with you, Mr. Sund. When a critical intelligence report is received by the Capitol Police from an intelligence community source like the FBI, who usually would receive it? And I guess I’ll start with, did you receive this report?
Steven Sund: (57:51)
Thank you very much for the question, ma’am. I actually, just in the last 24 hours, was informed by the department that they actually had received that report. It was received by what we call one of our sworn members that’s assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is a task force with the FBI. They received it the evening of the fifth, reviewed it, and then forwarded it over to an official at the Intelligence Division over at US Capitol Police Headquarters.
Ms. Klobuchar: (58:19)
And so you hadn’t seen it yourself?
Steven Sund: (58:21)
No, ma’am. It did not go any further than that.
Ms. Klobuchar: (58:23)
Okay. And then was it sent to the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms?
Steven Sund: (58:28)
I don’t believe it went any farther than from the SART over to the Sergeant at the Intelligence Division.
Ms. Klobuchar: (58:33)
Okay. And Mr. Irving, Mr. Stenger, did you get that report beforehand? Mr. Stenger? Did you get the report?
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (58:44)
Ms. Klobuchar: (58:45)
Okay. Mr. Irving.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (58:47)
I did not.
Ms. Klobuchar: (58:48)
Okay. Okay. So I think that may have contributed part to the lack of information, but I’ll leave that for the future. Now let’s go back to another report that I know on January 3, Mr. Sund, you said in your written testimony that the Capitol Police published intelligence assessment of the event, including one on January 3. Do you mostly rely on your federal partners like the FBI to gather and analyze intelligence on potential threats to the Capitol and members of Congress?
Steven Sund: (59:21)
Yes. I think what’s important to realize, as a law enforcement agency, we’re a consumer of intelligence and information that’s provided by the intelligence community. The intelligence community is 18 federal agencies that collect information, do the analyzing of the raw data, raw intelligence, and then provide it to us. So we’re reliant on that information to be complete and accurate.
Ms. Klobuchar: (59:44)
But in that report, we now know, according to your testimony, that tens of thousands of participants were likely to descend on Washington. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (59:55)
Ms. Klobuchar: (59:56)
Okay. And the January 3 memo, according to the Washington Post, made clear that supporters of President Trump see January 6 as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the Presidential Election, and that, quote, “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.” Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (01:00:15)
Yes it is, ma’am.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:00:17)
The article also quoted the memo as stating that unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protestors, but rather Congress itself is a target on the sixth. Is that right?
Steven Sund: (01:00:31)
That is correct.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:00:32)
And did you have any indication that many of these protesters might arrive armed, or that members of extremist groups might be there?
Steven Sund: (01:00:39)
We knew that members of extremist groups would be there, and there was social media calls for people to come armed. Yes.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:00:46)
You’ve also said that at a January 5 meeting with Capitol Police, the Sergeant at Arms and federal law enforcement, military officials, all present at the meeting indicated that there was no new intelligence report for January 6. Is that right?
Steven Sund: (01:01:01)
That is correct, ma’am.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:01:03)
But your testimony States that the Capitol Police took a number of steps after these assessments, like what you said was the largest number of civil servants unit platoons possible, increasing dignitary protection coverage, coordinating with the DC Police, and ordering all hands on deck status for Capitol Police. Is that right?
Steven Sund: (01:01:24)
That is correct, ma’am. We took extensive efforts to prepare for the events based on the information, much of which you just reviewed, yes.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:01:30)
Okay, good. So if the information was enough to get you to do that, why didn’t we take some additional steps? Why didn’t you and others involved to be better prepared to confront the violence?
Steven Sund: (01:01:43)
We expanded our perimeter. When we expanded the perimeter, again, we knew there was going to be some maybe limited violence, but we did. We expanded the perimeter. We took a number of steps to outfit our personnel with additional hard gear. We developed a plan for if we had protestors that may be armed, and that was one of the reasons, the expanded perimeter and the heightened risk, that I went to the Sergeant at Arms and requested the National Guard.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:02:13)
But now you realize it wasn’t enough, those security measures. Is that right?
Steven Sund: (01:02:18)
Hindsight being what it is, I mean, you look around the Capitol right now and you see the resources that are brought to bear based on the information we now know from January 6.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:02:26)
Okay. Mr. Sund, you stated in your written testimony that you first made a request for the Capitol Police Board to declare an emergency and authorize National Guard support on Monday, January 4, and that request was not granted.
Steven Sund: (01:02:41)
That is correct, ma’am.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:02:42)
Your testimony makes clear that the current structure of the Capitol Police Board resulted in delays in bringing in assistance from the National Guard. Would you agree with that?
Steven Sund: (01:02:51)
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:02:51)
That’s one of the things we want to look at.
Steven Sund: (01:02:53)
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:02:53)
Okay. Do you think that changes are needed to make clear that the Capitol Police Chief has the authority to call in the National Guard?
Steven Sund: (01:03:02)
I certainly do. I think in exigent circumstances, there needs to be a streamlined process for the Capitol Chief of Police for the Capitol Police to have authority.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:03:11)
Okay. And Mr. Stenger, do you think that reforms are needed to the structure of the Capitol Police Board, to make that clear?
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (01:03:21)
I think a review of the Capitol Police Board and their statutory authorities probably would be a good time to do this now. There’s a lot of statutes out there in the Capitol Police Board that go back many, many years. Things have changed and it probably would make the board a little more nimble. It’s probably not a bad time and an idea to take a look at what’s there.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:03:46)
That’s probably an understatement with what happened, but thank you. Mr. Irving, your views.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:03:52)
I would certainly agree with both Chief Sund and Michael Stenger. I think a review would certainly be warranted at this time of the Capitol Police Board.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:04:01)
Mr. Sund, your written testimony States that you had no authority to request the assistance of the National Guard without an emergency declaration of the Capitol Police Board. On what rule, regulation, or authority did you base that view?
Steven Sund: (01:04:16)
I’d have to go back and look the specific rule, but it’s a standard. It’s a standing rule that we have. I cannot request the National Guard without a declaration of emergency from the Capitol Police Board. It’s kind of interesting, because it’s very similar to the fact I can’t even give my men and women cold water on an excessively hot day without a declaration of emergency. It’s just a process that’s in place.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:04:38)
And to be clear, apart from the Capitol Police Board, you also face delays in getting authorization to bring in the National Guard from the Department of Defense. Is that correct? We’ll be hearing from them next week.
Steven Sund: (01:04:48)
Yes, ma’am. That is correct.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:04:50)
Would you agree that there were serious issues at the Pentagon that contributed to the fact that Guard troops did not arrive at the Capitol until about 5:40 that day, after most of the violence had subsided?
Steven Sund: (01:05:02)
I don’t know what issues there were at the Pentagon, but I was certainly surprised at the delays I was, I was hearing and I was seeing.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:05:08)
Okay. Very good. And my last question, just as of all of you, in addition to the reforms of the Police Board, which are very clear need to be made, any other suggestions that wouldn’t involve classified information you have for us, Mr. Sund?
Steven Sund: (01:05:24)
As reference to some of the recommendations, I would look at, again, one of the big things that I think was a contributing factor to this was intelligence. I think as you meet with the intelligence community, and law enforcement and the intelligence community, we have a very good relationship, I think the aperture just needs to be opened up a little bit farther. Like Chief Contee had mentioned, you know, January 6 was a new day. It was a change of what threat we face, and I think getting them to open the aperture and looking a little bit harder.
Steven Sund: (01:05:52)
And I think internally, looking at some of our policies, procedures, our processes for how we handle special events, how we handle incident command, was stuff we can do. And then looking at physical security of the building and the grounds I think is going to be critical. I know a lot of people have talked about the fencing, the open environment. I understand, and I know that it goes way back, and members of Congress like the open environment. I think there are ways to develop a more secure campus while keeping an open environment, but I’ll leave that for more classified or restricted hearings.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:06:27)
Okay. Thank you. Anything you would add in addition, just any other thing you’d add in addition to what the former Police Chief laid out here, Mr. Stenger?
Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger: (01:06:39)
Would be very supportive of those areas that the Chief mentioned. I think he’s right on the money there. I think there’s maybe another area, like use of force, that probably needs to be coordinated better in the region here. Well, certainly intelligence needs to be taken a look at it, as to how it works. We have a lot of people that we’ve ramped up since 9/11, and I think maybe it’s time to take a look at how efficient it is on the gathering of intelligence and the collection of intelligence.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:07:16)
Okay. Thank you. I’m going to allow my colleagues to ask that same question of you, Mr. Irving, and you, Chief Contee, because I’ve gone over my time. Thank you.
Sen. Peters: (01:07:26)
Thank you. Madam Chair. Mr. Sund, you’ve brought up the issue of intelligence throughout your testimony, and the gaps that were there, and then how we need to strengthen the intelligence. But I was struck by the fact that you said the FBI report. My understanding is that that report had some fairly specific information that was troubling, that you said that their report did get sent to the Capitol Police, that it went to the folks in the Intelligence Department, but that you were not aware of it, which raises a really big question. Something-
Sen. Peters: (01:08:03)
You were not aware of it, which raises a really big question, and something coming in like that right before an event, that I think is significant, it does not get to operational commanders who are there to deal with it? How can that happen? How can you not get that vital intelligence on the eve of what’s going to be a major event?
Steven Sund: (01:08:23)
Thank you sir. I know that’s something that’s going to be looked at. I think that information would’ve been helpful to be aware of. Again, looking at the information for the first time yesterday, it is strictly raw data, it’s raw intelligence information that has come in, seen on a social media post, lots of people post things on social media that need to be corroborated and confirmed. So it, again, it’s coming in as raw data. So please keep that in mind. But I agree, that’s something we need to look at. What’s the process and how do we streamline that information getting to where it needs to go.
Sen. Peters: (01:08:56)
Well I understand it’s raw data. But it’s the eve of the event. You’re not going to have time to do the kind of analysis that you would normally like to do. That is information that has to get to you. So that’s clearly a major problem. And my question is also related to the report that was put out by Capitol Police, by your intelligence folks on January 3rd. The intelligence division of the Capitol Police issued an internal report which reportedly stated, some of this has been out in the public domain, that instead of targeting counterprotestors as you’ve seen in the prior events that occurred that you’ve referenced earlier, that quote, this is quote, it’s been out in the public domain, “that Congress itself is the target on the 6th by Trump supporters.” Congress was the target.
Sen. Peters: (01:09:48)
The report also mentioned that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, other extremist groups would be in attendance, and quote, again out in public sources, “may be inclined to become violent.” So you have your own report, did you see that report that was put out on the third?
Steven Sund: (01:10:04)
Yes, I did.
Sen. Peters: (01:10:06)
So how is not that a warning of some extraordinary measures? Now, I understand you increased and you had folks there, and you increased your presence, but how was that not a real big warning flag? And if it was, what exactly did you do when you read that report?
Steven Sund: (01:10:21)
So that was one of the reports that contributed to the fact that we expanded our perimeter. I reached out, looking at it, I’d reach out to the Metropolitan Police Department, just knowing, even before that report, knowing that extremists were likely to be there, in the previous reports for it that has been called for on social media for people to be armed. And talking with our partners over at the Metropolitan Police Department, I reached out to say, “Hey, you going to be able to provide us some support?” And we coordinated that additional support the morning of the 6th. So yeah, we did take all that in consideration as we developed the extensive security plans for this event.
Sen. Peters: (01:10:58)
So you changed plans on January 3rd after getting that report?
Steven Sund: (01:11:01)
Yeah, we adjusted our perimeter, we did a number of things for it. We actually were adjusting our perimeter probably a little bit before that as well.
Sen. Peters: (01:11:09)
So that was happening before. So we’re going to want to know more specifically when you get that. And then of course, I think we’re going to see you got additional information from the FBI, for example. But that did not get to you. So I understand that. The other thing that I think is important for us to understand, and I’ve heard all of you mention this in your testimony, that this was not just a… this is actually in response to Chairwoman Klobuchar’s question, this is not just a random violent attack. It was actually coordinated, that you saw.
Sen. Peters: (01:11:38)
And I believe in your testimony, as well, I’m going to ask other witnesses to respond to this too, because all of you mentioned that. How do you define coordinated? What did we actually see from these folks that leads you to believe that it was coordinated? And I think in your testimony now, you just mentioned, military style coordination. So that would mean command and control, it would mean understanding the layout of the Capitol, it would mean knowing the internal operations of defense perimeters of folks that are engaged. Talk to me, what did you see that leads you to believe that this was a coordinated attack? And I would like our other witnesses to engage in that as well.
Steven Sund: (01:12:17)
Yeah, maybe we’ll provide you a quick overview of why I think it was a coordinated attack. One, these people came specifically with equipment. You’re bringing climbing gear to a demonstration. You’re bringing explosives. You’re bringing chemical spray such as what Captain Mendoza had talked about. You’re coming prepared. The fact that the group that attacked our west front, attacked our west front approximately 20 minutes before the event over at The Ellipse ended, which means they were planning on our agency not being at, what they call, full strength, watching the other event. Saying, “Hey, that event’s ending. Okay, everybody get on post. They’re going to be marching our way.” Knowing that we may not be a full strength at that time.
Steven Sund: (01:12:55)
And then also the fact that we were dealing with two pipe bombs that were specifically set right off the edge of our perimeter to, what I suspect, draw resources away. I think there was a significant coordination with this attack.
Sen. Peters: (01:13:10)
Anyone else have… Chief Contee? I think you also believed it was a coordinated attack.
Chief Contee: (01:13:16)
Oh, absolutely. My view is from the day of the incident. I think there were hand signals that were being used by several of the insurrectionists. There was radio communication by several individuals that were involved. The coordinated use of chemical munitions to include bear spray by several people that were out there. I certainly believe it was coordinated. To Chief Sund’s point regarding the placement of the pipe bombs in the areas, their discovery prior to this event, all those things.
Chief Contee: (01:13:51)
And plus, adding to that, what we know in hindsight now, as a result of the ongoing investigation that’s being handled by the FBI, as they continue to scrub social media, I think we’re learning more and more and more that this was clearly a coordinated effort.
Sen. Peters: (01:14:05)
Very good. Mr. Irving, and then I’ll ask another question real quick. Mr. Irving?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:14:14)
Based on the information provided by Chief Contee and Chief Sund, I would agree. The evidence would indicate a coordinated attack.
Sen. Peters: (01:14:22)
So we’re looking at folks that were coming out in intelligence reports, that groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, others that were engaged, these violent extremist groups, which we clearly need to collect more intelligence on. It’ll be the subject of another hearing that we will do regarding this. But if you look at what the DOG’s now prosecuting, 200 federal cases. The FBI has linked at least 40 to extremist groups, 59 to other defendants that have connections on social media to violent or extremist rhetoric, conspiracy theories, this is clearly an area that we’ve got to focus on.
Sen. Peters: (01:14:59)
As to why did we not have more information about these groups that were coming here planning, and usually you leave a trail when you’re planning, either that or you’re real sophisticated using encrypted devices and other things, but those are things that we’re going to have to be looking at, clearly the National Guard presence was critical. I know you’re going to get a lot of questions related to that. But Chief Contee, in my remaining time, just a question. And you mentioned this in your testimony. But in an earlier statement, Chief, you stated that you were stunned by “the tepid response of the Army officials in response to Chief Sund’s request for assistance while the violent siege was escalating.”
Sen. Peters: (01:15:41)
Clearly, here we got a coordinated attack, all of you saw this immediately, the way they were doing. I can imagine the conversations with the National Guard. And Chief, you were “stunned by the tepid response.” Could you clarify that and tell us exactly how those conversations went?
Chief Contee: (01:15:56)
Yeah. So just some time after 2:00 PM I had left the west front of the Capitol after initially being at the scene assessing what was going on, looking at the violent actions that were taking place. Shortly thereafter there was a phone call that was convened between several officials. Chief Sund was on the call, literally pleading for, there were several Army officials that were on the call. I don’t know all by name who were on the call. Several officials from district government that were on [inaudible 01:16:30].
Chief Contee: (01:16:31)
Well, Chief Sund was pleading for the deployment of the National Guard. And in response to that, there was not an immediate, “Yes, the National Guard is responding. Yes, the National Guard is on the way. Yes, the National Guard are being restaged from traffic posts to respond.” The response was more asking about the plan that… what was the plan for the National Guard? The response was more focused on, in addition to the plan, the optics. How this looks with boots on the ground on the Capitol. And my response to that was simply, I was just stunned that… I have officers that were out there literally fighting for their lives and we’re kind of going through what seemed like an exercise to really check the boxes, and there was not an immediate response.
Chief Contee: (01:17:23)
When I asked specifically, Steve Sund, Chief Sund, was he requesting the National Guard? And was that request being denied? The response was from the US Department of the Army was, “No. We’re not denying the request.” But they were concerned. They did have concerns. So I was just, again, just stunned at that response.
