Congress has conducted at least eleven bipartisan hearings to investigate the security failures that permitted a mob of American citizens to riot inside the Capitol Building and successfully disrupt Congress while they certified the 2020 election results on January 6, 2021. In this episode, hear key highlights pulled from over 30 hours of testimony to understand exactly what happened that day.
Executive Producer: Forrest Pittman
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- Article: 587 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far. This searchable table shows them all. by Madison Hall, Skye Gould, Rebecca Harrington, Jacob Shamsian, Azmi Haroun, Taylor Ardrey, and Erin Snodgrass, Insider, July 23, 2021
- Article: Tampa man, 20, admits intending to block Congress with Oath Keepers in new Capitol riot guilty plea by The Washington Post, July 20, 2021
- Article: What were the Capitol rioters thinking on Jan. 6? by The Washington Post, July 19, 2021
- Article: “You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump from Striking Iran by Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, July 15, 2021
- Article: To Trump’s hard-core supporters, his rallies weren’t politics. They were life. by The Washington Post, July 15, 2021
- Article: Michael Flynn posts video featuring QAnon slogans By Marshall Cohen, CNN, July 7, 2021
- Article: Latest alleged Oath Keeper arrested in Capitol riot turned over body armor and firearm by The Washington Post, July 2, 2021
- Article: ‘Zip Tie Guy’ and His Mother Plead Not Guilty to New Charges in U.S. Capitol Siege by Aaron Keller, Law & Crime, June 23, 2021
- Article: Man charged with bringing molotov cocktails to Capitol on Jan. 6 has Texas militia ties, contacted Ted Cruz’s office, court papers allege by The Washington Post, May 24, 2021
- Article: Maryland man, indicted for bringing gun to Capitol riot, could face decades in prison by Jordan Fischer, Eric Flack, Stephanie Wilson, WUSA9, May 18, 2021
- Article: DC medical examiner confirms causes of death of 4 who died in Jan. 6 Capitol riot By Kelli Dugan, Cox Media Group National Content Desk, 11NEWS, April 7, 2021
- Article: The lawyer for the ‘QAnon Shaman’ wants to use Trump’s speech before the insurrection as part of his defense by Jacob Shamsian, Insider, March 1, 2021
- Two Members of the Proud Boys Indicted for Conspiracy, Other Charges Related to the Jan. 6 Riots By United States Department of Justice, January 29, 2021
- Article: Former Army captain arrested after live-streaming Capitol riot By Kyle Rempfer, AirForceTimes, January 22, 2021
- Article: ‘Trump said I could’: One possible legal defense for accused rioters. By Teri Kanefield and Mark Reichel, The Washington Post, January 11, 2021
- Article: Did 5 People Die During Jan. 6 Capitol Riot? by Alex Kasprak, Snopes, January 7, 2021
- Article: FBI focuses on whether some Capitol rioters intended to harm lawmakers or take hostages by The Washington Post, January 7, 2021
- Article: Trump’s supporters think they’re being patriotic. And that’s the problem. by Christine Adams, The Washington Post, January 7, 2021
- Article: Capitol riot: Army vet who tended bar accused by FBI of conspiring in insurrection by AMSNBS, 2021
- Article: All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory by The Washington Post, January 3, 2021
- Article: ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor by The Washington Post, January 3, 2021
- Article: Capitol riots by The Washington Post, 2021
- Article: Another MAGA Rally To Take Place In D.C. On The Day Congress Declares Election Results by Matt Blitz, WAMU 88.5, November 27, 2020
- Article: Trump’s Election Attack Ends December 14—Whether He Knows It or Not by Lily Hay Newman, Wired, November 27, 2020
- U.S.A. v. Mark Grods U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, June 28, 2021
- Defense Timeline for January 6th
- Examining the U.S. Capitol Attack: A Review of the Security, Planning and Response Failures on January 6 Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Committee on Rules and Administration
- U.S.A. v. Christopher Alberts U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 27, 2021
- U.S.A. v. Lonnie Leroy Coffman U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 11, 2021
- U.S.A. v. Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohue U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, January 8, 2021
- Video: Seeking Information: Pipe Bombs in Washington, D.C. F.B.I., January 5, 2021
Sound Clip Sources
Hearing: USCP OVERSIGHT FOLLOWING JANUARY 6 ATTACK, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, June 16, 2021
- Michael Bolton
- Inspector General of the US Capitol Police
36:40 Michael Bolton: To me the biggest failure is that because we have allowed certain elements within the Capitol Police to be autonomous, they conduct their own training, okay? That’s the issue. Whereas you if you have a Training Services Bureau and let’s call it an office of training that is fully incorporated, they handle all the training they conducted. They make sure you get the training, they hold your officials accountable, your people doing your training, guess what, we’re sending a letter to the chief and they can no longer work until they get required or what have you.
