The Capitol Riot cover-up continues. On Thursday, the Inspector General for the Capitol Police provided testimony that corroborates the contents of a 104-page report on the police’s role in the January 6th riot in Washington D.C. But there was a critical piece of information missing: Who gave the order.
“An order to hold back heavy riot-control weapons left Capitol Police at a grave disadvantage as front-line officers, vastly outnumbered, fought to protect Congress from a violent mob Jan. 6,” the Washington Post reported.
“Inspector General Michael Bolton told the House Administration Committee that a deputy assistant chief of police instructed officers not to use the weapons — including stingballs and 40mm launchers — out of concern that ‘they could potentially cause life-altering injury and/or death, if they were misused in any way’,” the Post said.
“Bolton did not identify the chief, but he said that had officers employed such measures, ‘it certainly would have helped us that day to enhance our ability to protect the Capitol’,” the report continued.
The New York Times also reported on the development, identifying the official’s position as an “assistant chief.”
“While he did not name the official who gave the order, Mr. Bolton said an assistant chief had told officers not to use weapons such as sting balls and stun grenades that are commonly used to disperse crowds because the official was concerned they did not know how to use them properly,” the Times reported.
At Thursday’s remote hearing with Inspector General Bolton, Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee Rep. Rodney Davis complained about the secrecy surrounding the Capitol Police’s response to the January 6th threat [25:00 mark].
“Although am glad we are having this hearing, I think we’ve skipped a step,” Rep. Davis said in his opening statement. “This committee has not heard from anyone involved in the decision-making process surrounding January 6th. Our members have not been able to question, under oath, any former or current leaders within the U.S. Capitol Police or House Sergeant at Arms. This is critical to our oversight of these entities.”
“The night of January 6th, I actually spoke with Chairperson Walker and Speaker Pelosi on the floor about working in a bi-partisan way to ensure an attack like this never happened again,” Davis continued. “They agreed. Unfortunately, that was the last bi-partisan conversation we had regarding January 6th in the House, despite my efforts to keep the conversations going.”
On Tuesday, the New York Times obtained a copy of the 104-page Capitol Police IG report, which continues to be kept from the public citing law enforcement and intelligence concerns. The report confirms that, effectively, a ‘stand down’ order was issued to Capitol Police that prevented them from using strong pushback against rioters.
In the Inspector General’s prepared statement, there is also a conflict on the specificity of intelligence indicating that an attack on the Capitol Building was being planned for January 6th.
“The threat analysis in the CDU Operational Plan for January 6, 2021, dated January 5, 2021, states, ‘At this time there are no specific known threats related to the Joint Session of Congress – Electoral College Vote Certification.” While a prior version of Special Event Assessment 21-A-0468, dated December 16, 2020, contains the exact same statement and updated versions of the assessment published later that month contain similar language, the final version dated January 3, 2021, does not contain that statement.”
In response to the IG report, the Capitol Police acknowledged the need to implement many of the recommendations, including “increased staffing in the Department’s Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division.” In late February, a Senate hearing on the Capitol riots revealed the the FBI had only sent an email to “lower-level officials,” as reported by NBC News:
An FBI intelligence report describing plans for violence at the Capitol was sent via email to lower-level officials the night before the Jan. 6 riot, and was never read by Capitol Police or Washington, D.C. leaders… Senators called that “an intelligence breakdown” by both the Capitol Police and the FBI.
The now-former officials responsible for Capitol security on Jan. 6 testified Tuesday that they did not receive an FBI threat report warning that extremists were planning to travel to Washington to commit violence and “war.”
The testimony by former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger came during the first in a series of congressional oversight hearings that will examine the security and law enforcement failures that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
However, the Capitol Police had warned the Congress days prior that there was a high potential of violence breaking out at a protest near the Capitol building. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund disclosed the information in Senate testimony.
“As recent as Tuesday, January 5th, 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,” he said. “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 eminent alert in reference to the events at the United States Capitol on January 6th.”
In March, Major General William J. Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, testified that capitol security had been deliberately held back by civilian authorities due to concerns about “optics.” The commanding general made it clear that such concerns were “unusual” and had not been raised during similar civil disturbances in Washington D.C. in the past.
Similarly to how the identity of the police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, who attempted to breach an inner chamber of the Capitol building during the siege, has been kept secret, the official’s name who can be identified to trace back the ‘stand down’ order is also being covered up.
In late February, a report from the Daily Caller citing multiple anonymous sources say the former House Sergeant at Arms is “covering for her.” The resigned House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving argued that former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund did not request reinforcements until after 2 p.m. Both the former and acting Capitol Police chiefs dispute his timeline.
“Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, testifying remotely through a video link, told a House committee that her agency head had requested military backup about a half-dozen times in the first hour after the Capitol complex was breached on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection,” NPR reported.
“Pittman based her assessment on phone records her agency obtained for then-Chief Steven Sund showing he reached out to the Capitol’s top security officials starting shortly before 1 p.m. in the first of six calls requesting the National Guard to respond,” the report continued.
“Chief Sund spoke to both sergeants-at-arms to request National Guard support,” Pittman told the House panel.
The U.S. Capitol Building was the site of a Joint Session of Congress on January 6th presiding over the Electoral College certification of the 2020 election results. It was the location of the nation’s most powerful lawmakers, as well as Vice President Michael Pence, who was presiding over the Congress as President of the Senate.
The reason behind deliberately restraining National Guard and law enforcement protecting the lives of the country’s most prominent political figures, as well hiding as the identity of whomever gave that order, remain a mystery. It is one that the powers-that-be seem intent to keep unsolved.