Sen. Peters: (01:17:45)
Thank you. Senator Blunt?
Mr. Blunt: (01:17:46)
Thank you Chairman. Chief Sund, if I have your testimony correct this morning, I think what I’m hearing you say is, based on the intelligence you saw on January the 3rd, after that on January the 4th you decided this was going to be a different kind of protest than you’d seen in November and December. And that’s when you asked for an expanded perimeter and National Guard assistance. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (01:18:21)
So the information we received, yes, it was very similar to the previous assessments, it was just a little bit more detailed. We had been analyzing kind of how we responded to the previous MAGA marches and decided to expand the perimeter. Really, when you expand a perimeter as large as we expanded it, it creates a large area you have to defend. And that was the primary reason, knowing that these protests were coming here, we were the focus of the protest, and the expanded perimeter, and we knew this was going to be a long day. The-
Mr. Blunt: (01:18:49)
So did you know from the time you expanded the perimeter that you were going to have to have more help, in all likelihood, to defend that perimeter than your force would be able to provide?
Steven Sund: (01:18:59)
We knew we could utilize the additional support. Yes.
Mr. Blunt: (01:19:05)
So why did you believe that you needed the approval of Mr. Irving and Mr. Stenger to request assistance to the National Guard?
Steven Sund: (01:19:16)
That’s always been the case. We only request the National Guard for very specific events. Usually the inauguration. And that requires a declaration of emergency from the Capitol Police Board to utilize those resources.
Mr. Blunt: (01:19:27)
Do you know if there’s a statutory requirement for that?
Steven Sund: (01:19:31)
I could look into that and get that to you as a followup if you’d like, sir.
Mr. Blunt: (01:19:33)
I don’t know that there is, but I do know that if you get the approval to expand the perimeter and you don’t have the assistance to do that, that’s obviously a problem. Why didn’t you contact the third member of the police board, the architect of the Capitol, Mr. Blanton?
Steven Sund: (01:19:52)
Thank you for that question, sir. My conduit to the Capitol Police Board was usually through the House and Senate Sergeant Arms. They were the ones usually having the communications with the department, especially law enforcement related issues. They’re both law enforcement. And also the fact that Mr. Stenger, at the time, is the Capitol Police Board chairperson. But usually, outside the monthly Capitol Police Board meeting that we’d have, unless it was an issue specific to the architect, regarding building structure, something like that, my conduit was regularly the House and Senate Sergeant Arms.
Mr. Blunt: (01:20:24)
Why do you think the architect of the Capitol is on the Police Board?
Steven Sund: (01:20:29)
As one of the voting members and providing oversight.
Mr. Blunt: (01:20:32)
But apparently not enough oversight that you thought you needed to involve him in the conversation.
Steven Sund: (01:20:39)
Like I said, my usual conduit was going through the House and Senate Sergeant Arms. That’s already two people I got to go to. Going to three, in the future, I guess, if that’s something that we’re going to implement than I will implement it. But I was just following my usual course of action.
Mr. Blunt: (01:20:54)
So Mr. Irving and Mr. Stenger both… Let’s start with Mr. Irving. Why was the request for National Guard assistance not approved at the same time you approved the expansion of the perimeter? Mr. Irving? I think you’re muted Mr. Irving. Now you’re definitely muted. Okay. Now you should be fine. Go ahead.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:21:23)
Am I okay now?
Mr. Blunt: (01:21:23)
You’re okay now.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:21:25)
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:21:25)
Thank you. Thank you. I apologize for that. Senator, I did not take the call from Chief Sund on the 4th as a request. Chief Sund called me to tell me that he had received an offer from the National Guard to provide us 125 unarmed troops to work traffic control on the perimeter of the Capitol. Shortly after that discussion I said, “Let’s include Sergeant at Arms Stenger as chair of the board, and another senior official with quite a bit of experience.” The three of us talked it through. And during that call the number one question on the table was, “Did the intelligence support it? Did the intelligence support that additional offer for those 125 troops?” And-
Mr. Blunt: (01:22:17)
Did you discuss this with anybody except Sergeant at Arms Stenger and Chief Sund.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:22:24)
No. It was just this one phone call. And during that call we all agreed that the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go. Michael Stenger then said, “How about we put them on standby just in case?” And that’s what we ended up doing. But from what I remember-
Mr. Blunt: (01:22:49)
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:22:49)
… everyone was very satisfied that we had a robust security plan that was consistent with the intelligence that we had at the time.
Mr. Blunt: (01:22:59)
All right. Mr. Stenger, why did you think that the troops were on standby?
Mr. Stenger: (01:23:08)
I brought up-
Mr. Blunt: (01:23:08)
They must have been standing way away from where we needed them if it took hours to get them here. What did that mean they were going to be on standby?
Mr. Stenger: (01:23:17)
What I did when I spoke to the Chief, when the Chief brought up to me this attempt to get the National Guard and it apparently wasn’t going forward, I suggested to him that he reach out. He knew the National Guard commander, was previous work in the Metropolitan Police Department. And I suggested that he reach out to the National Guard commander for a couple reasons.
Mr. Stenger: (01:23:47)
One of them was, I had read in the paper or heard on the news that the National Guard in D.C. was rather reticent to engage with the demonstrations at this time because of the issues that had arisen there in the White House demonstrations a month ago. And that we needed to make sure that the National Guard was engaged and that they would be willing to-
Mr. Blunt: (01:24:21)
But do you think you do make sure that they were engaged and would be willing? I’m going to have to go to one more question here. Did you think that they were engaged and would be willing if called on?
Mr. Stenger: (01:24:33)
Yeah. That’s what I asked the Chief and determined from by the General.
Mr. Blunt: (01:24:38)
All right. Mr. Irving, you said in your testimony that when asked for National Guard assistance you approved it. Mr. Sund stated that he asked for the National Guard assistance at 1:09 and it was approved at 2:10. Why would it take an hour to approve National Guard assistance on your part in that moment of crisis. Mr. Irving?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:25:06)
Senator, from my recollection, I did not receive a request for approval for National Guard until shortly after 2:00 PM when I was in Michael Stenger’s office.
Mr. Blunt: (01:25:16)
All right. Let me get that straightened out. Mr. Sund, do you know when you asked for National Guard assistance? Was it 1:09 or was it 2:00 PM?
Steven Sund: (01:25:24)
It was 1:09, sir.
Mr. Blunt: (01:25:25)
1:09. And who did you ask for assistance at 1:09?
Steven Sund: (01:25:29)
It was from Mr. Irving. I believe he was in the company of Mr. Stenger at the time as well.
Mr. Blunt: (01:25:33)
And Mr. Irving, why would you not remember that?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:25:38)
Senator, I have no recollection of a conversation with Chief Sund at that time. I was on the floor during the Electoral College session. And my conversation with Chief Sund in that timeframe was shortly before 1:30 when I recall he was describing conditions outside as deteriorating, he may in fact be submitting a request. And I carried that forward. And that was as much as I can tell you. I have no phone record of a call from Chief Sund. The first record I [crosstalk 01:26:18]-
Mr. Blunt: (01:26:17)
Did you discuss that request at 1:09 or whenever you got it, with anybody else? Or did you and Mr. Stenger make that decision then?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:26:26)
No. I did not get a request at 1:09 that I can remember. The first conversation I had with Chief Sund in that timeframe was around 1:28, 1:30. And in that conversation he indicated that conditions were deteriorating. He might be looking for National Guard approval and approval of our neutral aid agreements with local law enforcement and I went to Mike Stenger’s office awaiting an update.
Mr. Blunt: (01:26:54)
Well this is a time, Mr. Irving, I’m sure my colleagues will want to followup on this, because I’m out of time. But that’s the time when the difference in 1:30 and 2:10, or 1:09 and 2:10 makes a big difference. One of the things I’m wondering, and we don’t have time for you to answer this but I’m going to tell you what I’m thinking here, is in a moment like this, if you’re focus is chiefly on the safety of House members, and I would certainly understand that, and Mr. Stenger’s is chiefly on the safety of Senate members, maybe that’s a problem here where the Board really can’t function as a Board because you have such diverse areas of immediate responsibility. But whatever happened here doesn’t seem to me to be in agreement with the various timeframes. And I’m out of time. Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Klobuchar: (01:27:48)
Thank you Senator Blunt. And I wanted… Senator Peters and I are going to trade off chairing here with the votes. And we have a set order that all the senator staff have based on a melded set of rules between the two committees. And I’d like to submit, for the record, a written statement from the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee dated February 23rd, 2021. Thank you. All right, Senator Portman.
Sen. Peters: (01:28:11)
Without objection. Ranking member Portman.
Sen. Portman: (01:28:15)
Thank you Mr. Chairman. First of all, with regard to the conversation we just had on the discrepancies with regard to the National Guard assistance, I would request that both Chief Sund, you and Mr. Irving provide us with those phone records. I know there’s been some interviews that have been conducted, but I’m not sure we have the phone records. And that seems that would clear up some of the confusion.
Sen. Portman: (01:28:39)
I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about preparedness. Chief Sund, in your testimony you talked about the need for better intelligence and better coordination. That was your conclusion. And I think that’s true. And certainly everything we have learned indicates that was part of the problem. But what about preparedness? We’ve received information that prior to January 6th Capitol Police officers were not trained on how to respond to an infiltration of the Capitol Building. Is that correct, Mr. Sund?
Steven Sund: (01:29:14)
When you talk about infiltration you’re talking about a large insurrection like we saw on January 6th? No.
Sen. Portman: (01:29:21)
And why not? Why wouldn’t we be prepared for an infiltration of the Capitol given the risk that’s out there? I would say to Mr. Irving and Mr. Stenger, both of you had distinguished careers with the Secret Service. I would ask you all just to give me a quick yes or no answer. Does the Secret Service have training regarding infiltration, as an example, of the White House? Yes or no? Mr. Stenger? Mr. Irving?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:29:58)
Sen. Portman: (01:30:00)
I’ll take that as a yes.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:30:01)
Sen. Portman: (01:30:01)
If it’s a no… Okay. Mr. Stenger? Are you a yes also?
Mr. Stenger: (01:30:06)
Sen. Portman: (01:30:06)
Okay. Well then it seems obvious that you would have training on responding to an infiltration. So I think, if nothing else comes out of this process, we’ve got to figure out how to deal with, again, the real danger that is out there. And it seems to me, the intelligence reports, but also just the previous demonstrations would indicate a need for that kind of training.
Sen. Portman: (01:30:33)
Let me ask you about something else, if I could, Mr. Sund. And that has to do with the US Capitol police officers that I saw on video, and the world saw, fighting against this attack in street uniforms, or soft uniforms. Many of them did not have riot gear. I’m told, by contrast, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department provides all of its officers with such gear, including helmets, shields, gloves, gas masks. Having seen those incredibly disturbing videos and photographs of your brave officers attempting to hold the line to defend the Capitol without that kind of riot gear, are all Capitol police officers outfitted with riot gear?
Steven Sund: (01:31:19)
No, they are not, sir.
Sen. Portman: (01:31:20)
They’re not. And why are they not?
Steven Sund: (01:31:25)
So if you look at the way we outfit our officers, and it’ll probably be very similar to, I think you’ll find even with Metropolitan, I’ve been with Metropolitan for a number of years, they’ll have a certain number of officer, CDU platoons, as they call. It’s not the entire force that’s outfitted to the level one CDU, which is the big protective gear. The helmets, things like that. So we outfit a number of our… We have seven CDU platoons that we can activate. Four of those platoons, it’s 40 people in a platoon, are activated to, what we call, the level one. The full CDU gear and equipment. It requires extensive cost, extensive training, to keep and maintain that level.
Steven Sund: (01:32:06)
For us, a number of our officers are posted in interior posts, screening posts, things like that, where that gear wouldn’t provide them any support. So we have determined, up until January 6th, that that number of CDU platoons had sufficed for all the demonstrations that we had needed them with. But when Capitol [crosstalk 01:32:24]-
Sen. Portman: (01:32:24)
Yeah. So, no, I would just say, obviously, those officers, who you say, had interior posts, needed it that day. So it’s not accurate to say that they didn’t need it. But I know that you activated seven of these civil disturbance unit platoons. And then only four of them had riot gear. I don’t know why you would have a civil disturbance unit platoon that didn’t have riot gear. But you’ve just testified that that’s true, that only four of them had it. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (01:32:56)
That is correct. And just one additional point, since I’ve been chief I’ve actually pushed for every member in the department to have riot helmets. I had ordered those back in September, but we had been looking at delays because of COVID from the manufacturer, getting them delivered. And they actually just started being delivered January 4th and distributed to our officers just days before this with limited numbers being given to the officers prior to this event.
Sen. Portman: (01:33:20)
Yeah. Too late for many of those officers. Chief Contee, the comment was made, the Metropolitan Police does not all have riot gear. Is that true? I thought that the Metropolitan Police officers did have access to riot gear. Could you comment on that?
Chief Contee: (01:33:33)
Yeah. So we have seven platoons that have the hardened gear. But all of our officers have ballistic helmets. All of our officers have batons. All of our officers are deployed with gloves as well. And gas masks. So our entire department are deployed with that level. But when you’re talking about the hardened all of the extras, we have seven platoons that have the additional… that’s a different layer of protection.
Sen. Portman: (01:34:01)
But every officer has a helmet. Every officer has the protective gloves. Every officer has the baton. Is that correct?
Chief Contee: (01:34:08)
And gas masks. That is correct.
Sen. Portman: (01:34:10)
And gas masks. Yeah. It appeared to the Metropolitan Police Department, I’m told, that the Capitol Hill police officers did not have the training in civil disturbance tactics that they had. That’s what I was told by some of the interviews that we’ve had. Chief Contee, is that correct?
Chief Contee: (01:34:35)
Yes. I have heard the same thing with respect to the training of the US Capitol police officers.
Sen. Portman: (01:34:41)
Are all of your Metropolitan police officers trained in civil disturbance tactics?
Chief Contee: (01:34:46)
We have platoons that are trained for every patrol district. And a special operations division. Some officers do not have the civil disturbance training. And those officers, generally they work traffic duties or they work assignments back in patrol.
Sen. Portman: (01:35:06)
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Chief Sund, are all-
Chief Contee: (01:35:09)
If I could add… [inaudible 01:35:11] if I could add too, one other thing.
Sen. Portman: (01:35:13)
Chief Contee: (01:35:13)
All of our officers who leave the training academy, they get the basic civil disturbance unit training. So all of our officers do get the basic training, but we might have some members, for example, who’ve been on for 30 years, and they haven’t been CDU training, they work back at a patrol district. But all of our members coming out of the academy, they receive the civil disturbance unit training.
Sen. Portman: (01:35:35)
Mr. Sund, is that true with Capitol Hill police officers also? Are they all trained in civil disturbance tactics as they go through their training?
Steven Sund: (01:35:42)
That was a process being implemented. I could check and let you know if that’s been fully implemented for new recruits coming out of the academy. That was one of the initiatives I was working on.
Sen. Portman: (01:35:49)
So we working on that, but as far as you know, this training was not be provided even for new officers, much less for those on the force. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (01:35:57)
I believe the new officers coming out were, but I just need to confirm that.
Sen. Portman: (01:36:03)
Yeah. I think the bottom line here is that, unfortunately, our officers were not given the proper training, with regard to infiltration of the building or the complex, with regard to dealing with civil disturbance. And they didn’t have the equipment necessary to push back, and most importantly, to protect themselves. So my hope is that, again, one of the ways that this joint hearing and this committee report can be helpful, is to bring the Capitol Police Department up to speed.
Sen. Portman: (01:36:36)
And look, I appreciate the sacrifice and the bravery of that day. But I think we also owe it to those officers to provide them the training and the equipment they need to protect themselves and to protect the Capitol. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Sen. Peters: (01:36:49)
Thank you ranking member. The Chair now recognizes Senator Leahy.
Senator Leahy: (01:36:55)
Thank you Chairman. I would like to [inaudible 01:36:58] and say that I agree with his concerns. But I might ask a question from the Appropriations Committee, and I know time is limited so these can be yes or no answers. The Appropriations Committee has always worked in a bipartisan fashion to get money to the police. So Mr. Sund, yes or no, the Appropriations Committee, and ultimately the Congress, had met your request for salaries and operating expenses in every fiscal year. Is that not correct?
Steven Sund: (01:37:38)
Senator Leahy: (01:37:40)
Thank you. And Mr. Stenger, the Appropriations Committee, and ultimately the Congress, has met your request for salaries and operating expenses every fiscal year. Is that correct? I don’t hear an answer. So I’ll ask Mr. Irving. Mr. Irving, the Appropriations Committee, and ultimately the Congress, has met your request for salaries and operating expenses in every fiscal year. Is that correct?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (01:38:15)
Yes. That is correct.