Hearing: The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions (Part II), House Committee on Oversight and Reform, June 15, 2021
- Lt. General Walter Piatt
- Director of the Army Staff
- General Charles Flynn
- Commanding General of the US Army Pacific
- Chris Wray
- FBI Director
30:41 Lt. General Walter Piatt: My involvement with our response to this emergency began shortly after entering the Secretary of the Army’s office at 2:20pm to provide a report of a suspicious package. While I was there, a panic call came in reporting several explosions in the city. To understand the situation, to indentify, what was needed from the army Secretary McCarthy convened a conference call. During this call DC and Capitol authorities frantically requested urgent and immediate support to the Capitol. We all immediately understood the gravity of the situation. Secretary McCarthy went down the hall to seek approval from the Acting Secretary of Defense. Before departing, she directed me to have the staff prepare a response. I communicated this on the conference call. But those are more and more convinced that I was denying their request, which I did not have the authority to do. Despite clearly stating three times that we are not denying your request, we need to prepare a plan for when the Secretary of the Army gains approval.
1:46:02 General Charles Flynn: There’s four things in planning that we could have done. And we should have done. The first one there should have been clearly a lead federal agency designated. The second one is we should have had an integrated security plan. The third one is and much of this has been talked about already is information and intelligence sharing on criminal activities before the sixth of January. And then the fourth one would have been, we should have pre-federalized certain National Guard forces so that they could have immediately been moved to the Capitol and had those authorities in place before this happened.
2:09:30 Rep. Kweisi Mfume (MD): So that’s what we are trying to do, keep our republic and to keep it from those who tried to overthrow this government who wanted to kill members of Congress, who wanted to hang Mike Pence.
2:43:37 Rep. Michael Cloud (TX): You mentioned domestic terrorism that this would qualify as that, would the riots that we saw across the cities for nights and nights and weeks and weeks on even months on end, qualify as domestic terrorism as well? Chris Wray: We’ve been treating both as domestic terrorism and investigating both through our Joint Terrorism Task Force.
2:51:19 Chris Wray: Among the things that we’ve taken away from this experience are a few. One, as you heard me say in response to an earlier question, we need to develop better human sources, right, because if we can get better human sources, then we can better separate the wheat from the chaff in social media. Two, we need better data analytics. The volume, as you said, the volume of this stuff is, is just massive, and the ability to have the right tools to get through it and sift through it in a way that is, again, separating the wheat from the chaff is key. And then the third point that I would make is we are rapidly having to contend with the issue of encryption. So what I mean by that is, yes, there might be chatter on social media. But then what we have found and this is true in relation to January 6th, in spades, but it was also true over the summer in some of the violence that occurred there. Individuals will switch over to encrypted platforms for the really significant, really revealing communications. And so we’ve got to figure out a way to get into those communications or we’re going to be constantly playing catch up in our effort to separate as I said, the wheat from the chaff on social media.
3:01:00 Chris Wray: We consider the attack on capital on January 6 to be a form of domestic terrorism.
3:16:00 Chris Wray: As for social media, I think there’s, there’s it’s understandable that there’s a lot of confusion on this subject we do not we have very specific policies that Ben at the Department for a long time that govern our ability to use social media and when we have an authorized purpose and proper predication, there’s a lot of things we can do on social media. And we do do and we aggressively do but what we can’t do, what we can’t do on social media is without proper predication, and an authorized purpose, just monitor, just in case on social media. Now, if the policies should be changed to reflect that, that might be one of the important lessons learned coming out of this whole experience. But that’s not something that that currently the FBI has the either the authority or certainly the resources frankly, to do.
4:06:00 Rep. Pat Fallon (TX): Has anyone been charged with inciting an insurrection? Chris Wray: I think I responded to an earlier question. I don’t believe that that has been one of the charges us so far. But again, with that many cases, I want to build a little room for the fact that I might not know all the cases. Rep. Pat Fallon (TX): So right as of right now, the answer would be no, fair to say? Chris Wray: That’s my understanding. Rep. Pat Fallon (TX): Okay. Has anybody been charged with sedition to your knowledge? Chris Wray: Same answer. Rep. Pat Fallon (TX): Okay. No, again, Has anybody been charged with treason? Chris Wray: I don’t believe so. Rep. Pat Fallon (TX): Okay, has anyone been charged with illegal possession of a firearm inside the Capitol? On that day? Chris Wray: I believe there has been at least one instance of someone arrested with a firearm in the Capitol. And there have been a number of arrests of individuals either en route to the Capitol or near the Capitol for the for the siege.
