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Ex-Security Officials Spread Blame for Failures of Capitol Riot


Mr. Sund testified that the F.B.I. report reached the Capitol Police the day before the attack, but not him directly. He said that an officer assigned to a law enforcement joint terrorism task force received the document and sent it to an unnamed intelligence division official on the force.

“It did not go any further than that,” Mr. Sund said.

Robert J. Contee III, the chief of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, who also testified, argued the F.B.I. should have more urgently flagged the information with a phone call, rather than an after-hours email.

Though the F.B.I. bulletin has received widespread attention, it was but one piece of a broader mosaic of publicly available information indicating that the Trump supporters who planned to demonstrate in Washington on Jan. 6 — stoked by Mr. Trump and his allies — were primed to storm the Capitol and, in some cases, to commit violence.

And the former Capitol security officials’ assertions about a lack of intelligence seemed at odds with closed-door testimony last month from the acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda D. Pittman. She told a House committee that the department knew there was a “strong potential for violence” and that demonstrators would be armed, but that it failed to take preventive steps.

Chief Contee also laid the blame for the slow deployment of the National Guard on the Defense Department, noting that the Army had expressed reluctance to send in troops even as the violence escalated. In written testimony, Mr. Sund reported that a top general said in a 2:30 p.m. call on Jan. 6 that he did not like the “visual” of the military guarding the Capitol and that he would recommend the Army secretary deny the request even after the mob had breached the building.

“I was stunned at the response from Department of the Army,” Chief Contee testified Tuesday.

In response to questions from Mr. Peters and Ms. Klobuchar, the three former security officials all confirmed that they believed the siege was coordinated.

“These people came with equipment, climbing gear,” Mr. Sund said, adding that two explosive devices placed near the Capitol distracted the authorities. Mr. Contee noted that there was evidence the attackers used hand signals and coordinated their use of irritants, like bear spray.


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