Senator Leahy: (01:38:17)
Mr. Stenger: (01:38:19)
Yes. That’s correct, sir.
Senator Leahy: (01:38:20)
Thank you very much. So I have to think, not that we had inadequate resources, but a failure to deploy the people that we were supposed to. I look at those who appeared, I looked at the lives that were lost, the police who fought, who protected our Capitol. We saw this as a violent, and I would say, planned and organized attack in the United States government by domestic terrorists. I hope they’re all going to be prosecuted as fully as they can. But those… When we see people encouraging them, including from the former president of the United States, who urged his followers to fight and to show strength, I really wonder why we didn’t take this seriously enough to be prepared for them.
Senator Leahy: (01:39:29)
The hours it took to bring in the National Guard and everything else. So I read, Mr. Sund, I read your detailed letter to Speaker Pelosi. But you said there wasn’t enough intelligence shared. But in your same… you stated that the intelligence assessment, I’m quoting here, “indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, Antifa, and other extremist groups, were expected to participate in the January 6th event. And they may be inclined to become violent.” How much more intelligence do we need than that?
Steven Sund: (01:40:17)
Yes sir, that is correct. That is what the intelligence assessment said. It was very similar to the intelligence assessments that we had for the November and December MAGA marches. The intelligence assessments that we had developed for the January 6th event all the way up until January 6th were all saying very much the same thing. And that’s what we had planned for. We had planned for the possibility of violence, the possibility of some people being armed, not the possibility of a coordinated military style attack involving thousands against the Capitol.
Senator Leahy: (01:40:49)
Violence and armed strike me as a pretty strong thing. And I would suggest that everybody get together and look at the future, because if you have something that goes on for months, the president calling them, everybody else calling them, I’m worried that there was not more there. I think until we root out the hate and throw the rioters through the door that day, no fence, or tank, or barrier is going to provide the safety we need. Not only safety but also we’re talking about, Benjamin Franklin says, “Those who give up essential liberty to personal and temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Senator Leahy: (01:41:40)
But I know a vote is on. And before I close I do want to commend Chief Contee for your excellent response. You don’t have an easy job, protecting a city as large as Washington D.C. and the delicate balance with dozens of other law enforcement.
Senator Leahy: (01:42:02)
… dozens of other law enforcement. But I commend the two chairs and ranking members for holding this hearing. We’ll hold more in appropriations, but we’re going to be very close at the request this year can say, “What do we do if we have another one of these?” I thank you and I yield back my time.
Speaker 1: (01:42:23)
Thank you, Senator Leahy. Chair recognizes Senator Johnson.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:42:28)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to start off by just thanking our law enforcement witnesses for your service. I know 2020 is hindsight. It’s pretty easy to Monday morning quarterback, and I want to make sure that we guard against doing so. What I’ve seen from testimony, it seems like there’s a fair amount of thought, fair amount of due diligence went into this. So again, I appreciate your service.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:42:52)
I also want to say, I find the videos, as you said Chief Sund, sickening, the violence reprehensible, the racial slurs repugnant. And I want to make sure the perpetrators, the people that engaged in the violence, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I’ve got a long list of questions, which this format really doesn’t lend itself to asking. So what I will be doing is preparing a letter for the committee chair and hoping that they will ask those questions and investigate these issues that I’ll be listening.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:43:26)
But what I want to do is in terms of asking some questions, I want to start out by reading excerpts from what I thought was a very interesting eye witness account by J. Michael Waller. He is a senior analyst for strategy at the Center Of Security Policy. His areas of concentration include political and psychological warfare and subversion. He’s a former professor instructor at the Institute of World Politics of the Naval Postgraduate School. He’s a current lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. He wrote this piece titled I Saw Provocateurs at the Capitol Riot on January 6th. And he basically arrived on scene about 11:30 from Union Station, and I’ll just start reading.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:44:07)
“About 11:30, I walked from near Union Station and noticed a small number of Capitol Police dressed in full riot gear with shin guards and shoulder guards. Then I walked up Pennsylvania Avenue toward an empty Freedom Park.” He noticed that the speech had broken up and so a crowd was walking down Constitution Avenue. He joined them at 13th street. But he said that, “The mood of the crowd was positive and festive. Of the thousands of people I passed or who passed me along Constitution Avenue, some were indignant and contemptuous of Congress, but not one appeared angry or incited to riot. Many of the marchers were families with small children. Many were elderly, overweight, or just plain tired or frail, traits not typically attributed to the riot prone. Many wore pro-police shirts or carried pro-police black and blue flags.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:44:57)
“Although the crowd represented a broad section of Americans, mostly working class by their appearance and manner of speech, some people stood out. A very few didn’t share the jovial friendly earnest demeanor of the great majority. Some obviously didn’t fit in.” And he describes four different types of people. Plain clothes militants agents, provocateurs, fake Trump protestors, and then disciplined uniform column of attackers. I think these are the people that probably planned this. He goes on. “The DC metropolitan police were their usual professionally detached selves, standing on curbs or at street crossings and exchanging occasional greeting from marchers. When we crossed first street Northwest to enter the Capitol grounds where the Capitol Police had jurisdiction, I noticed no police at all. Several marchers expressed surprise. The openness seemed like a courtesy gesture from Congress, which controls security. That appearance of low threat level made no sense. Yet no Capitol police appeared anywhere from what we could see.” Now, again, I’m taking these excerpts in order, but there’s a lot more to this piece.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:46:02)
“What looked like tens or even hundreds of thousands of people surged down the avenues as far as one can see, but almost everyone seemed talkative and happy. No police could be seen on the platform for now. No police could be seen anywhere. People kept surging in from Constitutional Avenue and the plaza quickly filled up and overflowed onto the lawn. Everyone squeezed closer and closer together, with most in high spirits. Some trouble began up in the front, near the base of the inaugural platform itself, but we could not see what was happening.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:46:34)
“Then something happened at the front of the crowd. It seemed like a scuffle, but from 40 feet back, I couldn’t see. People started chanting USA, USA, and other slogans. For a few seconds, I saw what looked like police in a tussle with some of the marchers up front, what appeared to be an organized group in civilian clothes. This organized group are the cell I would call the plain clothes militants. They fit right in with MAGA people. Suddenly, energy surged from the front of the crowd is the anti- riot police above on the inaugural platform visibly tensed up. One fired a tear gas canister, not at the plain clothes militants at the front line, but into the crowd itself. Then another. Flash grenades went off in the middle of the crowd.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:47:14)
“The tear gas changed the crowd’s demeanor. There was an air of disbelief as people realize that the police whom they supported were firing on them. ‘What are you doing? We support you,’ someone yelled. All of a sudden pro-police people felt the police were attacking them and they didn’t know why. More tear gas. A canister struck a girl in the face, drawing blood. The pro-police crowd went from disbelief and confusion to anger.”
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:47:40)
I’ll stop there. The last five pages is titled Provocateurs Turn Unsuspecting Marchers Into An Invading Mob. So I’d really recommend everybody in the committee read this account and I ask that it be entered into the record. But Chief Sund, I want to ask you, the House Managers made a big deal that this was predictable. This was foreseeable, which I don’t believe. Do you believe that what happened, the breach of the Capitol, did you believe that’s foreseeable and predictable?
Steven Sund: (01:48:13)
No, I don’t know. Nor do, if you look at some of our other partner agencies, I think Acting Chief Contee actually made the statement that a breach of the Capitol was not something anybody anticipated, nor do I think some of our federal partners expected it. I don’t think Secret Service would have brought up the vice-president if they expected it.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:48:28)
Is part of that because of what you’d experienced in the past, what this Mr. Waller experiences, the vast majority of Trump’s supporters are pro law enforcement and the last thing they would do is violate the law?
Steven Sund: (01:48:39)
I will say that information I’ve received from some of my officers were they were trying to prevent people from coming into the building and people were showing up saying, “Hey, we’re police. Let us through,” and still wanting to violate the law to get inside the building. So, you know …
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:48:52)
Again, I’ve got a long, long list. I just want to close with the two former Sergeant of Arms. I knew these committees were going to start an investigation. I waited a couple of weeks. I didn’t see any letter go out, oversight letters. So I wrote my own on the 21st. And I just have a question for both the former Sergeant of Arms. Did you get my letter, my oversight letter, with my questions?
Speaker 2: (01:49:21)
I did not. I did not receive your letter. I left town right after I resigned, but I certainly looked forward to working with you and your staff to answer your questions.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:49:31)
Okay, well, if you could give us an address, because we sent it to the Acting Sergeant of Arms. That acting Sergeant of Arms won’t even let us know whether they pass that letter long to you. Apparently they didn’t. Mr. Stenger, did you receive my letter?
Mr. Stenger: (01:49:43)
I don’t recall it, Senator, but it might’ve come. I don’t recall.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:49:51)
Chief Sund, one last question for you. Do you re do you regret resigning?
Steven Sund: (01:49:55)
Yes I do, sir. I certainly do regret resigning. I love this agency. I love the women and men of this agency and I regret the day I left.
Senator Ron Johnson: (01:50:03)
Well, Mr. Irving, Mr. Stenger, I really wish you’d … First of all, look for my letter and I’d like an answer to that as quickly as possible. Thank you.
Senator Klobuchar: (01:50:12)
Thank you, Senator Johnson. We’re waiting for Senator Warner and any other member. I see Senator Rosen. Would you like to go ahead because you’re the first member on? Senator Rosen.
Senator Rosen: (01:50:23)
Perfect. Thank you very much, Senator Klobuchar, and thank you everyone for being here today and springing this hearing is much needed, and I think it’s the first of many. But I’d like to start off by expressing that my thoughts are with the brave Capitol Police officers. They put their lives on the line to protect us on January 6th and their heroic actions like the ones of Eugene Goodman, they redirected those violent rioters away from us. They’re going to forever be embedded in our minds. And know that so many of these courageous men and women, they’re really hurting in the aftermath of the insurrection. And I’ve been particularly heartbroken to hear about the death of Capitol Police Officer Howard Levengood. He was protecting the Senate since 2005. He was stationed by the door of my [inaudible 01:51:15] office. My prayers are with him and his family and his loved ones.
Senator Rosen: (01:51:20)
When the insurrectionists, when they came to storm our Capitol on January 6th, they came armed not only with weapons, but also with hate. Mere weeks before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the world watched in horror as a rioter inside the Capitol proudly wore a Camp Auschwitz shirt as he and others violently pushed forward on the House and the Senate floors, all the while the rioters are waving Confederate flags, they’re hanging nooses on the front lawn. They’re verbally assaulting a Jewish reporter outside the Capitol, saying, “You are cattle,” to them. That refers to cattle cars that were used to transport Jews to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust. This violent attack on the Capitol featured followers from the anti-Semitic QAnon conspiracy theory.
Senator Rosen: (01:52:13)
So Mr. Contee, on January 4th, Metro Police Department arrested Enrique Tarrio, leader of the racist, anti-Semitic Proud Boys hate group. FBI claims the next day, it shared with MPD concrete intelligence about extremist plans for violence on January 6th, including specific threats on members of Congress, maps of the tunnels under the Capitol complex. If MPD was tracking extremist, potentially violent white supremacy activity, then what exactly did you know on January 5th? And why didn’t you alert anyone?
Chief Contee: (01:52:51)
Thank you for that question. What the FBI sent me on January 5th was in the form of an email. I would certainly think that something as violent as an insurrection on the Capitol would warrant a phone call or something. But as Chief Sund mentioned earlier, the information that was sent, it was uncorroborated information. It was raw information that we had that we received through the same lens, through the ATTF. That information was not fully vetted and it had not been set up through the chains of the Metropolitan Police Department. What the Metropolitan Police Department was prepared for was the larger violence and demonstrations that we expected to see in our city.
Senator Rosen: (01:53:40)
That’s funny. I have to ask Mr. Sund the same question now. What did you know, as of Tuesday night, January 5th, because I have a follow-up for both of you on this one. So quickly, Mr. Sund, what did you know on January 5th, and were you alarmed or not alarmed? What did you expect?
Steven Sund: (01:53:59)
So, yeah, I was concerned. We had the intelligence that was coming out, the intelligence that we’d be planning for. Again, keep in mind, the intelligence assessments that we had developed at the end of December and the one for January 3rd were very, very similar. They just provided a little bit more specificity. So we had already been planning for the threat for violence, the threat for armed possible people protesting. And that’s what we’re planning for. Now, if you’re referring to the Norfolk letter, again, I just became aware that, the department was aware of that 24 hours ago. So on the 6th or the 5th or the 4th, I was not aware that memo existed.
Senator Rosen: (01:54:38)
So you’re saying that there’s a breakdown between you and the FBI because we have rallies, protests, and things happen in Washington all the time. Could both of you just maybe give a guess, how many do you think are usually with armed insurrectionists or come heavily armed out of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of rallies that we see in Washington through the year?
Chief Contee: (01:55:04)
We know the last three incidents, the first two MAGA rallies, men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department recovered firearms from several people who were attending the demonstrations at the first MAGA rally, as well as the second one. Aside from that, those have been really the only demonstrations where we’ve seen individuals coming armed.
Senator Rosen: (01:55:30)
Well, do you think this was an intelligence breakdown or a resource issue?
Chief Contee: (01:55:35)
I think that the intelligence did not make it where it needed to be in terms of-
Senator Rosen: (01:55:42)
So you think the FBI did not raise us to the level they needed to with Metropolitan Police Department in your mind?
Chief Contee: (01:55:49)
We received it in the form of an email that came as an alert bulletin at 7:00 PM the day before. Our posture at the Metropolitan Police Department, again, I think it’s reflected in our deployment in terms of not just the National Guard that was deployed, but as well as other officers from surrounding jurisdictions. That reflected the seriousness that we took with respect to the threats that we were expecting to see in the city.
Senator Rosen: (01:56:15)
Mr. Mr. Sun, can you tell me, do you think this was a resource issue or intelligence breakdown or something else? If you’ll be brief because this is very important and-
Steven Sund: (01:56:27)
Yes, ma’am. I’ll be very brief. It was part of my introduction. I think it was more than just the Norfolk letter. I think we need to look at the whole entire intelligence community and the view they have on some of the domestic extremists and the effect that they have. I look at this as a intelligence problem that impacted this event. Yes.
Senator Rosen: (01:56:45)
So what information would you have had to have heard to have raised up the flag to get more resources for the Capitol Police? Because, I mean, we saw loss of life and thank goodness there wasn’t more, but one is too many. So what is your threshold then? What should be the threshold to protect the Capitol and protect your officers?
Steven Sund: (01:57:11)
I did an advanced reach out to the Washington DC police to coordinate resources. And I did also go to both the House and Senate Sergeant of Arms to request the National Guard.
Senator Rosen: (01:57:21)
And Mr. Contee, I think I have five seconds and we can take this off the record, but I believe that there’s some plans by QAnon for something to happen at the Capitol on March 4th. I want to hear what steps we’re taking to protect the Capitol on March 4th from any more violent extremists. Thank you.
Senator Klobuchar: (01:57:42)
Okay. We’ll have you talk to him about that later, because Senator Warner has arrived via video.and I also want to mention, Senator Peters will work with our witnesses for restroom breaks and the like and let us know so that we don’t want to take a long break, but I can imagine you need a break at some point here. So Senator Warner.
Senator Warner: (01:58:02)
Thank you, Madam Chairman. And thank you to the witnesses for appearing today. We’ve talked a little bit about the deployment or lack of deployment of the National Guard. And one of the questions, I guess, Mr. Sund, or frankly, or Chief Contee, the fact that the district did not have the ability to bring the guard to the table because of, frankly, that they’re not a state and Mayor Bowser was not treated, I think, in a totally fair fashion in this. This may be outside your lane, but her inability to bring the guards to the table and actually any of you on the panel can answer this, that to me is a reflection of the disempowerment of the district. On a going forward basis, at least in terms of being able to deploy the guard, shouldn’t the mayor of the District of Columbia have the ability to do that without all the additional hurdles they have to go through in terms of federal checklists?
Chief Contee: (01:59:14)
Yes. I absolutely agree with that.
Senator Warner: (01:59:18)
Does anybody else want to answer on that question as well?
Steven Sund: (01:59:22)
Yes, sir. I’m happy to add in. I think we have an established process for the Capitol Police to make the request through the Capitol Police Board that is also equally as effective.
Senator Warner: (01:59:34)
Well, again, I feel like the long-term discrimination against the district that we’ve seen it in some of the COVID legislation where they did not receive the same kind of level of support that other states did, we saw it play out real time in terms of on January 6th, be in hurdles from the previous administration. I actually have concerns with the deployment of the guard was affirmatively slowed down. I hope that we in the Congress will, as a supporter of DC statehood, I’d like to see that move forward, but even short of that, trying to ensure that the mayor has appropriate powers going forward.