4:11:00 Rep. James Comer (KY): On December 31, Mayor browser requested DC National Guard assistance with the planned protest for January fifth and sixth, correct? Lt. General Walter Piatt: Correct, sir. Rep. James Comer (KY):And was that request for assistant ultimately approved by the Secretary of Army? Lt. General Walter Piatt: It was approved by the Acting Secretary of Defense as well. Rep. James Comer (KY):Were restrictions placed on that authority upon the request of Mayor browser and if so, what were those restrictions? Lt. General Walter Piatt: She had requested that they be unarmed and it did not take a place in any law enforcement activities.
Hearing: The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions, Committee on Oversight and Reform, May 12, 2021
- Chris Miller
- Former Acting Secretary of Defense
- Robert Contee
- Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department
00:22 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): Today the committee will examine one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. The January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol. On that day, a violent mob incited by shameless lies told by a defeated president launched the worst attack on our republic since the Civil War.
00:42 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): We watched as the temple of our democracy, a building whereas familiar with as our own homes, was overrun by a mob bent on murdering the Vice President and members of Congress.
21:21 Chris Miller: I want to remind you and the American public that during that time, there was irresponsible commentary by the media about a possible military coup or that advisors the president were advocating the declaration of martial law. I was also very cognizant of the fears and concerns about the prior use of the military in June 2020 response to protests in the White House. And just before the electoral college certification 10 former Secretaries of Defense signed an op-ed published in The Washington Post warning of the dangers of politicizing inappropriately using the military. No such thing was going to occur and my watch, but these concerns and hysteria about them nonetheless factored into my decisions regarding the appropriate and limited use of our armed forces to support civilian law enforcement during the electoral college certification. My obligation to the nation was to prevent a constitutional crisis. Historically, military responses to domestic protests have resulted in violations of American civil rights and even in the case the Kent State protests of the Vietnam War, tragic deaths. In short, I fervently believe the military should not be utilized in such scenarios, other than as a last resort, and only when all other assets had been expended.
26:02 Chris Miller: I stand by every decision I made on January 6th and the following days. I want to emphasize that our nation’s armed forces are to be deployed for domestic law enforcement only when all civilian assets are expended and only as the absolute last resort. To use them for domestic law enforcement in any other manner is contrary to the constitution and a threat to the Republic. I ask you this consider what the response in Congress in the media had been if I had unilaterally deployed 1000s of troops into Washington DC that morning against the Express wishes of the Mayor and the Capitol Police who indicated they were prepared.
40:52 Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): Mr. Miller, you were the Acting Secretary of Defense on January 6th, did President Trump as the commander in chief of the US Armed Forces call you during the January 6 attack to ensure the capital was being secured? Mr. Miller? Chris Miller: No, I had all the authority I needed from the president to fulfill my constitutional duties. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): Did you speak with President Trump at all as the attack was unfolding? Chris Miller: On January 6th? yes. Chris Miller: No, I did not. I didn’t need to I had all the authority I needed and knew what had to happen. I knew what had to happen. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): Did you speak with Vice President Pence during the attack? Yes or no? Chris Miller: Yes. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY): According to a defense department timeline, it was Vice President Pence and not President Trump, who called during the siege to say the Capitol was not secure. And to give you the direction to quote, ‘clear the Capitol.’ What specifically did Vice President Pence say to you that day? Chris Miller: Vice President’s not in the chain of command, he did not direct me to clear the capital. I discussed very briefly with him the situation. He provided insights based on his presence there, and I notified him or I informed him that by that point, the District of Columbia National Guard was being fully mobilized and was in coordination with local and federal law enforcement to assist in clearing the Capitol.
