UPDATED 6:32 AM PT – Tuesday, February 9, 2021
The former Capitol Police chief sent a letter to congressional leaders explaining why the Capitol Police appeared unprepared for the January 6 demonstrations. In the letter, which was addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Steven Sund said the failure to respond to violence during the demonstrations was largely due to a lack of intelligence on the type of people that would be there.
Sund, who resigned after the demonstrations, noted he had relied on assessments from the FBI, Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security when preparing for potential unrest. He said three days prior, an internal intelligence assessment showed a number of extremist groups, including Antifa, were expected to target the Capitol Building and “could become violent.”
That’s when Sund detailed a timeline of his many attempts to shore up support and expedite a mass delivery of protective equipment for his officers. Although 100 riot helmets were delivered on January 4, Army Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt allegedly told Sund he “did not like the visual of the National Guard standing in a line with the Capitol in the background.”
This came despite several people in the crowd “wearing radio earpieces indicating a high level of coordination” and “carrying weapons, explosives and climbing gear.”
In the letter, Sund recognized that a “number of systems broke down,” adding that officials who violated policies or directives need to be held accountable. He went on to say the National Guard was far too slow, noting they sent in 150 troops about five-hours after his request for their support was approved by the Capitol Police Board and called for that process to be reformed.
On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he truly appreciated Sund’s letter and wished more people would come forward because the American public deserves to know what really happened on January 6.
The senator added, he’s “suspicious” that Democrat leaders knew about the attack and are using the upcoming impeachment trial as a “diversion tactic.” His assertion comes considering 45 Republican senators believe the trial is unconstitutional.
Wrong. Because I can’t get any answers on what was known/done before Jan. 6, I’m just wondering if this pointless, unconstitutional second impeachment is a diversion from leadership failures before the Capitol riot https://t.co/1xdosvFTkY https://t.co/hRLqBl1NZz pic.twitter.com/J38SZpdPv9
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) February 8, 2021
Nearly a month has gone by and remnants of the heightened security measures, including an eight-foot tall barbed wire fence, still remain at the Capitol. Johnson said he believes the fence is in place to send a signal that the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump are dangerous to our democracy and that’s simply not the case.