Senator Warner: (02:00:13)
I know there were some questions already raised about the FBI and whether the intel that came out on the Norfolk FBI office was ever fully relayed to all of you individuals. But can you talk more generally about the FBI’s responsiveness, sharing of intelligence? I had a number of conversations. I called Director Ray on Monday the 4th, trying to express concerns that there might be this kind of activity. I never expected this level of violence. I had a number of conversations with senior FBI leadership on the 5th through the 6th. I candidly was, I don’t think even the [inaudible 02:01:01] could have been fully informed of all of what was going to come to pass, but I felt like the FBI felt that they were in better shape in terms of intel and preparation than what came to be the case. And I’d like each of you to comment on how well you felt that the FBI did in terms of sharing intelligence and then coordinating when the actual activities of the 6th played out.
Steven Sund: (02:01:27)
I’ll go ahead and … You want me to address that first?
Senator Warner: (02:01:30)
Yeah. I mean, I can’t see where you all are, so every one of you can take a crack at that.
Steven Sund: (02:01:35)
I’ll go ahead and start first. I think the relationship we have with the FBI is outstanding. I think in my time with metropolitan and my time here, we’ve seen nothing but the relationship get better. The construct that we have that’s very similar to some of the other major cities is having the joint terrorism task force, being involved with that. The information we’re getting in is good. I think the process and having, like I said earlier, the wider lens of what information is being collected, maybe looking at the agencies that are consumers of their information and what their intelligence collection requirements are is something that we need to look at. But I think getting that information in and then having it processed and pushed forward in an effective manner is something we need to look at.
Steven Sund: (02:02:19)
I would say on the 6th, when this started happening, immediately the FBI as being a partner of ours established a process where with Capitol Police and FBI police, we can begin to analyze video footage, analyze other evidence to begin going out and making arrests of the individuals that had created the insurrection of the Capitol.
Chief Contee: (02:02:46)
Yeah, I’ll go next-
Senator Warner: (02:02:48)
What I want to know is did we get enough intel beforehand? If we get the balance of the panel to respond?
Chief Contee: (02:02:52)
Yeah, sure. I would echo what Chief Sund just mentioned. We’ve had a great working relationship with the FBI. I think it’s a whole of intelligence approach, not specifically just the FBI, when we have something as significant as what occurred here at the US Capitol. If there’s specific information out there that our government is responding to, I would think that something of that nature would rise to the level of more than just an email sent to law enforcement agencies. That should be a larger, more involved conversation about specifics, not just some of the unvetted raw information that’s out there. We see a lot of that, but I think it’s more of a whole intelligence approach and that specifically the FBI. They are great partners to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Senator Warner: (02:03:43)
Thank you. Let me just … I don’t know if any of the other panel members want to add any comment on that. Let me just say that this is my concern is that in Virginia, we’ve seen these kinds of anti-government extremists take to the streets of Charlottesville in 2017, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer. We see the same kind of groups come to the forefront on January 6th. I think this is an ongoing threat to national security. I fear at times that while the FBI and others have pointed this out, that it didn’t get the level of serious review that it should have with the prior administration. I felt at times that they did not want to take the information that was coming out of the FBI.
Senator Warner: (02:04:44)
I hope on a going forward basis, we’re going to be able to be more coordinated in terms of taking on anti-government extremism, whether it comes from the left or the right. This is a real ongoing threat. I can tell you from our intelligence committee that we’ve seen that many of these groups have connections and ties to anti-government extremist groups in Europe, where they’ve taken a great precedent. I know my time’s expired, Madam Chairman, but this is something we need more work on. Thank you for willing to sharing.
Senator Klobuchar: (02:05:13)
Thank you very much, Senator Warner. We look to working with you and the intelligence committee on this. Next will be Senator Lankford, and after that, Senator Carper.
Senator Lankford: (02:05:23)
Thank you. Sund, I want to try to validate something. There’s a letter that’s in the public domain at this point that’s an eight page letter that was written to Speaker Pelosi that is attributed to you to try to explain the events of that day. Are you familiar with that letter in the public domain? And is it accurate?
Steven Sund: (02:05:40)
Yes, it is sir.
Senator Lankford: (02:05:41)
So in the letter itself, you described several things in this and the details and the timeline on it. Can you tell me why you wrote this letter to Speaker Pelosi? What was the purpose of the letter?
Steven Sund: (02:05:52)
I feel at the time, I resigned, I had limited communications with my department. I know my department was getting ready to go and testify at some of the initial committee hearings. And I think that she had called for my resignation without full understanding of what we had prepared for, what we had gone through. I think she deserved to read firsthand what we had prepared for and what I dealt with for the 6th.
Senator Lankford: (02:06:21)
Okay. That’s helpful. You had said in this, you talked several times about thousands of well-coordinated, well-equipped violent criminals and described them, with climbing gear and all the things that you’ve also testified here. You also mentioned this letter about the pipe bombs that were located, that the first word will come at 12:52 that a pipe bomb had been located at the Republican National Committee headquarters. How was that located? Who found it? And why was that particular moment the moment that it was found?
Steven Sund: (02:06:47)
I don’t know why that was a particular moment that was found. I believe it was an employee of the Republican National Committee that had located it in the rear of the building that had called it into Capitol Police headquarters.
Senator Lankford: (02:06:58)
You had mentioned before that you thought this was part of the coordination, that there were several that were out there that would take away resources at that exact moment, but there’s no way to know that they would find it at that exact moment. I’m glad they did find it. They found another one at the Democratic headquarters as well at 1:50. And you document that as well. But you had to send quite a few individuals to be able to go to the RNC and the DNC to be able to go deal with those explosives that were planted there. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (02:07:24)
That is correct. And just for your information, the RNC pipe bomb, that was one that was really run by Capitol Police. The DNC Metropolitan ended up taking that and running that, so we can run two concurrently. That resulted in the evacuation of two congressional buildings, the Cannon House Office Building, as well as one of the Library of Congress buildings. So it took extensive resources.
Senator Lankford: (02:07:45)
So the assaults and the capital is not what caused the evacuation of those buildings. The discovery of those pipe bombs is what caused the evacuation of those buildings?
Steven Sund: (02:07:52)
That is correct, sir.
Senator Lankford: (02:07:53)
There’s been quite a bit of conversation today and quite a few members here that have talked about the National Guard and the length of time that it took to be able to go through the bureaucratic process to be able to get them deployed. I do think that needs to be shortened obviously in a deployment structure and the complexity of the bureaucracy here. But it seems to be a misunderstanding on this [inaudible 02:08:14] of some individuals describing the National Guard as if they’re the riot police that can automatically be called out. Were you expecting them to be like a rapid response SWAT team at this point? What’s a typical response from the National Guard to be able to call them out when they are not currently positioned?
Steven Sund: (02:08:30)
I believe the typical response once they are approved is approximately two hours.
Senator Lankford: (02:08:33)
Okay. But then the approval process is obviously multiple hours to do that or multiple days to do that. You had started that process several days before in making some requests.
Steven Sund: (02:08:42)
So that is correct. As far as the process, my initial request was over to Mr. Irving. It was actually an in-person request on the 4th. And it wasn’t until the evening of the fourth that I talked to General Walker that he informed me that, if needed, because Mr. Stenger wanted me to ask them if they can lean forward, they can get 125, if needed in a fairly quick fashion, once approved. So that’s what leaded into January 6th, when we made the initial request at 1:09.
Senator Lankford: (02:09:09)
But that 125 individuals from the National Guard that were prepared to be able to move faster because they were in streets and different places dealing with traffic duty at that point, you had already been informed that the city of Washington DC and the mayor’s office had made a request to DOD and DOD had approved it, that none of them would be armed, none of them would have heavy gear on. There would be no military vehicles that’d be available to them. They had to use unmarked vans and other government vans. And there would be no helicopters that would be used. Those were prohibited that day for those 125 individuals that were already on the street. Is that correct?
Steven Sund: (02:09:43)
So just for correction, at the time, no, I did not know that was the restrictions being placed on them. And two, when I talked to General Walker the evening of the 4th, which was Monday evening, the 125 he was going to give us were 125 that were doing COVID relief for the District of Columbia, not assigned to the traffic post.
Senator Lankford: (02:10:00)
Okay. So the individuals that were assigned to traffic duty had no weapons, had no military vehicles to move, had no overhead visual on anything. That had all been requested no from the city of Washington DC. And then for the other individuals that could be assigned to you as a rapid force, those were folks that were currently doing COVID duty. So you had no SWAT team. This description is very interesting to me around this [inaudible 02:10:25] is that people think that suddenly the National Guard just bursts in and is ready to go on that. That’s not what their National Guard has pre-positioned to do.
Steven Sund: (02:10:32)
That is correct. Anytime we’ve requested the National Guard, they’ve been in an unarmed fashion. I was looking for them to help support the perimeter that we had established.
Senator Lankford: (02:10:41)
Okay. There has been some concern now. I’ve talked to some of the officers here, and there’s obviously been some conversation around this [inaudible 02:10:48] as well about the rules of engagement and about training and authorization. There wasn’t training for what to do if a mass group actually comes through the door and tries to burst through, whether it’s an insurrection type event, whether it’s just a mob that’s gone crazy and whatever it may be, or protest that gets out of hand to be able to burst the door. There was no clarity for the officers inside the building on their rules of engagements once they actually came to the building. They literally, my impression is, had to make it up on their own and they’ve determined their stand was going to be where the members and the staff were located. That was going to be their stand to start using lethal force. So I have a couple questions for that.
Senator Lankford: (02:11:27)
At this point now, and I understand hindsight’s 2020, is there a need for much greater, less than lethal force capability on officers at the time or available to officers at a time that they have less than lethal capabilities in clear rules of engagement in what to if you have a group of individuals come into the building unauthorized?
Steven Sund: (02:11:45)
So just for a little clarification, we do train for people trying to get into the building. We don’t train for, what I said, an insurrection of thousands of people. And our officers do have less lethal capability that they carry with them. With hindsight being what it is from January 6th, absolutely. I think there needs to be additional training, additional equipment to consider this type of attack in the future.
Senator Lankford: (02:12:05)
Well, the challenge is we all watched this summer, in fact, this committee at Homeland Security had a hearing on the assaults on a federal courthouse in Portland and went through and all of us saw for a month individuals just attack that courthouse day after day after day. And we saw the techniques that were used. Some of those same techniques were used by individuals that came in here. I’m not saying it was the same individuals, but some of those same techniques of trying to be able to work to the fence, to be able to find it, to be able to find a way to be able to attack officers. So the challenge is that we saw that this was rising, I guess, that people were watching on TV people attacking a federal institution all summer long. And it is a follow-up that we’re going to have to do in the days ahead of how to be able to get less than lethal capability and to find ways to be able to stop any kind of assault of a number of individuals to be able to come on the Capitol.
Senator Lankford: (02:12:54)
So I appreciate your service. I appreciate very much the officers that continue to be able to serve, because they’ve not had a gap. They’ve not had a break since that time period. And I know you still interact with them, at least I hope you do. And I would encourage you to pass on from us our gratitude. And we’re all looking at this as a hindsight 2020, saying, “Why couldn’t you read the tea leaves at this particular scrap of intelligence that came in the night before?” None of us saw it at this level. So we’re grateful for the service they continue to do, and let’s find the lessons we can learn.
Steven Sund: (02:13:24)
Thank you very much, sir. I know they appreciate your support as well as the support of Congress. They’re a hell of a police agency.
Senator Klobuchar: (02:13:29)
Okay. Thank you, Senator Lankford. Next, thank you for your patience, Senator Carper.
Senator Carper: (02:13:34)
My pleasure. Thank you. Madam Chair. Chief Contee, as a former governor of the first state of Delaware, for eight years, I recall numerous instances in which I call on the Delaware National Guard in emergencies. They could have been the floods, blizzards, ice storms, drought, you name it. A lot more. I know the importance of, the value of work that our citizen soldiers have done for decades in the first state and other states around the country. As we have learned in contrast to every other states’ National Guard in the country, the DC National Guard operates differently. And I’m convinced if someone had been able to activate the DC National Guard and have 1000 or 2000 guardsmen and women deployed at the Capitol in a timely way on the 6th of January, this destruction, this death and destruction would not have occurred.
Senator Carper: (02:14:27)
Unlike the 50 States that we have [inaudible 02:14:31], the District of Columbia is not empowered to activate the DC National Guard during an emergency. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve worked for years with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to support legislations to admit to Washington DC as our 51st state and to provide equal rights to the Americans who make this community, over 700,000 people, their home.
Senator Carper: (02:14:51)
Here’s the question. Chief Contee, in your testimony, you highlight that a request for DC National Guard assistance at the US Capitol on January 6th would have have had to have been made by the US Capitol Police with the consent of the US Department Of Defense. Can you just take a minute to explain that process and why Mayor Bowser’s not able to request DC National Guard assistance when federal installations and property, as well as human lives, are threatened in the district that she leads? Please, go ahead.
Chief Contee: (02:15:22)
Yes. Thank you for the question. Yeah. So the mayor does not have full authority over the National Guard to include their activation or deployment. We make a request as the District of Columbia, we make a request. We send that to the federal government. Ultimately, the Secretary of the Army oversees that request. There’s a whole approval process that that request has to go through in order for National Guard resources to be deployed to the District of Columbia, unlike governors and other states who are able to activate their National Guard without going through-
Chief Contee: (02:16:03)
… beginning to activate their National Guard without going through those approval processes and receiving approval from the highest level of the federal government. That just does not have to take place in other states, so a real hindrance to us in terms of our response and the ability to call them up.
Senator Carper: (02:16:19)
Thanks, sir. Thanks for that response. Could you just take a minute to share with us your thoughts on whether having a DC National Guard under the command of a mayor or even a governor of a neighboring state might help the DC Metropolitan Police in coordinating with federal authorities to better protect the city and its citizens, and along with federal installations during the assault, like the one week experienced on January the sixth?
Chief Contee: (02:16:43)
Yes, I think we certainly should. We knew even on that day, on January 6th, prior to any movement of the National Guard from the assignments that they have been given, the traffic posts. Again, that required approval at the highest levels of the federal government to include the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of Defense, in order to just move the National Guard or change of mission, in essence. Yes, I think that that should certainly be something that falls under the mayor’s authority.
Senator Carper: (02:17:18)
All right, thanks so much. A question, if I could, from Mr. Sund. Mr. Sund, in your testimony, you state that the events of January 6th were not the results of poor planning on behalf of the US Capitol Police, but rather a lack of actionable intelligence that would have allowed the… Let me start over, but rather a lack of actual intelligence that would have allowed the Capitol Police to properly prepare.
Senator Carper: (02:17:47)
As I was looking through Mr. Stenger’s testimony, and former Sergeant at Arms for the US Senate, he stays, and I want to quote, he says, “The chain of information and resources is paramount for success.” That’s his quote. I strongly agree with that statement.
Senator Carper: (02:18:01)
Mr. Sund, what went wrong leading up to January 6th, with regard to gathering and sharing actual intelligence? Why do you think likelihood of a truly devastating attack was so badly underestimated, Mr. Sund?
Steven Sund: (02:18:15)
I think as you start to hear from some of the federal agencies on the investigations that are currently going on, where they’re finding evidence that this was a coordinated attack, that had been coordinated among numerous states for some time in advance of this. That’s the information that would have been extremely helpful to us, for them to detect some type of level of coordination that would have given us the indication that we’re going to see more than just a may become violent, maybe inclined to violence type of preparations. You look at it now, you see, knowing what occurred, you see what type of resources were brought to bear around the Capitol. That type of information could have give us sufficient advanced warning to prep plan for more of an attack, such as what we saw.
Senator Carper: (02:19:01)
The great Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, probably a lot of people, certainly in my generation, remember, “What we have here as a failure to communicate,” that was right at the end of the film, “What we have is a failure to communicate.” Do we have a failure to communicate here? I’m not one who’s crazy about pointing fingers and assigning blame, but to whom did we assign that failure to communicate?
Steven Sund: (02:19:27)
I believe that questions for me, sir. What I look at is, we have a process for communications, and it being a consumer of intelligence, I look at it more of, I think there’s a failure of having a wide enough lens to look at what are the current threats that we’re facing in a nation now from some of the domestic extremists. I think the communications processes are there. They need to be worked on a little bit, but I think the intelligence community needs to broaden its aperture on what information it collects.
Senator Carper: (02:19:56)
We now know in retrospect that the rioters on January 6th didn’t begin on January 5th or the fourth or the third. It started weeks before and was fomented encouraged, as we now know by, among others, our president, and somehow all of that work and all the intelligence that was gathered by the FBI and other Homeland Security, never found its way to the people who right here in DC could have used it the most to have avoided the tragedy of January the sixth. Thank you.