1:05:28 Chris Miller: I think I’d like to modify my original assessment. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): Why am I not surprised about that? Chris Miller: Based on as Chief Contee said, we are getting more information by the day by the minute about what happened and the highlight some other observations that were made. It’s clear now that there were organized… Although we’re going to find out through the Department of Justice process in the law, and the legal system, it seems clear that there was some sort of conspiracy where there were organized assault elements that intended to assault the Capitol that day. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): Reclaiming my time, I’m just asking you the same question you’ve answered before. Did did the President’s remarks incite members to march, the people in the crowd to march on the Capitol, or did they not? Chris Miller: Well, he clearly said offered that they should march on the Capitol. So it goes without saying that his statement resulted in that… Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): Reclaiming my time. Let me just share with the committee what you have said before. This is your quote. This is your quote. What anyone? Would anybody have marched on the Capitol and tried to overrun the Capitol without the president speech? I think it’s pretty much definitive. That would not have happened. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): I think now, I would say that this is not the unitary factor at all. What’s that? Chris Miller: I would like to offer I have reassessed. It was not the unitary factor at all. There was no…it’s seems clear there was an organized conspiracy with assault elements. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): In your testimony for today. Reclaiming my time again, for your written testimony for today. For today, this morning, you stated the following about the President’s quote, I personally believe his comments encouraged the protesters that day. So this is that this is that there’s a very recent reversal of your of your testimony. Chris Miller: Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): You’re ridiculous. Chris Miller: Thank you for your, your thoughts. I also want to highlight… Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): No wait a minute, reclaiming my time, reclaiming my time.
2:06:30 Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI): Has there been any progress made it all on on? Who would have put these bombs there? Robert Contee: No arrests have been made no suspects identified, working without partners on the federal side. There’s been surveillance videos that have been released publicly showing that individual placing the pipe bombs, but no arrests have been made at this point.
3:01:05 Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA): Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
3:12:18 Sen. Hank Johnson (GA): Were you ordered to delay deployment of troops? Chris Miller: 110% Absolutely not. No, that is not the case.
4:41:42 Chris Miller: If we had a valid request and a necessary requests from your body, I guarantee you that the Department of Defense would have been there in strength as required. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): So when you would acknowledge we lost the battle we lost for the first time since 1814… Chris Miller: Horrifying. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL): And it was everybody else’s fault but DoD. Chris Miller: I absolutely disagree with the statement that it was… Rep. Mike Quigley (IL) I’m paraphrasing you the only way that makes sense when you say ‘you wouldn’t do anything differently, you wouldn’t do anything differently.’ Okay, that implies what I’m saying that it was everybody else’s fault in your mind, because it was a catastrophic failure. Chris Miller: And I just had an obligation to protect and defend the Constitution and guarantee that the armed forces were used appropriately, and not in a manner that would be seen as extraconstitutional. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL) Look, the Constitution is not a treaty of surrender. It affords you the opportunity to do what’s necessary to defend the people in the democracy of the United States. I mean, if looked upon the destruction afterwards, looking back, you say, ‘well, at least I defended the Constitution’ is another perverse way of looking at this. Nothing was DoDs fault. And at least you did, in your own mind, defend what you thought was right for the Constitution. Never mind how many people got hurt and how much damage was done to our government in the meantime. Chris Miller: I will absolutely take that on and take that as a compliment. Because the armed forces of the United States was completely prepared and ready to respond to any valid request from any department or agency or local or federal law enforcement office. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL) You lost and you don’t have the Intellectual fortitude to own up to your part of the responsibility. And I get it, a lot of people screwed up, you’re one of them. I yield scaled back. Madam Chairman. Chris Miller: I respectfully disagree in that. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL) I was in the room, you weren’t.
Hearing: State and Local Responses to Domestic Terrorism: The Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Beyond, House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, March 24, 2021
- Dana Nessel
- Attorney General, Michigan
- Aaron Ford
- Attorney General, Nevada
- John Chisholm
- District Attorney, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
07:19 Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI): The post 9/11 era of security where the threats come from abroad is over. In the 20 years of the post 9/11 era, they came to an end on January 6th, the new reality is that we have to come to terms with is that it’s our extremists here at home, seeking to explain internal divisions that pose the greatest threat.
Hearing: JANUARY 6 ATTACK ON THE CAPITOL, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Committee on Rules and Administration, March 3, 2021
- Robert Salesses
- Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security at the U.S. Department of Defense
- Major General William Walker
- Commanding General of the DC National Guard
- Jill Sanborn
- Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- U.S. Department of Justice
06:42 Sen. Gary Peters (MI): But the January 6 attack must mark a turning point. There can be no question that the domestic terrorist threat and cluding violence driven by white supremacy and anti government groups is the gravest terrorist threat to our homeland security. Moving forward, the FBI, which is tasked with leading our counterterrorism efforts, and the Department of Homeland Security, which ensures that state and local law enforcement understands the threats that American communities face must address this deadly threat with the same focus and resources and analytical rigor that they apply to foreign threats such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
30:19 Robert Salesses: Over the weekend of January 2nd and third, my staff contacted the Secret Service, the Park Police, the marshal service, the FBI, the Capitol Police to determine if they planned to request DoD assistance. None of these law enforcement agencies indicated a need for DoD or DC National Guard Support.
