There was plenty of finger pointing Tuesday at a hearing before the Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees that was focused on the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told senators that he did not get an FBI field report that cited online posts about a “war” to warn of potential violence, and dropped a bombshell of sorts when he said intelligence mentioned that Antifa would be present.
“I actually, just in the last 24 hours, was informed by the department that we actually had received that report,” he said. “It did not go any further than that.”
Forced to resign immediately after the attack, Sund gave a dramatic take on events that day to say no agency on its own is trained to hold “thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated” protesters at bay.
“No single civilian law enforcement agency — and certainly not the USCP — is trained and equipped to repel, without significant military or other law enforcement assistance, an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” he testified.
.@SenJeffMerkley asks former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund about FBI Intelligence Report.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 23, 2021
Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, also testified Tuesday.
Here’s more from the Associated Press on Sund’s comments on the FBI report:
Sund told the lawmakers that he didn’t know then that his officers had received a report from the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, that forecast, in detail, the chances that extremists could bring “war” to Washington the following day. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through a joint terrorism task force.
Sund said Tuesday that an officer on the task force had received that memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police but that the information was not sent on to other supervisors.
On the matter of requesting help from the National Guard, the news agency reported that Sund said he spoke to both Stenger and Irving about this in the days before the riot, and that Irving said he was concerned about the “optics” of the presence of troops.
Irving denied that, calling Sund’s account “categorically false,” the AP reported.
“We all agreed the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go,” Stenger said.
There was also disagreement on when the National Guard was requested on the day of the attack.
Contrary to many media reports, Sund said intelligence suggested Antifa would be among the protesters, along with members of Proud Boys and other extremist groups.
“The assessment 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 that they may be inclined to become violent,” he testified.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on January 6th U.S. Capitol Attack: “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,” pic.twitter.com/4rg4wJtIxr
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 23, 2021
The former police chief mentioned Antifa a second time during questioning by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif.
“We proceeded with the posture that the scene could have incidents of violence,” Sund explained. “We knew it would be focused on the Capitol. We knew there was going to be members of Proud Boys, Antifa participating. And like I said before, not Capitol Police, not Metropolitan Police, not any of our federal agencies had any indication we were going to be facing an armed insurrection of thousands of people.”
John Sullivan, who has been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa, was arrested inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
CNN and NBC each reportedly paid Sullivan $35,000 for footage he took that day, including the fatal shooting of unarmed protester Ashli Babbitt by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., shared excerpts from an eyewitness account of the day from J. Michael Waller, employed at the Center for Security Policy thinktank, which ran in The Federalist.
An eyewitness account that I read excerpts from in today’s hearing provides a different perspective on what, why and how things got out of control at the Capitol on Jan. 6 @jmichaelwaller @fdrlst https://t.co/hp0T2qT8nv
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) February 23, 2021
That first hand account included:
- Plainclothes militants. Militant, aggressive men in Donald Trump and MAGA gear at a front police line at the base of the temporary presidential inaugural platform;
- Agents-provocateurs. Scattered groups of men exhorting the marchers to gather closely and tightly toward the center of the outside of the Capitol building and prevent them from leaving;
- Fake Trump protesters. A few young men wearing Trump or MAGA hats backwards and who did not fit in with the rest of the crowd in terms of their actions and demeanor, whom I presumed to be Antifa or other leftist agitators; and
- Disciplined, uniformed column of attackers. A column of organized, disciplined men, wearing similar but not identical camouflage uniforms and black gear, some with helmets and GoPro cameras or wearing subdued Punisher skull patches.
Citing previous pro-Trump rallies in Washington, Sund said Capital Police were not expecting the violence seen that day.
“At no time during the previous MAGA I or MAGA II events did the crowd attempt to storm or attack the Supreme Court building, or the adjacent Capitol building,” Sund said. “And based upon all available intelligence, nothing of that sort was expected to happen on January 6.”
The remark seems to contradict his testimony that Antifa and other extremist groups were expected.
But it was the mention of Antifa that really stood out online, here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:
Are we just not going to talk about the fact Capitol Police Chief Sund said he had intel that Antifa was part of the Jan 6 attack?
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 23, 2021
While being questioned by Sen. Padilla, Sund invoked “antifa” as a possible threat on Jan. 6th. For the second time.
— Mae B Someday Soon (@mspoint1106) February 23, 2021
Sund mentioned Antifa as part of the mob…
— SoMar (@Marlena001) February 23, 2021
Did this Capitol Police guy just say Antifa under oath?
— 😂Just Call Me-G🤣 (@GFano2) February 23, 2021
Did I just hear Sund say there was intel saying Antifa was expected to participate in the 1/6 rally? pic.twitter.com/CfCOCxMoKV
— Marlon (@GeekTrader) February 23, 2021
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