Senator Carper: (02:20:26)
Our thanks to, particularly, the officers at the US Capitol Police and others who joined them in trying to protect us in this Capitol on that sad day.
Sen. Peters: (02:20:39)
I know we have several members ready to go, and we want you to go as quickly as possible, but there’s been a request from our witnesses who have been here a long time. If we could give them a five minute break, and then we will reconvene in five minutes with additional questions, so we will recess for five minutes.
Sen. Peters: (02:20:58)
Sen. Peters: (02:29:13)
We’re going to bring this back to the order. Get our remote folks. It’s good to see you on remote. Mr. Sund, welcome back. Senator Merkley, you’re up for questions.
Sen. Peters: (02:29:29)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to our witnesses. Mr. Sund, on January 4th, MPD arrested the leader of The Proud Boys for destruction of property and possessing high capacity firearm magazines, and on the following day, on January 5th, the FBI issued a report through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes going to the US Capitol Police. That report noted that on far-right media, the threats included things such as, the comments such as, “Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, blood from their BLM and antifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent, stop calling this a march or a rally or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die. Nothing else will achieve this goal.” Did you get that FBI intelligence report?
Steven Sund: (02:30:36)
I addressed that right when we started. The United States Capitol Police Department did get that report. I was just advised to that in the last 24 hours. That report made it from the Joint Terrorism Task Force over to our intelligence Bureau, over to a sergeant there, and ceased moving forward at that point. No leadership, myself included, over at Capitol Police was made aware of that at the time of the event.
Sen. Peters: (02:31:00)
You’ve referred in your testimony to the individual who is the head, John Donahue, the director of intelligence on the US Capitol Police. Did he receive that report, but he did not pass it on to you as head of the USCP?
Steven Sund: (02:31:21)
Again, I have no knowledge that he received that report. I’ve been told it went over to a official with the rank of sergeant and didn’t move any farther from there.
Sen. Peters: (02:31:31)
Okay. That’s very concerning. Were there not procedures for the head of the intelligence on the US Capitol Police to get the intelligence report, to review it, especially when there were significant other indications of potential violence, and make sure that you, as the leader, had that knowledge on which to develop additional plans, if additional plans were needed?
Steven Sund: (02:31:54)
I’m sure that’s something that they’re looking at in their current after action. Yes, there is a process for it, but again, as I mentioned before, that was raw intelligence that was coming in. Again, taken in consideration with everything else, none of the other intelligence was showing that we’re looking at this type of a broad insurrectionist type of a event with thousands of armed, coordinated individuals.
Sen. Peters: (02:32:15)
I know you’re saying that folks are looking at that now, but my question was, did you have a procedure for important intelligence to be brought directly to your attention and did that system break down? And that’s why you did not see the warnings about blood being spilled, get violent, be ready to come and die?
Steven Sund: (02:32:37)
Yes. There is a process in place to make sure that critical, important information is brought up to leadership. Again, that was something that would have gone through the development and the analysis of that information.
Sen. Peters: (02:32:49)
Okay. You’re saying the intelligence side of US Capitol Police failed to get that into your hands. Let me turn to rules of engagement. Officers are out there and there was an expanded perimeter, which you’ve referred to, and you have those kinds of perimeter fence that looked like bike racks, and in a normal situation, those tell peaceful protesters, this is where you stop.
Sen. Peters: (02:33:12)
Was there any sort of discussion or training about what to do if protesters started picking those things up and opening holes in that perimeter? What were the rules of engagement? If I’m a police officer that day on the line for the Capitol Police, was I trained? What do I do when those perimeter fences are breached, do I use spray? Do I use a stun gun? Do I use tear gas? Do I have a clear sense of exactly how I’m supposed to respond?
Steven Sund: (02:33:45)
Yes, there is a rules of engagement. There’s a use of force policy. There’s also a civil disobedience unit training that has to do with when you have a non-compliant group, how you deal with noncompliance in gaining compliance, which would include hand control techniques, the application of chemical spray, and then impact weapons.
Sen. Peters: (02:34:05)
On that day, you issued rules of engagement that included what, specifically? I’m an officer. What was I supposed to do if those barricades were breached?
Steven Sund: (02:34:14)
There’s rules of engagements that exist. They weren’t issued just that day. They existed.
Sen. Peters: (02:34:18)
They don’t vary from event to event based on threat analysis?
Steven Sund: (02:34:21)
Sen. Peters: (02:34:23)
That perimeter, you said got larger, which meant police officers were spread out over a larger area. Once it was breached, what are the directions to the police on the team to be able to retreat to a defensible point?
Steven Sund: (02:34:38)
What we had is we had what’s called an incident command system established. You have an incident command for both the exterior, the resources on the exterior of the building that would provide those officers, those CDU units, with specific directions on where to go, what’s the next step, if you’re going to retreat up to the upper west terrace. Which I believe, which is what they were told to do, as well as an incident command system inside the building, handling the joint session and activities going on inside.
Sen. Peters: (02:35:03)
I’m out on the plaza and the crowd swarms past me. I have an assigned place to go to retreat to that is defensible.
Steven Sund: (02:35:12)
The incident commander would be providing direction to people in the field on where to retreat to make the next stand.
Sen. Peters: (02:35:18)
No advance infer information. How do you avoid the situation of those who are guarding a door, closing and locking the door and leaving police officers stranded outside of that locked perimeter?
Steven Sund: (02:35:34)
Your question, how do you prevent that, is that what you’re saying?
Sen. Peters: (02:35:36)
How do you prevent that? If you’ve got folks who are guarding a door, and protesters are trying to get through it, so they’re trying to lock that and prevent it. There isn’t a preplan for how to deal with officers who are stranded outside of those doors. How’s that handled? Do you have drills on that? Do you have set instructions on that?
Steven Sund: (02:35:57)
Again, that’s something I would look for the onsite official, the onsite incident commander, to provide those officers with directions where to relocate to.
Sen. Peters: (02:36:05)
Okay, let me put it this way. Have you ever held a drill to respond to this situation where a crowd pushes past the exterior barricades?
Steven Sund: (02:36:14)
Not this level of a situation, no, sir.
Sen. Peters: (02:36:17)
To what level have you had such drills?
Steven Sund: (02:36:19)
We’ve done various exercises with people, activities on the grounds, during civil disobedience training, how to handle a ride as groups [crosstalk 02:36:29]
Sen. Peters: (02:36:29)
Okay, thank you. I’m going to turn, just have seconds left, to our former Sergeant-of-Arms for the Senate, Mr. Stenger. At the time that we were in the Senate chamber and the protestors, the rioters, reached the perimeter of the Senate, there was a very quick rush to try to lock the doors. There were people searching for, how do you lock these, and there’s many entrances on the balcony.
Sen. Peters: (02:36:59)
Have there ever been any sort of a drill with the Sergeant-of-Arms team or with in partnership with the Capitol Police on how to secure the doors to the chamber as a last point of defense?
Speaker 3: (02:37:14)
Yes, sir. At least once a year, they hold a chamber action drill, where they would work together with the Capitol Police, with the doorkeepers, to do a lockdown so they know when they should lock down and when [inaudible 02:37:29] up. [crosstalk 02:37:29]
Sen. Peters: (02:37:29)
That is done as an actual drill, where people have to run, get the keys, lock the doors. They know what doors they’re supposed to guard. Are they supposed to guard them from the inside or from the outside and so forth?
Speaker 3: (02:37:40)
Yes, sir [crosstalk 02:37:42].
Sen. Peters: (02:37:42)
When was the last such drill of that nature conducted?
Speaker 3: (02:37:48)
I’d have to go back and check, but we try and do it once a year.
Sen. Peters: (02:37:53)
Okay. I think I’m out of time, and I thank you very much to the chairman.
Sen. Peters: (02:37:58)
Thank you, Senator. Senator Scott, you’re recognized.
Sen. Scott: (02:38:05)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First off, I want to thank everybody for your hard work. We have National Guard up here. We’ve had them, I guess, since around the sixth. Can y’all tell us how you made the decision to bring the National Guard here, each of you, to the extent you’re involved or if you’re not involved, how the decision was made? The National Guard presence we have here now, [crosstalk 02:38:30] as a result of the riot, but the National Guard that’s put up the fencing and all that.
Steven Sund: (02:38:35)
Okay. That began to be developed the evening of the sixth. When we made the request, we got the National Guard in, we started looking to the future, what was going to be next. We started talking about bringing in the first section of global fencing, which basically went right around Capitol Square, which is Constitution, Independence, First to First. We got that, that in place.
Steven Sund: (02:38:53)
Then we started looking at what necessary National Guard resources working with the National Guard representative, so that was developed with Capitol Police working with, I believe, Sergeant at Arms at the time, in the evening, going into the seventh, that we developed that.
Sen. Scott: (02:39:10)
Okay, were you the only one involved or were the Sergeant at Arms involved?
Steven Sund: (02:39:14)
I believe so. I’d have to go back and pull that information. We were working on a number of different aspects of it at the time, but I had my general counsel as well as our operations people working on the request and the coordination with the National Guard.
Sen. Scott: (02:39:27)
What was the purpose of the original, the National Guard, that came and put up the fencing? What was the rationale? What was the threat assessment?
Steven Sund: (02:39:37)
Just to make sure I understand, you’re talking about the National Guard that came on the sixth?
Sen. Scott: (02:39:41)
No, and the presence that stayed after.
Steven Sund: (02:39:44)
Oh, the one that stayed, so what was the threat assessment?
Sen. Scott: (02:39:48)
What was the threat assessment, and why was it set up that they would be here for, seems like now months on end?
Steven Sund: (02:39:55)
Well, again, beyond the eighth. Again, my departure date was the eighth. The information I have is up until the eighth, it was based, they were putting him in place based on the mass insurrection that we had on the sixth. I wasn’t aware of any additional intelligence at that point. They were just concerned about possible violent extremists regrouping, and staging another attack on the Capitol.
Sen. Scott: (02:40:18)
You haven’t seen anything that would give us a threat assessment now that we have a concern that we need to have the National Guard presence? It doesn’t mean there’s not some, but you haven’t seen any.
Steven Sund: (02:40:27)
No, sir. I’ve been really not in that environment since the eighth.
Sen. Scott: (02:40:32)
Okay. Any of the others that are here to testify, do you have any threat assessment you’ve seen that there’s a reason that we have the National Guard here today?
Sen. Scott: (02:40:51)
Is that a no from everybody? No one has any idea why we have the National Guard here?
Chief Contee: (02:40:58)
This is Chief Contee. Yeah, my guess is in response to all of the things that have happened, but to your question specifically about a specific intelligence, I have not personally seen anything that would suggest that.
Sen. Scott: (02:41:14)
Are you involved in the decision at all of why the National Guard’s here?
Chief Contee: (02:41:19)
No, sir. I am not.
Sen. Scott: (02:41:22)
They’ve not shared any threat assessment with you at all with regard to why the National Guard’s here?
Chief Contee: (02:41:30)
That has not been shared with me, no.
Sen. Scott: (02:41:33)
Does that surprise you?
Chief Contee: (02:41:36)
I can’t say that I’m really surprised. Quite frankly, we have talked about intelligence in terms of what we expect to see in the city. There are several on law enforcement calls that take place between the Metropolitan Police Department and other federal partners. But again, the Capitol Police and that structure there, it’s something that, they’re not beholden to the mayor of the District of Columbia or anything like that.
Chief Contee: (02:42:09)
We exchanged information that we have, but again, I just have not seen anything specifically from them that suggests the fence still being the way that it is now. I should add also, sir, that, obviously, I think that there needs to be a re-imagining of the security posture there. Something certainly should be there, but I’m not exactly sure if the answer to that is razor wire and the deployment that we currently see.
Sen. Scott: (02:42:37)
Then, former Sergeant at Arms, you don’t have any reason? No one’s given you any… You’ve not seen any that would suggest that we have a threat, an eminent threat, that we need the National Guard here.
Speaker 3: (02:42:50)
I have not.
Speaker 4: (02:42:51)
I have not either. I, same, resigned on the seventh and have been gone since, so I have no information.
Sen. Scott: (02:42:59)
Who would be making the decision that the National Guard needs to be here then? And where would the threat assessment come from? Does anybody know?
Steven Sund: (02:43:10)
I’d maybe look at the current leadership over at maybe the Capitol Police in conjunction with the current Sergeant at Arms.
Sen. Scott: (02:43:18)
Okay. It’d be the head of Capitol Police and the city and the acting Sergeant at Arms.
Steven Sund: (02:43:26)
That is correct, to give you the current information on that.
Sen. Scott: (02:43:29)
Would they coordinate with the Metropolitan Police?
Steven Sund: (02:43:33)
Well, if there was intelligence that would indicate the need for such activity, it would usually be shared with our partner. Our local law enforcement would share our perimeter and our borders.
Sen. Scott: (02:43:46)
If there was a threat out there, would there be some public information that they would put out normally?
Steven Sund: (02:43:53)
Again, that all has to do with the nature of the threat, the threat, the classification level of the threat. But again, that would be shared with law enforcement within the District of Columbia through the JTTF, as well as the executive board for the JTTF.
Sen. Scott: (02:44:12)
I’m flabbergasted that, not that you don’t know now, but that there’s no public information about why we have all these National Guards here. Does that surprise you?
Steven Sund: (02:44:24)
It’s a significant security deployment. Again, I believe it’s based on the facts of what they’ve seen, hindsight being what it is. It’s the facts of what occurred on January 6th, this unprecedented insurrection.
Sen. Scott: (02:44:38)
Yep. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Sen. Peters: (02:44:43)
Thank you, Senator. Senator Hassan, You’re recognized for your questions.
Sen. Hassan: (02:44:50)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thanks to all of the witnesses for being here today. I especially want to take a moment to acknowledge the heroism of the officers of the US Capitol Police, law enforcement and other employees of the Capitol who bravely worked to protect our democracy on January 6th, and who have done so much work to restore our Capitol since that day. I also want to thank all of the families of our law enforcement and Capitol Hill staff for what they went through watching this unfold in real time.
Sen. Hassan: (02:45:26)
I want to start with a question to Chief Contee, if I could. Chief, Washington, DC, is obviously no stranger to large assemblies and protests. What is the standard process for protests in Washington, DC, when it comes to inter-agency coordination and information sharing? Following the events of January six, what recommendations do you have for improving coordination and information sharing?
Chief Contee: (02:45:55)
Thank you for that question. There are several discussions, meetings that take place between the municipal police department, as well as our federal partners. We oftentimes have coordination calls with the National Park Service, simply because in a lot of the federal lands, they authorize the permits for the federal land. There’s coordination that has to happen there between the Metropolitan Police Department, US Park Police, US Capitol Police, US Secret Service.
Chief Contee: (02:46:29)
With respect to the intelligence. Again, our partners from the FBI, they’re often part of those discussions. I think that the thing going forward that certainly needs to be looked at, with respect to specific intelligence that has been outlined throughout some of the testimony today, when there is specific information that warrants us to perhaps posture differently, our notification system needs to be different.
Chief Contee: (02:47:02)
The JTTF distribution lists that we have is not something that is a monitored list, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that would generate an immediate response to that. When those communications are sent out, there are staff members who at some point will get to that information, but I think that, again, that has been laid out.
Chief Contee: (02:47:25)
When we’re talking about something of this magnitude that could potentially happen, and ultimately did happen in our city, it should posture us to move differently, perhaps with convenient phone calls immediately, and not counting on an email or something making it through the chain to the levels that it needs to make for other decisions to be made.
Sen. Hassan: (02:47:47)
Well, thank you for that answer. One of the things I would observe is sometimes ahead of events like these, just scheduling ongoing check-ins with leadership at all of the agencies that need to coordinate can have the effect of sharing information in real time.
Sen. Hassan: (02:48:04)
I want to move to a question to Mr. Stenger, Mr. Irving and Mr. Sund. The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate events with national and international significance as national special security events. But that didn’t happen for January 6th, even given the threat information readily available ahead of time. Designated events are eligible for expanded federal support related to security of the events.
Sen. Hassan: (02:48:33)
Prior to January 6th, did anyone from the Department of Homeland Security contact you about a potential national special security event designation? And we’ll start with you, Mr. Sund, and then moved to the others.
Steven Sund: (02:48:46)
Thank you, ma’am. No, I’m not aware of anybody from DHS reaching out, and requesting, if we want to follow up, if this wanted to be a national special security event, or if we were going to request that to be, or if they were going to identify and designate what they call a C or a special event rating to the event. No, I’m not aware.
Sen. Hassan: (02:49:04)
Thank you, Mr. Stenger and Mr. Irving.
Speaker 3: (02:49:09)
No one contacted me. Thank you,
Speaker 4: (02:49:14)
Senator. No contact with me or my office.