30:45 Robert Salesses: After consultation with the Department of Justice, the Acting Secretary of Defense approved the DC government request for National Guard personnel to support 30 traffic control points and six metro stations from January 5th to the sixth. The Acting Secretary also authorized a 40 person quick reaction force to be readied at Joint Base Andrews.
31:17 Robert Salesses: On January 5, the Acting Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army received a letter from the mayor of DC, stating MPD is prepared and coordinated with its federal partners, namely the Park Police, the Capitol Police and the Secret Service. Based on these communications with federal and local civilian authorities DoD determined that no additional military support was required on January 5th, and 6th.
32:20 Robert Salesses: At approximately 2:30pm, the Secretary of the Army met with the Acting Secretary of Defense and other senior leaders of the Defense Department. After this meeting, the Acting Secretary of Defense determined that all available forces of the DC National Guard were required to reinforce the DC Metropolitan Police and the US Capitol Police and ordered the full mobilization of the DC National Guard at 3:04pm.
33:08 Robert Salesses: After reviewing the DC National Guard’s missions, equipping and responsibilities to be performed at the Capitol Complex and supported the Metropolitan Police and Capitol Police, and conferring with the DC Metropolitan Police at their headquarters, at 4:10pm, the Secretary of the Army received the Acting Secretary of Defense’s approval at 4:32 and ordered the DC National Guard forces to depart the armory for the Capitol Complex
49:59 Major General William Walker: The District of Columbia National Guard provides support to the Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service, and other federal and district law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protest, and other large scale first amendment activity on a routine basis. The standard component of such support is the stand up of a off site quick reaction for us, an element of guardsmen held in reserve with civil disturbance response equipment, helmets, shields, battons, etc. They are postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civil authorities. The Secretary of the Army’s January 5th letter to me withheld that authority for me to employ a quick reaction force. Additionally, the Secretary of the Army’s memorandum to me required that a concept of operation be submitted to him before the employment of a quick reaction force. I found that requirement to be unusual, as was the requirement to seek approval to move guardsmen supporting the Metropolitan Police Department to move from one traffic control point to another.
54:50 Major General William Walker: So the memo was unusual in that it required me to seek authorization from the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense, to essentially even protect my guardsmen. So no civil disturbance equipment could be authorized, unless it was came from the Secretary of Defense, now the Secretary of the Army, to his credit, did tell me that I could have force protection equipment with the guardsmen. So we do have helmets. shin guards, vest, we did have that with us. But that came from the Secretary of the Army. The Secretary of Defense told me I needed his permission to to escalate to have that kind of protection.
55:50 Major General William Walker: What it says, without my personal authorization, the District of Columbia National Guard has not authorized the following to be issued weapons, ammunition bayonets, batons or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor. Now, again, to be clear, the Secretary of the Army told me to go ahead and issue that equipment. So we never were going to have weapons or ammunition and we no longer have bayonets. But we do have ballistic protection equipment, helmets body armor, and so I did have that with each guardsmen.
57:02 Major General William Walker: And at that time, Chief Conte and Chief Soon passionately pleaded for District of Columbia National Guard to get to the Capitol with all deliberate speed. So the Army senior leaders did not think that it’d look good. It would be a good optic, they further stated that it could incite the crowd. So their best military advice would be to the Secretary of the Army who could not get on the call. So we wanted the Secretary of the Army to join the call, but he was not available. We were told that he was with the Secretary of Defense and not available. But the Army Senior leadership, expressed to Chief Conte, Chief Sohn, Dr. Mitchell, the deputy mayor and others on the call, that it would not be their best military advice to have uniform guardsmen on the Capitol.
58:26 Sen. Gary Peters (MI): General Walker was the issue of optics ever brought up by army leadership when the DC National Guard was deployed during the summer of 2020. Was that discussed? Major General William Walker: It was never discussed. The week of June it was never discussed July 4, when we were supporting the city was never discussed August 28th when we supported the city. Sen. Gary Peters (MI): Did you think that was unusual? Major General William Walker: I did.