Sen. Hassan: (02:49:17)
Well, thank you for those answers. I look forward to following up with the Department of Homeland Security about this during the next hearing on this topic.
Sen. Hassan: (02:49:25)
Mr. Sund, my last question, the officers of the Capitol Police work each and every day to keep the US Capitol safe and secure. We are all grateful for the brave work of the US Capitol Police officers on January 6th. Tragically, the law enforcement community has now lost two officers to suicide since January 6th, as a result of the insurrection and the events then.
Sen. Hassan: (02:49:52)
My thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of all of us here today are with the families of MPD Officer Jeffrey Smith and US Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood. Mr. Sund, what mental health resources are-
Sen. Hassan: (02:50:03)
… Howard Leavengood. Mr. Sund, what mental health resources are currently available to the United States Capitol police officers, and are these resources sufficient?
Steven Sund: (02:50:10)
The department has brought in significant mental health resources, and I certainly do appreciate your recognition of that. I’ve talked to a number of officers who have definitely gone through the battle and feel that they’re feeling a lot of trauma from it. But I know the chief of police, the acting chief, has brought in a significant resources. We had the employee assistance program, but they brought in a number of outside contractors they have gotten very good response. So I think there’s a lot of mental health resources available, and I know a number of officers are taking advantage of it, which I’m happy to see.
Sen. Hassan: (02:50:46)
Well, so am I, and I would encourage all officers who feel that they could benefit from counseling to reach out for it. And I would certainly encourage, and I’m sure my colleagues here would too, that all leadership in law enforcement reach out to us, if they feel the resources are strained or need bolstering in some way. Thank you all for your service. Thank you very much for your testimony and for being here today. To the chair and ranking members of our respective committees, thank you so much for organizing this hearing.
Chairman, Sen. Peters: (02:51:22)
Thank you, Senator Hassan. Chair now recognizes Senator Hawley for his questions.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:51:28)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to begin by saying a special thank you in a special acknowledgement to Captain Mendoza who shared her testimony earlier today, earlier this morning. Captain Mendoza is a native of Missouri and an alumni of Parker University, if memory serves. And I just want to say to her, I want to thank her for being here today, but also for her incredible bravery and courage on January 6th. And on behalf of the entire state of Missouri, I want to say thank you for what you have done. Thank you for what you represent. And I also want to take that opportunity to say, again now, as I said on the night of that terrible day, thank you to all of the law enforcement from all of our various branches who responded in this dire emergency to face these criminal rioters, these violent criminals, to repulse them from the Capital and to secure this space so that the work of Congress could continue.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:52:22)
So thank you and a special thanks to Captain Mendoza from the state of Missouri. Mr. Sund, if I could just return to the question about the National Guard activation. I’m a little bit confused about the timeline here, and I want to ask you and Mr. Irving some questions just so I can get this clear in my own head. I’m looking at your written testimony. You testified that you spoke with Mr. Irving at 1:09, actually both of the sergeants at arms at 1:09 PM. Now I understand there’s a little bit of dispute about the timeline here, but you do say that Mr. Irving advised you that he needed to run it, namely the request of the National Guard, he needed to run it up the chain of command. Have I got that right?
Steven Sund: (02:53:02)
That is correct, sir.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:53:03)
Okay. Mr. Irving, could I just ask you, when Mr. Sund says that you told him you needed to run it up the chain of command, to whom were you referring there?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:53:14)
Senator, I do not recall a phone call at 1:09 when I was on the floor of the house during the electoral college session. My phone records do not reflect a telephone call at that time. And had I received a call at that time, I had everyone with me. I had Mr. Stenger, leadership. We would have approved it immediately. So I have no recollection of that call. And neither do I have a record of it.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:53:48)
You say, I think, that you spoke with Mr. Sund later at approximately 1:30. Is that right?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:53:54)
That is correct, after I left the floor, and on that call, he had indicated to me that conditions were deteriorating and that he might be making a request at a later time.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:54:08)
Okay. And you then say that you needed to run it up the chain of command or words to that effect?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:54:13)
No. Not to my recollection. I notified leadership and I went to Michael Stenger’s office to receive updates from Mr. Sund as to conditions outside and to determine whether he needed to make a request or not. And when the request was made shortly after 2:00, we approved it.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:54:31)
And when you say we, who’s we? We approved it.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:54:35)
I was in Michael Stenger’s office, so next to Mr. Stenger.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:54:40)
And so you did not consult congressional leadership. You weren’t waiting at any point for input from congressional leadership. Is that your testimony, Mr. Irving? I got that right?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:54:49)
Yes. I advised them, as we would do with many security protocols.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:54:55)
But you weren’t waiting for them at any point. There was no delay you’re saying in getting National Guard requests because you didn’t at any point actually wait for the input of the speaker or the majority leader or anybody else?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:55:09)
No. Absolutely not.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:55:10)
Mr. Sund, is that your recollection?
Steven Sund: (02:55:16)
My recollection was at 1:09 while I was sitting in the command center watching things rapidly deteriorate, I made a phone call. A phone call was made in the presence of, I believe both my assistant chiefs and possibly my general counsel, at which time I made the initial request that we need to activate the National Guard. The situation’s bad on the West front. I followed up at 1:22 to check on the status of the request.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:55:40)
Okay. One of the things I’m trying to get clear on here is who would constitute the chain of command. Now, it sounds like Mr. Irving is saying that he actually never made that statement and he didn’t consult anybody else. I mean, my understanding is from the statute 2 USC chapter 29, section 1970, that in an emergency situation, I would think that this would qualify, that the Capitol Police Board does not have to consult with members of the Senate or House leadership in order to make a request for deployment of the National Guard or request of other executive departments and executive agencies. So it would seem strange to me that there was any talk about a chain of command that would involve anybody other than the Capitol Police Board given the statute. But it seems that there seems to be some confusion about the basic facts and who asked for what, when.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:56:29)
Let me just ask you this, Mr. Sund, on Monday, January the 4th, you testified that you approached House and Senate Sergeant at Arms to request the assistance of the National Guard. And Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the optics of having the Guard deployed. Is that right? Am I remembering that correctly?
Steven Sund: (02:56:44)
That is correct, sir. On the fourth, it actually, wasn’t a phone call. It was an in-person visit over to his office where I went in and requested the National Guard.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:56:53)
And Mr. Irving, could you just clarify when you use the term optics, and maybe your recollection is you didn’t, so maybe you could speak to that. Did you talk about being concerned about the optics of the National Guard? And then could you just elaborate on what you meant by that? Again, this is Monday, January the 4th now.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:57:10)
Yeah. Monday, January the fourth, Senator, safety was always the deciding factor when making security plans and the issue on the table was whether the intelligence warranted troops at the Capitol and the conversation with Mr. Sund was not, I did not take it as a request. He was merely informing me that he had received an offer from the National Guard. And then when we included Mr. Stenger, the three of us discussed the specific issue as to whether the intelligence warranted the troops and the answer was no. It was a collective answer, no. And then Mr. Stenger put forth his recommendation to have them on standby. And my recollection was Mr. Sund was very satisfied with that. In fact, he briefed the following day that he was satisfied and I heard no concern any time thereafter.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:58:01)
Were you concerned that this use of the word optics, the appearance, what it would look like to have the Guard? This is what Mr. Sund testified was a concern on January the 4th, that there was a reluctance to request assistance because of the appearance. Was there something that you were, what’s the appearance that you were concerned about, Mr. Irving, if indeed, you were. Were you concerned that having the Guard present would look like it was too militarized? Were you concerned about the criticism of the Guard being deployed in Washington during rioting earlier this summer, the summer of 2020. Just give us some insight into your thinking there, as you recall it.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (02:58:36)
Senator, I was not concerned about appearance whatsoever. It was all about safety and security. Any reference would have been related to appropriate use of force, display of force, and ultimately the question on the table when we looked at security asset is does the intelligence warrant it? Is the security plan match with the intelligence? And again, the collective answer was yes.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:59:05)
Mr. Chairman, could I just ask one final question?
Senator Klobuchar: (02:59:08)
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:59:09)
Thank you. Madam Chair, thank you. Speaker Pelosi has asked retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore to lead an immediate review of Capital security in light of the attack. The general has said that the leadership of the Capitol police, that’d be you Mr. Sund, and both of you gentlemen, the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, he’s criticized you for, and I’m quoting now, the appearance of complicity during the attack, and also said that you were potentially undertook complicit actions, those are his words, during the attack. Mr. Sund, where you complicit in this attack on January 6th?
Steven Sund: (02:59:46)
Absolutely not, sir. I’ve heard those comments as well, and I think it’s disrespectful to myself and the members of the Capitol Police Department.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (02:59:53)
Mr. Stenger, were you complicit in the attacks on January 6th? Mr. Stenger? Oh. Were you complicit to the attacks on January 6th?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:00:10)
He’s asking you. [inaudible 03:00:16]
Sen. Josh Hawley: (03:00:16)
Mr. Irving, were you complicit in the attacks on January 6th?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:00:20)
Absolutely not, Senator.
Sen. Josh Hawley: (03:00:22)
Yeah. Of course, none of you were. There’s absolutely no evidence to that effect. And Mr. Sund, I think your comments are appropriately taken to allege that you, any of you, were complicit in this violent mob attack on this building, I think is not only extremely disrespectful, it’s really quite shocking and this person has no business leading any security review related to the events of January 6th. Thank you for your indulgence. Madam chair.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:00:48)
Thank you very much. Next, a new member of both committees, Senator Padilla.
Senator Padilla: (03:00:56)
Thank you, Madam chair. There’s been a lot of questions… I’ve been popping in and out from multiple committees, but I understand there’s been a lot of questions already about intelligence, what was known, what was assessed, what was shared, et cetera, and differing opinions. They’ll try not to be too repetitive. First, a quick question for Chief Sund and the two Sergeant at Arms. I imagine, like most people use saw most, if not all, of the house impeachment managers’ presentations before the United States Senate. As they sort of laid out the case, took the impeachment question aside, we know how that was resolved, but in terms of how January 6th didn’t just happen, but the lead up to January 6th. Is there anything from that presentation that you would disagree with?
Steven Sund: (03:01:58)
So to just make sure I understand, the video I watched and all the information the video that was portrayed is all accurate video. As far as the any of the other commentary associated with the video, I can’t say I watched every single bit of it, but I can tell you the video, a lot of that video was video from the United States Capitol Police, and it was all accurate.
Senator Padilla: (03:02:18)
Okay. Thank you. Mr. Stenger, Mr. Irving, same question.
Mr. Stenger: (03:02:23)
Yeah. The video I saw certainly reflected what I could see from my window the day of January 6th.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:02:35)
And from my perspective, Senator, I have not diagnosed the why the attack occurred at the time. We left all information to the intelligence agencies that we had at the time. And I would say now to leave it to the after action investigations to make determinations.
Senator Padilla: (03:02:53)
Okay. A question for Chief Sund specifically. Now there is an intelligence division within the department. Correct?
Steven Sund: (03:03:04)
Senator Padilla: (03:03:04)
Okay. And now having read your letter to Speaker Pelosi, you make reference to events on both November 14th, as well as December 12th that you had sort of comparable intelligence in terms of risk assessment, threat assessment, and the events of November 14th and December 12th, not leading into anything near what happened on January 6th. Is that my correct interpretation of your letter?
Steven Sund: (03:03:38)
Yes, that is the correct interpretation of the letter. Both the assessments indicated that we were going to have various militia groups and extremists in attendance. In addition to the fact that as Chief Contee had testified to earlier, weapons were recovered during both those events.
Senator Padilla: (03:03:54)
Okay. And so to the best of your recollection, in the lead up to January 6th, since it was comparable assessment, comparable intelligence, roughly, you therefore proceeded with comparable preparation and posture.
Steven Sund: (03:04:11)
Yeah. That is absolutely correct. We proceeded with the posture of seeing it could have instances of violence. We knew it was going to be focused on the Capitol. We knew that there was going to be members of Proud Boy, Antifa participating. And like I’d said before, not Capitol Police, not Metropolitan Police, not any of our federal agencies had any information we were going to be facing armed insurrection of thousands of people.
Senator Padilla: (03:04:34)
Now, if we take our experience with terrorism, globally, and look at case studies, both incidents that have been prevented, and those that were successfully executed against the United States is it plausible, and I know hindsight’s 2020, is a plausible that the November 14th, December 12th incidents may well have been trial runs? The very extremist organizations you’ve referenced involved with the organizing and participation of November 14th, December 12th, to gain counter-intelligence on how you and your partner agencies would be planning and preparing for such incidents.
Steven Sund: (03:05:29)
Well, as you rightly point out, when you look at some of the terrorist attacks that have occurred, there has been pre-planning. There has been pre-surveillance, pre-collection of intelligence on the security features. I don’t know if the November and December were two instances of that, but I would suspect with the fact that we’re finding this was a coordinated attack, I wouldn’t doubt there was pre-surveillance.
Senator Padilla: (03:05:51)
So we don’t know they were. We don’t know they weren’t. That’s my [crosstalk 03:05:54].
Steven Sund: (03:05:54)
Senator Padilla: (03:05:55)
And I know, the intelligence folks will be here at a subsequent hearing, but we’re all in this together. In your letter and your testimony earlier today, you bluntly said the intelligence community missed this.
Steven Sund: (03:06:08)
That is correct, sir. That’s a way I feel.
Senator Padilla: (03:06:11)
Now who was Commander-in-Chief on December 6th?
Steven Sund: (03:06:16)
When you say Commander-in-Chief?
Senator Padilla: (03:06:17)
Who was the President of United States?
Steven Sund: (03:06:19)
Donald Trump, sir.
Senator Padilla: (03:06:20)
Overseeing the intelligence community that missed this. Repeat your answer.
Steven Sund: (03:06:25)
For the entire 18 agencies that represent the intelligence community?
Senator Padilla: (03:06:29)
Steven Sund: (03:06:29)
They would be Commander-in- Chief.
Senator Padilla: (03:06:31)
And who was that again?
Steven Sund: (03:06:33)
President Donald Trump.
Senator Padilla: (03:06:34)
Okay. Let me ask a couple of questions on a different topic. I think it’s obvious to many across the country. I was one of three Senators who was not in chambers on January 6th. I had a, you know, the benefit if you will, of watching the events occur in real time both inside the Capitol and outside the Capitol on television. One thing that was not lost on me and many people that I’ve talked to is the difference in both police presence and response on January six compared to events from last summer when peaceful protestors were demonstrating in nation’s Capitol, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Last summer, they were met with significant force. A couple of data points to date some 250 individuals who were involved in the capital insurrection of January 6th had been arrested, more likely to be arrested in the coming weeks and months, but only a small number about 52 of these individuals were arrested on January 6th, by contrast [inaudible 03:07:45] a largely peaceful protest of last summer, 427 people were arrested.
Senator Padilla: (03:07:52)
On January, excuse me, on June 1st alone, 289 people were arrested. Similarly, some 300 protestors were arrested during the Kavanaugh hearings in 2018. So a question, Mr. Sund, can you tell us exactly how the Capitol Police preparations for January 6th differed from preparations for the protests from last summer? And if you can specifically address if they were the same or different use of force guidelines in place on January 6th compared to the protest of last summer or any criteria for making arrests on January 6th versus the protests from last summer.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:08:39)
Okay. And if you could do that in about a minute.
Steven Sund: (03:08:41)
Senator Klobuchar: (03:08:42)
Thank you, sir.
Steven Sund: (03:08:42)
I will do that very concisely.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:08:44)
Steven Sund: (03:08:44)
So I want to look at it from planning and preparations. We plan for every demonstration the exact same way. It doesn’t matter the message of the person, doesn’t matter the demographics of the grievance involved in the demonstration. We do it the exact same way. We develop our information. We develop our intel and we base a response plan on that. So let’s transition to preparations. I will tell you, we handled 15 major demonstrations involving Black Lives Matters groups following the death of George Floyd over the summer. We had a total of six arrests, six arrests, no use of less lethal capabilities, no use of lethal force capabilities. The events, the everything that we put into place for January 6th far exceeded any planning that we did for any events in 2020. With the full activation of the department, the size of the perimeter that we expanded, the deployment of additional protective equipment, the deployment of a less lethal and the application of less lethal would far exceeded anything, any other event that I can recollect on the nation’s Capital. So I’ll just leave it at that.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:09:47)
Steven Sund: (03:09:47)
We [crosstalk 03:09:49] prepare much more.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:09:51)
Thank you. We’re going to go. Thank you, Senator Padilla. We’re going to go to Senator Hagerty, and then to Senator King, who’s been very patient and been on with us online quite a while. Senator Hagerty.