1:00:32 Major General William Walker: So I had them ready to go shortly after the phone call. So I brought, at 1500, I directed that the quick reaction for us that was based at Andrews Air Force Base, leave the base, get to the armory at all deliberate speed. I had a police escort bring them to the armory. They returned to the Armory in about 20 minutes. So we had them sitting there waiting. And then, in anticipation of a green light, a go, we put guardsmen on buses, we brought them inside the armory, so nobody would see them putting on the equipment and getting on the buses, and then we just waited to get the approval. And that’s why we were able to get to the Capitol in about 18 minutes. Sen. Gary Peters (MI): What time were they on the buses Ready to go? Do you recall? Major General William Walker: By five o’clock, but at five o’clock, I decided, hey, you know, there’s got to be an approval coming. So get on the buses, get the equipment on, get on the buses and just wait. And then a few minutes after that we did get the approval. I was on a secure video conference when the army leadership conveyed to me that the Secretary of Defense had authorized the employment of the National Guard at the Capitol. So my timeline has 1708, 5:08pm is when is when we wrote down that we had approval and read was about eight people in the office with me when I got that. Sen. Gary Peters (MI): How many guardsmen were ready. You said write a video earlier and they have gotten 155. So you could have sent 155 much, much earlier, what would have been the impact of sending those 155 right around that two o’clock timeframe? Major General William Walker: Well, based on my experience with the summer and I have 19 years, I have 39 years in the National Guard, and I was in the Florida guard Hurricane Andrew I’ve been involved in civil disturbances. So I believe that number could have made a difference. We could have helped extend the perimeter and help push back the crowd.
1:13:49 Robert Salesses: The only decision makers on the sixth of January were the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. There was a chain of command from the Secretary of Defense, to Secretary McCarthy to General Walker. That was the chain of command.
1:15:39 Sen. Rob Portman (OH): This morning, you have testified that you received this letter from our secretary McCarthy on January 5, so just the day before the attack on the Capitol. In that letter, did Secretary McCarthy prohibit you from employing the National Guard’s quick reaction force without his authorization? Major General William Walker: So I have the letter in front of me, and his letter does not but it is the Secretary of Defense says that I have to use it as a last resort. But the Secretary of the Army told me and it’s, I have the letter that I couldn’t not use the quick reaction force. It would it would he with I’ll just read it. Yeah, ‘I withhold authority to approve employment of the District of Columbia National Guard quick reaction force, and will do so only as a last resort, in response to a request from an appropriate civil authority. I will require a concept of operation prior to authorizing employment of a civil- of a quick reaction for it.
1:16:05 *Major General William Walker:** Now a quick reaction force normally is a command was tool to go help either a civilian agency, but more typically to help the National Guardsmen who are out there in need, need assistance.
1:16:58 Major General William Walker: Just to be clear, the Secretary of Defense said I could use it as a last resort, right. But the Secretary of the Army says that I could only use it after he gave me permission. And only then after a concept of operation. Sen. Rob Portman (OH): Right, and we talked about the chain of command earlier, so your chain of command is both of these gentlemen. In other words, you you didn’t have the authority to deploy that quick reaction force based on either the letter or the earlier memo that went from the Secretary of Defense, Acting Secretary defense to the Secretary of the Army. Is that correct? Major General William Walker: Yes, sir.
1:17:23 Sen. Rob Portman (OH): Yeah, I also thought it was odd and I think you said was unusual and very prescriptive that the January 5th letter required the Secretary of the Army to approve the movement of deployed guardsmen from one traffic control point to another. Did you find that unusual? Major General William Walker: In 19 years I never had that before happened. So on that day, the Metropolitan Police as they would any other day requested that a traffic control point move one block, one block over. No traffic was where they were. So they wanted the traffic control point to move one block. I had to get permission. I told him, I’ll get back to you. I contacted Lieutenant General Piatt, who contacted Secretary of the Army, I had to explain where that contractor control point was in relationship to the Capitol. And only then did I get permission to move the three national guardsmen supporting the Metropolitan… Sen. Rob Portman (OH): These are three unarmed National Guardsmen who are helping with traffic control in parts of that Metropolitan Police can do other things. And they were not permitted to move a block away without getting permission from the Secretary of the Army. Is that true? Major General William Walker: That’s correct. Yeah.
1:18:52 Sen. Rob Portman (OH): That January 4th memorandum from Acting Secretary Miller to the Army Secretary required the personal approval of the Secretary of Defense for the National Guard to be issued riot gear. Is that correct? Major General William Walker: That’s correct. But but the secretary army told me to go ahead and put it into vehicles. So I give him credit for that.
1:19:08 Major General William Walker: Normally for a safety and force protection matter, a commander would would be able to authorize his guardsmen to protect themselves with helmet and protective equipment.
1:25:57 Sen. Roy Blunt (MO): General Walker if the restrictions on your authorities hadn’t been put in place by DoD, what would you have done when Chief Sund called you at 1:49 on January 6, with an urgent request for National Guards assistance? Major General William Walker: I would have immediately pulled all the guardsmen that were supporting the Metropolitan Police Department. They had the gear in the vehicles, I would have had them assemble in the armory, and then get on buses and go straight to the armory and report to the most ranking Capitol Police Officer they saw and take direction. And just let me add this, so one of my Lieutenant Colonel’s on his own initiative, went to the Capitol, anticipating that we were going to be called, so he would have been there and he met with Deputy Chief Carroll of the Metropolitan Police Department who asked them, where is the National Guard? How come they’re not here? And this Colonel said, Well, I’m sure they’re coming. And I’m here to scout out where they’re going to be when they get here. So that was the plan. I would have sent them there immediately. As soon as I hung up, my next call would have been to my subordinate commanders, get every single guardsman in this building, and everybody that’s helping the Metropolitan Police. We mission them to the Capitol without delay.
1:32:11 Robert Salesses: That’s when the Secretary of Defense made the decision at 4:32. As general Walker has pointed out, because I’ve seen all the timelines, he was not told that till 5:08 that’s what Sen. Roy Blunt (MO): How’s that possible? Mr. Salesses, do you think that the decision in the moment we were in was made at 4:32 and the person that had to be told, wasn’t told for more than half an hour after the decision was made? Robert Salesses: Senator, I think that’s that’s an issue.
1:37:13 Sen. Maggie Hassann (NH): Looking back now, what might have made a difference in being able to move against some of those individuals sooner? Jill Sanborn: Yeah, I think that’s great question. I think it’s twofold. So it’s the complexity of trying to gather the right intelligence that helps us predict indicators and warnings. And I spoke earlier about while there’s a volume out there of rhetoric, trying to figure out that intent is very challenging for us in the intel community because it happens on private comms and encryption. So that’s one aspect. And then the other aspect is of the people that we were investigating. So predicated investigations, we don’t necessarily have the ability to mitigate the threat they might pose by travel if we don’t have a charge. And so I think you’re tracking that we were aware of some of our subjects that intended to come here. We took over action by going and talking them and trying to get them to not come and that worked in the majority of our already predicated cases.
1:49:46 To review the timeline at 1:49 Chief Sund contacted you. At 2:15 the capital was breached. I think in your testimony you said you had available 340 DC National Guard troops Is that correct? Major General William Walker: Sir, it was actually half of that. So, so half were on the streets helping the Metropolitan Police Department. The other half would have came in to relieve them, but we would have called them in to come in.
1:50:33 Sen. Ron Johnson (WI): How quickly could have you gotten? How many people to the Capitol? Major General William Walker: 20 minutes? Sen. Ron Johnson (WI): How many people? Major General William Walker: 150
1:56:47 Jill Sanborn: We’re seeing people that got caught up in the moment got caught up in the sort of the energy etc. and made their way into the captain on those are probably the ones that you’re seeing the charges simply of trespassing and then we’re definitely seeing that portion that you’re pointing out which is small groups and cells now being charged with conspiracy that coalesced either on site or even days or weeks prior and had sort of an intent that day and they to probably caught people up in the energy.
23:00 Jill Sanborn: The piece of information we received, again, was a non attributable posting to a message board. And so very raw, very unvetted, we actually didn’t receive that information until late, very late in the afternoon on the fifth and almost into the evening. And because of our emphasis on we need any intelligence, even though it was raw and attributed, and unvetted, the Norfolk office quickly wrote that up specifically in a document following our processes to disseminate that. So a situation information report is for the intentional purpose of sharing that with state and local partners. Not only did they write that up, because they knew how important that was to get that information out into the hands of folks that might need it, our state and local partners, within 40 minutes, they sent an email to the Washington field office with that information and Washington Field Office also then followed up with an email to all Task Force officers. And so several different mechanisms were happened here. And you know, we’d like to use the phrase ‘belt and suspenders’ we didn’t want to make sure that one method of communication failed. So we wrote it up in the document for dissemination. We sent it in an email to all taskforce officers in the National Capitol Region, and that does include Washington Metro as well as Capitol. But again, not wanting to rely on those two mechanisms only it was then briefed verbally in a command post and interagency command post that we were doing briefings every couple of hours, though, that every agency in that command post have what we call a common operating picture. Knowing what all of us knew at any given time, it was briefed at 8pm on the evening of the fifth, and then taking it one step further, because we didn’t want to limit our aperture to just the National Capital Region, because there’s collection opportunity out there for all state and local partners and federal partners to help us, we loaded that suspicious information report into what we call the Leap Portal. And that is accessible by all state and local partners. So we really tried in various ways to make sure that we did not rely on one communication mechanism and really tried to rely on several so that the information would get to the right people.