Sen Hagerty: (03:09:58)
Thank you, Chairwoman Klobuchar. Thank you very much for having us here today, and for holding this hearing. I want to begin by thanking all the law enforcement officers that are represented here today. You and your families, thank you for your sacrifice, and certainly my heart goes out to those families and their loved ones who lost their lives in this. In the spring and summer of 2020, many people criticize the use of the National Guard to help restore order in Washington, following some of the worst riding in decades. Mayor Bowser said that the Guard presence was, and I quote, unnecessary and maybe counter productive and a DC National Guard leader even had to tell his troops, a quote again, some of the DC public does not agree with our mission and may have nefarious intention toward our service members.
Sen Hagerty: (03:10:44)
And according to a January 5th Washington Post report, top Pentagon officials emphasize that on January 6th, the Guard would have a quote, far more muted presence than in June saying that quote, we’ve learned our lessons and we’ll be absolutely nowhere near the Capitol building. Mr. Sund has stated that despite attempting to attain National Guard support on Capitol Hill on January 6th, he was unable to get approvals such support. And several people today have referred to concerns over the optics of January the 6th. So my first question is directed to Mr. Sund. Do you think that the backlash against the use of National Guard troops to restore order back in the summertime led to reluctance in advance of January 6th to utilize Guard troops to protect the capital?
Steven Sund: (03:11:32)
Sir, I cannot really testify to what the inner working was or inner working decisions over at the Pentagon regarding either the decisions from the over the summer or the memo that was put out by the Secretary of the Army on the 4th. However, I was very surprised at the amount of time and the pushback I was receiving when I was making an urgent request for their assistance.
Sen Hagerty: (03:11:53)
That’s regrettable. I’d also like to follow up on a line of questioning that separate Hawley brought up. Speaker Pelosi indicated that she intends to establish the commission to examine the events in January 6th. Of course, that’s why we’re here today, examining those issues. Speaker Pelosi’s also appointed a retired army Lieutenant General, Russel Honore who was going to lead the investigation of what happened, but days after the attack General Honore said, I think once all this gets uncovered, again, I’m quoting him. It was complicit actions by Capitol Police. Before he added that you, Mr. Sund, were quote complicit along with the Sergeant at Arms in the House and Senate. My question is, do any of you believe the comments like these by Mr. Honore suggest that he is someone who is well-suited to conduct a serious and unbiased review of the events of January six. If so, please explain.
Steven Sund: (03:12:50)
I’ll go ahead and start with that response. As I had mentioned before, I found the comments that he made regarding myself and also the Capitol Police officers highly disrespectful to the hardworking women and men of that police department, and also to myself. I welcome, and I look forward to an after action that will move this agency forward, move our partnership with the federal agencies forward, but it has to be done in an unbiased fashion.
Sen Hagerty: (03:13:17)
I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Sund. And any other responses?
Mr. Stenger: (03:13:24)
I would disagree with the General’s, what he said. I don’t believe that’s true. There’s a lot of people that put themselves in very much danger on that day. And I think saying something like that, it just not in good taste.
Sen Hagerty: (03:13:43)
Yeah, I can’t that being said myself, implying that you all were complicit in this, but I thank you for your answers and for your service. I yield back to Madam Chairman.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:13:59)
Thank you very much, Senator Hagerty. Next, Senator King. You may be muted, Senator King.
Senator King: (03:14:11)
No. I got it.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:14:11)
Senator King: (03:14:13)
Thank you, Madam Chair. And I want to thank the witnesses first for their patience this morning and their thorough going answers. This has been a long hearing, and I really appreciate it. And I appreciate the fact that, although you all are no longer, other than the chief in Washington, no longer in your positions, that you’ve come forward to give us the benefit of your observations. It seems to me one of the clear and I’m not going to plow this ground again, but one of the clear pieces of information we’ve learned today is an intelligence failure, not necessarily a failure of intelligence, but a failure to communicate intelligence. And I think that’s something that we all need to to think about. And you can be very helpful to us in suggesting what should be the chain of communication in terms of intelligence.
Senator King: (03:15:06)
You can’t adequately prepare if you don’t have the information. And it clearly seems to me, there were some failures. Chief Sund, I have a specific question for you and it’s more forward-looking, but I’d appreciate your insights. The question is how do we protect the Capital from either an angry mob or probably more likely one or two or three malignant actors without turning it into a fortress? How do we allow the American people to go in the Rotunda, the tour of the Capitol, to picnic on the grounds, to play with their kids? It seems to me that going forward, that’s really one of the challenges. We want security, but we don’t, I would hate to see the US Capital turned into a fortress. Your thoughts, Mr. Sund.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:16:07)
I think you need your mic on there. Thank you.
Steven Sund: (03:16:12)
There we go, Ma’am. Thank you very much. I’ll go back to your original comment with the intelligence and the communications. I think we have the process in place for when we have credible intelligence, especially high-level credible intelligence to quickly get to where it needs to be. I think my big concern is on the collection, on how wide we’re casting the net to collect our intelligence that would have revealed this was coming. And we were facing this type of mass insurrection. I definitely want to say the Capitol Police is well-versed well-trained on what you’re talking about, a Mumbai style attack, a couple of attackers armed, active shooter events, things like that. Those are the type of events that we are ready for. It is the thousands of people that are storming the Capitol that creates a big issue with us.
Steven Sund: (03:16:58)
So when you talk about physical security and I mentioned it in one I’m in my opening statement, in one of the initial questions, I think there are options for maintaining an open environment, an open campus type of environment while putting some substantial physical security measures in place, both for the building, the skin of the building, as well as the farther out. Time and distance is our best friend. And the most important thing is to provide some kind of protection farther out. So the officers have more time to deal with it. But that’s something that I think should be discussed in a closed or classified session.
Senator King: (03:17:34)
I understand, but, and I hope that that is a discussion, Madam Chair, that we can have. I think that’s a very important, because we just, as I say, we don’t want the United States Capitol to be so protected that it’s inaccessible to the American people. Amplify on your intelligence. It seems to intelligence answer. It seems to be you’re saying, it’s communicated adequately, but we didn’t have the collection that we needed. For example, the Norfolk Virginia letter, how does it get filtered and where does it get filtered?
Steven Sund: (03:18:14)
Again, Norfolk field office letter, that’s something that that’s something to consider because even on the fifth, at noon on the fifth, I held a joint conference call with the members of the board, my executive team, a dozen of the top law enforcement and military officials from Washington DC where we discuss the upcoming events on the sixth, the upcoming events for the inauguration, any kind of threats, any kind of issues we may have. And even though I had, we had the director of the field office for the Washington field office of the FBI, nothing was mentioned about it. So I think my big point is I think we need to look out. There’s significant evidence coming out that the insurrection that occurred on the sixth was planned, coordinated well in advance, coordinated almost the point where you’re looking between number of states where you’re having events coordinated. And it’s that detection that I think would have been key to putting the effective security in place for this event.
Senator King: (03:19:15)
Finally, when we’re talking about providing this level of security, is there a playbook? Is there a contingency plan that’s literally sitting on a shelf somewhere that says demonstrations around the Capital, here’s what you do? I mean, some of the timing things, for example, the deployment of the National Guard might’ve been faster had there been a pre-determined set of phone numbers, actions, steps to be taken. Does that exist? And if not, should it exist?
Steven Sund: (03:19:54)
To the level where you’re including a National Guard, there is a process where we handle special events and demonstrations, but I tend to agree that we need to streamline the process that we request the National Guard in the future.
Senator King: (03:20:08)
Yeah. Because clearly there was a delay there that was an important parr of the response at the time. Madam Chair, again, I want to thank these witnesses. I think they’ve really made a contribution and they made a contribution when they were serving in their respective positions. Thank you. I yield back.
Senator Klobuchar: (03:20:31)
Chairman, Sen. Peters: (03:20:32)
Thank you. Senator Sinema is recognized for her questions.
Senator Sinema: (03:20:37)
Oh. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My first question is for Chief Contee. What coordinating actions were taken in the weeks leading up to January six, to share intel across federal and local law enforcement? And what security planning took place? And with which agencies?
Chief Contee: (03:20:57)
Thank you for that question. So there were a series of several meetings that took place leading up to the events of January the sixth. There was a weekly law enforcement partners calls that take place where our federal partners are part of that. There’s a first amendment coordinating calls that took place. At least two of those are prior to this event. There’s a National Park Service permit call that also took place prior to this event. And as Chief Sund mentioned several calls involving several of the law enforcement entities leading up to the events of January of the sixth. So there are a significant amount of phone calls or virtual meetings that took place all leading up to January the sixth.
Senator Sinema: (03:21:48)
Thank you. And could you talk a little bit about what you see as the mistakes that were made or the holes that didn’t help connect all those dots in those meetings and coordinating prior to January 6th?
Chief Contee: (03:22:05)
So I think the major issue, at least from my perspective, I think that in terms of the sharing of information, how it’s shared, I think that that is where the focus should be. Again, we’re talking about a report that came from the Norfolk office on the day before, that night, around after 7:00 PM, that was sent to email boxes. As the Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department, I assure you that my phone is on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I’m available for any phone call from any agency that has information with respect to something of this magnitude happening in our city.
Chief Contee: (03:22:52)
Certainly if there was information about one of our police stations being overrun, or a federal building being overrun that was related to the Metropolitan Police Department, I assure you that I would be on the phone directly with the officials that are responsible for the law enforcement response, or to give them that information firsthand. I’m not really relying on technology in the form of an email in hopes that that information makes it to where it needs to be. So I think that that’s critical. To Chief Sund’s point there were several phone calls leading up to this and no specific information that talked about the events that we saw and experienced on January 6th. And I really do believe that there should be quite a bit of attention given to that.
Senator Sinema: (03:23:39)
I appreciate that. My next question is for Mr. Sund. So you outlined that the FBI report was sent via email to the Capitol Police the evening of January 5th, and that you never received the report. Is there an understanding within the system of how that report did not make it to you or to other individuals in leadership in-
Senator Sinema: (03:24:03)
… Other individuals in leadership in the Capitol police the night of January the 5th?
Steven Sund: (03:24:07)
I appreciate that question, ma’am. Actually, as I’d mentioned earlier in the discussion, this is a report that I am just learning about within the last… They informed me yesterday of the report.
Steven Sund: (03:24:19)
So I’m not sure what investigation may be going on. Since January 8th, I have left the department. What investigations? I know the chief has put additional safeguards in place to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again, but I’m not sure of what the outcome of was, why that didn’t get pushed up farther.
Senator Sinema: (03:24:38)
Was there an expectation or a process or procedure prior to January 6th that should have gotten that memo up to your attention the night of January 5th?
Steven Sund: (03:24:48)
There’s a process that ensures that information from the Joint Terrorism Taskforce and through our taskforce officers gets over to their intelligence division and would be moved up to our intelligence analyst and the director of that intelligence division.
Steven Sund: (03:25:02)
And then based on that information, he could push it then up to the assistant chief or directly to me. He has my cell phone number. We talk regularly.
Senator Sinema: (03:25:11)
And so you mentioned you were just learning about this recently, but would it have been an expectation that the FBI would have called Capitol Police or someone on the Joint Task Force to alert the new intelligence in an expedited fashion, knowing that this information made it to the Capitol Police Intel team on the 5th? What I’m trying to understand is how it did not get to the higher levels to make preparations the night of the 5th.
Steven Sund: (03:25:41)
Right, I’ll just go ahead and echo what Chief Contee had mentioned, that I do think that deserves additional focus. I think if we have information that’s coming in the day before a major event, that has that level of specificity, that it could get a little more attention than just being handled either through an email or electronic format.
Senator Sinema: (03:26:02)
Was there any intelligence that you did receive in the several days leading up to January 6th that caused you to change any of the security plans amongst the United States Capitol Police?
Steven Sund: (03:26:14)
So just to reiterate, all the intelligence and all the information that we’d been receiving during the development… The event for the 6th outlined, very similar to what the intelligence report that was published on the 3rd outlined.
Steven Sund: (03:26:27)
We were expecting large number of protesters coming in. We expected a potentially violent group. We knew they were being focused on the capital, and we knew that some of them may be armed. And that is what was really driving up until even… Regardless of what was put out the 3rd, this was information that we knew. We were developing our security plan around that.
Steven Sund: (03:26:48)
And that’s when we looked at, based on our review of the November and December MAGA events, determined we were going to adjust our fence line and push our fence line out. And when we wanted to do that, that’s when I’d request the National Guard, knowing we’re going to need support for the fence line.
Senator Sinema: (03:27:05)
Thank you. You know, Chief Contee, you stated that the intelligence that you had received on January 6th didn’t differ from the previous MAGA marches. The two previous.
Senator Sinema: (03:27:15)
Was there any conversation or consideration about the fact that the January 6th was scheduled on a very important day, that Congress would be in session, certifying the results of the election? And was that different in a consideration around security than the other two marches, which had been on weekends without Congress being in session?
Chief Contee: (03:27:39)
Absolutely. And that’s reflected in the response posture for the Metropolitan Police Department. For the two prior demonstrations that happened, the MAGA one and two marches, the Metropolitan Police Department… We did not call up officers from surrounding jurisdictions to be stationed physically within the footprint of the District of Columbia. We did not do that before.
Chief Contee: (03:28:02)
The mayor, in addition to calling up those additional resources, again, called up the National Guard specifically for the reasons that we outlined to them, which would allow the Metropolitan Police Department to be a lot nimble in our response.
Chief Contee: (03:28:18)
That, in essence, enabled us to be able to respond quickly to assist the Capitol police officers. So those responses were different. We were disrupting individuals, or intercepting individuals who were armed with firearms in our city, in violation of the mayor’s order, many of whom [inaudible 03:28:40] on federal grounds. So the Metropolitan Police Department’s posture certainly was escalated beyond what we did at the prior two marches.
Senator Sinema: (03:28:51)
Thank you. Mr Chairman, I appreciate your indulgence. I see I’ve gone over my time. I have a few extra questions that I’ll submit. Thank you.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:28:59)
Okay. Very good. Thank you, Senator Sinema, and thank you for your emphasis on the FBI report and the issues that everyone here seems to acknowledge with getting that. That it didn’t go at the right place, and just putting send it isn’t enough for a report like that.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:29:16)
Okay. Next we have Senator Cruz and then after that will be Senator Ossoff. And if there’s any other senators who wish to ask questions, who haven’t asked questions, you should tell us, because those are the last two we have. Senator Cruz.
Senator Cruz: (03:29:30)
Thank you, Madam Chair. And let me say to each of the witnesses here today, thank you for being here. Thank you for your testimony. And thank you also for your service. I want to thank each of you, and also each of the heroic law enforcement officers who demonstrated extraordinary courage in fighting to repel the terrorist attack that unfolded on the Capitol on January 6th. And we are grateful for the bravery and the courage in the face of a truly horrific attack.
Senator Cruz: (03:30:07)
In the aftermath of that attack, there is naturally a process to assess what could have been done to better prevent that attack, to better secure the Capitol. And I think everyone recognizes that hindsight is different from a decision made in the moment, facing the threat immediately. But this hearing is nonetheless productive for analyzing the security decisions and law enforcement decisions that were made realtime, and for learning from them what can be done differently to ensure that an attack like that never again occurs.
Senator Cruz: (03:30:48)
Chief Sund, I want to focus on, with some detail, your written testimony, and just walk through what occurred in the days preceding January 6th, and then on January 6th. So in your written testimony you say, “On Monday January 4th, I approached the two sergeant at arms to request the assistance of the national guard as you had no authority to do.”
Senator Cruz: (03:31:11)
So you go on to say, “I first spoke with the house sergeant at arms to request the National Guard. Mr Irving stated that he was concerned about the, quote, optics of having National Guard present, and didn’t feel the intelligence supported it. He referred me to the senate sergeant at arms to get his thoughts on the request. I then spoke to Mr Stenger and again requested the National Guard.
Senator Cruz: (03:31:35)
Instead of approving the use of the National Guard, however, Mr Stenger suggested I ask then how quickly we could get support if needed, and to lean forward in case we had to request assistance on January 6th.”
Senator Cruz: (03:31:49)
Can you describe at a little more length those conversations with the two sergeant at arms on January 4th?
Steven Sund: (03:31:59)
Absolutely, sir. The first conversation occurred Monday morning. I went over… I’d have to refer to my notes, but sometime maybe around 11 o’clock in the morning. I met with Mr Irving in his office. That’s where I made the first request for the National Guard. He had indicated, “I don’t know if I really like the optics. I don’t think the intelligence really supports it.”
Steven Sund: (03:32:21)
He had, like we had said, recommended I talked to the senate sergeant at arms. I went over and met with, later on the day, either… I’m trying to recall if it was in person or over the phone. I’d have to go back to my timeline… Where I reached out to him.
Steven Sund: (03:32:36)
And they may have already talked, because he had referred me. He said, “You know somebody over at the DC National Guard?” I said, “Yes, I do have a good friend over there, General William Walker.” He said, “Can you give him a call and see if we needed assistance, how quickly could we get assistance and what type of assistance could he give us?”
Steven Sund: (03:32:53)
So that evening, as I was driving at about 6:35 at night, I went ahead and called General Walker and spoke to him, and said, “Hey, General Walker, I don’t have authority to request National Guard, but I want to find out, if we needed them on Wednesday, how quickly could you get them for us, and is there a way you can be prepared, just in case we put in the request?”
Steven Sund: (03:33:13)
At that point, he had advised to me that he has 125 National Guardsmen who are supporting the COVID response in the District of Columbia, and if we needed a response, a quick response, he could what he called repurpose them and get them to the armory, at which point we could get somebody over to swear them in, and try and get them to us as quick as possible. We ended our call.
Steven Sund: (03:33:33)
The next day I met with both Mr Stenger. He came over to the office for the 12 o’clock video call that I had hosted with the dozen of the law enforcement officials from DC. We spoke about it briefly there, and told him what Wayne Walker had told me, as well as I passed on to Mr Irving, I think later on that afternoon. They both seem satisfied with that response.
Senator Cruz: (03:33:59)
So Mr Irving and Mr Stenger… Mr Irving, as I understand it, you have some disagreement with the characterization about the concern about the optics, so I would invite both Mr Irving and Mr Stenger to relay your best recollection of that conversation on January 4th.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:34:21)
Senator, my best recollection of the conversation on January 4th was a phone call from Chief Sund, indicating that he had received an offer for 125 unarmed guard that could be positioned around traffic perimeter checkpoints at the Capitol.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:34:41)
My recollection again is, as we followed up with Mr Stenger, that three of us engaged in a conversation whereby we looked at the offer in light of the existing intelligence. And the decision, the collect decision amongst the three of us was that the intelligence did not warrant the National Guard.
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:35:02)
And my recollection, that ended the discussion relative to the offer. And the only question on the table is, should we do perform any followup? And Mr Stenger recommended that we ask that they be placed on standby. And that was the end of the discussion.
Senator Cruz: (03:35:20)
So to the best of your recollection, did you make the comment about optics, and if so, what did you mean by that?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:35:28)
I cannot remember my exact verbiage. Had I used any language to the effect, it was all in reference to whether the intelligence was matched to the security plan.
Senator Cruz: (03:35:45)
And let me ask both Mr Irving and Mr Stenger, did y’all have conversations with congressional leadership, either Democratic or Republican leadership on this question of supplementing law enforcement presence, bringing in National Guard either on January 4th or realtime in January 6th?
Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving: (03:36:09)
On January 4th, no. I had no followup conversations. And it was not until the sixth that I alerted leadership that we might be making a request. And that was the end of the discussion.
Senator Cruz: (03:36:22)
Mr Stenger: (03:36:25)
For myself, it was January 6th that I mentioned it to [Leader McConnell 03:36:32] [inaudible 03:36:32]
Senator Cruz: (03:36:34)
So there’s been some disagreement about what time phone calls occurred. I know Senator Portman asked earlier. Presumably everyone has phone records. I think it would be helpful if each of you could forward the relevant phone records to this committee.
Senator Cruz: (03:36:48)
And Chief Sund, you also referenced in your testimony that you sent an email to congressional leadership. If you could forward that to the committee as well, I think that would be helpful. Thank you.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:37:08)
Thank you. Senator Ossoff.
Senator Ossof: (03:37:13)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you to our panel. Just want to take a moment and echo the sentiments of so many of my colleagues, expressing appreciation for the men and women of the United States Capitol Police who endured a great deal on January 6th and showed great heroism.
Senator Ossof: (03:37:31)
And also, Madam Chair, if I might express an interest in working with you to ensure that they’re well taken care of and their needs are met.
Senator Ossof: (03:37:38)
This discussion of the conversation that the three of you had regarding supplementary security support on January 6th raises the question of who’s in charge. Is consensus between the two sergeants at arms and the chief of the US Capitol Police required to make such a request? Mr Sund?
Steven Sund: (03:38:04)
The request for the National Guard needs to go to the Capitol Police board for approval, yes.
Senator Ossof: (03:38:11)
Who has ultimate responsibility for the security of the US Capitol complex? Which individual?
Steven Sund: (03:38:18)
I believe that falls under the Capitol Police board.
Senator Ossof: (03:38:21)
The Capitol Police board. So there is no individual who has personal responsibility for the security of the US Capitol complex?
Steven Sund: (03:38:30)
That’s the way I interpret it, yes.
Senator Ossof: (03:38:36)
Had the US Capitol Police conducted exercises simulating comparable events, such as a violent riot on or within the US Capitol complex?
Steven Sund: (03:38:49)
Part of our training for civil disobedience units involves dealing with riotous groups. So we do do that training. We do do training on people attempting to gain entry into the building. Officers are trained on how to handle if someone tries to come through your door unauthorized, but training for thousands of armed insurrectionists that were coordinated and well-equipped? No, we have not had that training before January 6th, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to do it now.
Senator Ossof: (03:39:19)
So if I understand correctly, Mr Sund, you’re saying that personnel had engaged in tactical training regarding techniques to repel attempts to breach the complex, regarding rules of engagement.
Senator Ossof: (03:39:32)
But had any comprehensive exercises that included command, that included procedures for coordination with supporting agencies, that included requests for support, that included communications with the department of defense or White House officials or guard units been conducted?
Steven Sund: (03:39:51)
Yes, we have. We do exercises that are very similar to what you’re talking about, before some of our national special security events. Those are the NSSEs such as the inauguration. We’ll do tabletop exercises that go through the process of what you’re talking about. Yes.
Senator Ossof: (03:40:08)
Thank you. And had the Capitol Police held any such exercises, not pertaining to specific national security special events? So in order to deal with emergent contingencies, like a riot, not associated with one of those moments specifically identified as requiring a whole of government security response?
Steven Sund: (03:40:31)
Yeah. One of the most important aspects of that, that you’re talking about, that we train our individuals to, is what we call the incident command system. That’s one of the systems that we feel really under the unprecedented pressure that they exhibited on January 6th, began to break down.
Steven Sund: (03:40:49)
The incident command system is established specifically so you have people that have the clearest understanding of what’s happening, either in the field or inside the building, in control of the resources, to utilize, to defend against whatever issue you’re having, or respond to whatever incident you have.
Steven Sund: (03:41:05)
It’s really an all hazards approach, but that is something that’s trained. We have it as a part of our general orders. That is something that we’ll need to look back on to see how it broke under this pressure.
Senator Ossof: (03:41:16)
And I asked this question in part because of the account that’s been shared regarding the coordination with the guard unit, which was here for a COVID related mission. And if I recall correctly, you related that you had a conversation with the commanding officer and discussed mobilizing that unit if necessary, first via an intermediary stop at a Marine Corps facility, to then come to the Capitol if necessary on January 6th.
Senator Ossof: (03:41:41)
Were they’re not preexisting channels of communication and procedures in the event you… Not at a moment such as inauguration or the state of the union, but on any given day, needed a quick reaction force to provide security support?
Steven Sund: (03:41:57)
Well, I think when you refer to it, I think it’s the established process where if you’re going to request them in advance, or request them for an incident. I think what we need to look at is those emergency requests.
Steven Sund: (03:42:09)
But there is a process for going through the secretary of the army, placing an official request. Ultimately, we did that. We had to do a letterhead after the fact. We did the oral request first, and set it up that way.
Steven Sund: (03:42:21)
But I think what I did by reaching out to General Walker was to get an idea, much like, as I was requested to do, if we requested them on the 6th, what kind of resources could they give us, and what type of timeframe would we be looking at? But I agree. There’s already existing process and channels for making the request for National Guard.
Senator Ossof: (03:42:39)
Right, because you, in fact, anticipated there might be some need, based upon intelligence that your department was seeing. But on any given day, if a foreign terrorist organization decided to mount an attack on this complex, do the procedures exist and are the channels in place such that a quick reaction force can be mustered swiftly, such that someone in your position knows exactly who to call and they can do so without consulting with the sergeants at arms?
Steven Sund: (03:43:01)
I think what you’re saying is what we need to look at. Because I’d still be required to consult with the sergeant at arms to make the request for National Guard.
Senator Ossof: (03:43:07)
Okay. My time is running short, so I want to ask you this. What is the intelligence budget for the US Capitol Police, and how many personnel do you have in the intelligence division, or did you have when you served as the chief?
Steven Sund: (03:43:19)
I’d have to go back and pull that specific information. We have a number of intel analysts. We have a number of people that work there, both sworn and civilian. But I want to give you a clear and accurate-
Senator Ossof: (03:43:29)
Approximately how many personnel are in the intelligence division?
Steven Sund: (03:43:32)
I’d say approximately right around 30, 35 people.
Senator Ossof: (03:43:34)
30 or 35. And does the US Capitol Police have the capacity to do any intelligence collection other than by making requests to executive branch agencies for raw intelligence or analysis?
Steven Sund: (03:43:46)
Again, when you talk about intelligence collection, we are a consumer of intelligence from the intelligence community. We do have the ability to go and look at it open source, see what people are talking about on open source, but going and collecting in-depth specific intelligence is something that we’re a consumer from the intelligence community.
Senator Ossof: (03:44:09)
Thank you. Appreciate your time. I yield back.
Steven Sund: (03:44:12)
[crosstalk 03:44:12] Sir.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:44:14)
Well, thank you very much. That was our last set of questions, and we’re going to conclude this hearing. I wanted to say a few words at the end. First of all, I want to thank Chairman Peters and senators, ranking members, Blunt and Portman for conducting this hearing in such a professional way.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:44:35)
We had a bipartisan agreement on how this hearing would be conducted, who our witnesses would be, and also the plan to have additional hearings, including one next week that we’ll be announcing tomorrow with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, because clearly we have, and our members have, additional questions.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:44:57)
I want to thank the witnesses, as I said, for voluntarily appearing before us. I want to thank Captain Mendoza for her moving words and bravery. In many ways, she represents all of the officers that were there that day.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:45:13)
A few things that are very clear to me. The first is the statements at the beginning, from all the witnesses. They may have disagreed on some details and, you know… Okay. But there is clear agreement that this was a planned insurrection. And I think most members here very firmly agree with that. And I think it’s important for the public to know that this was planned. We now know this was a planned insurrection. It involved white supremacists, it involved extremist groups, and it certainly could have been so much worse except for the bravery of the officers.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:45:53)
Secondly, we learned about the intelligence breakdown. So many of the members of both committees asked about that, particularly the January 5th, the FBI report, that had some very significant warnings from social media about people who were coming to Washington, who wanted to wage war.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:46:16)
The fact that did not get to key leaders and the sergeant of arms or the Capitol Police chief is of course, very disturbing, really on both ends. I mean, you can’t just push send… As we all know, we get tons of emails… And hope that it gets to the right person, especially when we’re dealing with something so serious.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:46:38)
The January 3rd intelligence report that came right out of the Capitol Police also contained, according to Washington Post reports and other information, some pretty foreboding details that I would have thought would have resulted in planning and more preparations.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:46:59)
The delays in the approving a request for National Guard assistance, both from the Capitol Police board and the department of defense. The fact that the sergeant at arms were focused on keeping the members safe in both chambers, while the chief was trying to get some emergency approval… To me, you can point fingers, but you could also look at this as a process that is not prepared for a crisis.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:47:29)
And I think out of that, there’s some general agreement, just based on talking to a number of members, that there should be changes to the Capitol Police board, the approval process and the like. And it’s clear that that action must be taken not only to protect our Capitol, but also to protect the brave officers charged with protecting the citadel of democracy.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:47:56)
Better intelligence sharing. Always an outcome when there’s failures of intelligence. We know that. But I think we’ll get more details in the coming week. Some security changes at the Capitol. Requests that have been made for a while on those changes that I think we have to seriously consider.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:48:12)
And no, it does not have to be barbed wire. And of course, this is a public building, and you want the school groups and you want the veterans, and you want people to be able to visit here. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t make some smart security changes to this building.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:48:27)
The use of the National Guard. We know after 9/11, the National Guard helped for quite a while. We also know that we have to have a plan going forward, as well as consider what happens when we need a greater number of National Guard in a crisis, and how those approvals are made.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:48:47)
Those are just some of my takeaways. I’m sure many others will have more, but I do want to make it clear that there are some items of agreement between most of us on this committee. And I don’t think we should let the words of a few become the story here, because I think this has been a very constructive hearing.
Ms. Klobuchar: (03:49:06)
And I want to thank our witnesses for coming forward as they did. And I want to thank Senator Peters. And we look forward to more hearings. Thank you.
Sen. Peters: (03:49:16)
Well thank you, [inaudible 03:49:18]. I have enjoyed this hearing. Thank you for your leadership. It’s been good working with you and your entire team with the rules administration committee.
Sen. Peters: (03:49:25)
And certainly want to thank Ranking Member Blunt and Portman, and all of the members who came here together today to work in a bipartisan way, to ask tough questions and to get answers. I want to thank Captain Mendoza for sharing her experiences. Certainly a very powerful way to start this hearing.
Sen. Peters: (03:49:45)
But I truly appreciate each of the witnesses that were here today, who came here today willingly and knew you would be asked tough questions, and you were willing to do that. And certainly, we appreciate you for that effort. And while this hearing certainly shed some new light and offered some new information on what happened to the lead up, as well as to the response to the January 6th attack on our Capitol, it’s also raised a number of additional questions that need to be asked.
Sen. Peters: (03:50:18)
For the past two years, I’ve been working to draw attention to the rise of domestic terrorism, and specifically violence driven by white supremists. We have only seen the threat of this violence grow, not just from white supremists, but also from anti-government groups and people who have been swept up by conspiracy theories, and just simple outright lies.
Sen. Peters: (03:50:43)
The events of January 6th and the answers that we heard today only further highlight a grave national security threat that our current homeland security apparatus is clearly not fully equipped to address.
Sen. Peters: (03:50:56)
Our national security agencies were overhauled, and they were forged in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, and they’re basically built around responding to foreign terrorist attacks, and they have been slow to adapt to this evolving threat of domestic terrorism that we have seen in the last few years.
Sen. Peters: (03:51:15)
The homeland security committee was created to oversee reforms, to fix the intelligence failures that led to 9/11, and now I intend to assure that this committee oversees efforts to fix the failures that led to the January 6th attack. There’s no question our federal counter-terrorism resources are not focused on effectively addressing the growing and deadly domestic terror threat. The January 6th attack marked a once in a lifetime failure, and now we have the duty to ensure that the federal government is doing everything in its power to make sure another attack like this never happens again.
Sen. Peters: (03:51:53)
We must align our counter-terrorism resources and our intelligence gathering efforts to ensure we’re focused on this dire threat. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center right now are eight months late on a report to assess the threat posed by domestic terrorism. And we’re going to continue to push them to complete this report as soon as possible so that we can take meaningful action.
Sen. Peters: (03:52:19)
There’s no question in my mind that there was a failure to take this threat more seriously, despite widespread social media content and public reporting that indicated violence was extremely likely.
Sen. Peters: (03:52:32)
The federal government must start taking these online threats seriously, to ensure they don’t cross into the real world violence. I also plan to keep the pressure up on social media companies to work harder to ensure that their platforms are not used as a tool to organize violence.
Sen. Peters: (03:52:52)
So this investigation does not end here today, and I look forward to our next hearing where we will continue to seek answers to important questions that were raised today, and others that need to be answered.
Sen. Peters: (03:53:07)
Before we adjourn, however, I have to do a bit of quick housekeeping. It’s my privilege to announce the members of the subcommittees of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee for the 117th Congress.
Sen. Peters: (03:53:22)
The following senators will serve on the permanent subcommittee on investigations. Jon Ossoff will be chair, Ron Johnson, ranking member, Tom Carper, Maggie Hassan, Alex Padilla, Rand Paul, James Lankford and Rick Scott.
Sen. Peters: (03:53:39)
The following senators will serve on the emerging threats and spending oversight subcommittee. Maggie Hassan, Rand Paul… Maggie Hassan will be chair, Rand Paul will be ranking member… Kyrsten Sinema, Jackie Rosen, Jon Ossoff, Mitt Romney, Rick Scott, Josh Hawley.
Sen. Peters: (03:53:58)
And the following senators will serve on the government operations and border management subcommittee. It will be chaired by Kyrsten Sinema. James Lankford will be ranking member. Tom Carper, Alex Padilla, Jon Ossoff, Ron Johnson, Mitt Romney, and Josh Hawley.
Sen. Peters: (03:54:16)
So congratulations to our new chairs, our ranking members, and to all members of our committee. I look forward to working with all of you in the months and years ahead.
Sen. Peters: (03:54:26)
Officially the record for this hearing will remain opened until 5:00 PM on March 9th, 2021, for the submission of statements and questions for the record. With that, this hearing is officially adjourned.