34:46 Sen. Rand Paul (KY): We can talk all we want about January sixth, but really it’s the decision making leading up to that. Someone made a bad judgment call and we need to be better prepared. If we’re gonna fix this in the future, it isn’t about calling the National Guard out quicker. It’s about having 1000 people standing there before the riot happens to the riot doesn’t happen.
Hearing: U.S. Capitol Police and House Sergeant at Arms, Security Failures on January 6, House Committee on Appropriations: Subcommittee on Legislative Branch, February 25, 2021
- Timothy Blodgett
- Acting Sergeant at Arms; U.S. House of Representatives
- Yogananda D. Pittman, Acting Chief of Police, U.S. Capitol Police.
09:11 ** Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (CA):** The United States Capitol Police Force is not meant to be an army, expecting 1600 officers to hold back an unruly mob of eight to 10,000 people, many of whom were armed and had their own homemade explosive devices or had came with or weaponized, everyday items. It’s not a position we should ever have to be in.
20:51 Yogananda D. Pittman: There’s evidence that some of those who stormed the Capitol were organized. But there’s also evidence that a large number were everyday Americans who took on a mob mentality because they were angry and desperate. It is the conduct of this latter group that the department was not prepared for.
Hearing: Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection, Committee on Financial Services, February 25, 2021
- Iman Boukadoum
- Senior Manager, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- Lecia Brooks
- Executive Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Daniel Glaser
- Global Head Jurisdictional Services and Head of Washington, DC Office at K2 Integrity
- Senior Advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Board member at the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority
- Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Daniel Rogers
- Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer at Global Disinformation Index
- Daveed Gertenstein-Ross
- CEO of Valens Global
03:28 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): In the wake of the attacks of September 11th, we recast the entire federal government and worked feverishly to defund terrorist streams. To effectively disrupt domestic extremist groups, we need to better understand their financing.
03:54 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Unlike ISIS, for example, these organizations are not pyramid shaped where funding comes from a handful of easily disruptable areas. An online fundraising drive for a legitimate charity, and one that helps support an extremist group can look very similar.
04:57 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): We need to conscientiously be mindful of the civil liberties concerns at play here. Unlike international extremist groups, law enforcement is constrained by the Constitution when dealing with domestic extremists, balancing the desire to give law enforcement the tools necessary to disrupt these groups with the need to respect the rights of all Americans and the Constitution to which we have all pledged an oath is essential.
05:36 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): While we all live through a brutal event on January 6th, undertaken by right wing extremists, no location on the political spectrum has a monopoly on extremism or violence.
10:08 Rep. Maxine Waters (CA): We’re here against the backdrop of the January 6th insurrection. A deplorable yet predictable display of white supremacists such as the Proud Boys, the oathkeepers QAnon and others and nationalist violence incited by President Trump against the members of this body and against democracy itself.
12:51 Iman Boukadoum: Last month violent insurrection heavily fueled by white supremacy and white nationalism shocked the world.
13:52 Iman Boukadoum: We know, however, that even well intentioned national security laws are invariably weaponized against black, brown and Muslim communities. And that white nationalist violence is not prioritized making that policy failure the fundamental reason for what transpired on January 6th, not lack of legal authority. For this reason we oppose any legislation that would create new charges for domestic terrorism or any enhanced or additional criminal penalties. The federal government, including the Treasury Department, has many tools at its disposal to investigate. And also the FBI and DOJ have 50 statutes, at least 50 statutes and over a dozen criminal statutes, 50 terrorism related statutes, excuse me and over a dozen criminal statutes that they can use. They just need to use them to target white nationalist violence.
19:33 Lecia Brooks: Today, some white nationalist groups and personalities are raising funds through the distribution of propaganda itself. In November SPLC researchers reported that dozens of extremist groups were earning 1000s of dollars per month on a popular live streaming platform called D-Live.
20:21 Lecia Brooks: Crowdfunding is also being exploited by hate groups to earn money in this new decentralized landscape. Crowdfunding sites played a critical role in the capital insurrection, providing monetary support that allowed people to travel to Washington DC. They’ve also played a crucial role in raising hundreds of 1000s of dollars in legal fees for extremists.
20:43 Lecia Brooks: The violent insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 should serve as a wake up call for Congress, the Biden administration, Internet companies, law enforcement and public officials at every level.
23:11 Daniel Glaser: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to talk about how the US government can employ similar tools and strategies against white nationalists and other domestic terrorist groups as it has employed against global jihadist groups over the past two decades.
23:33 Daniel Glaser: During my time at the Treasury Department, I fought to cut off funding to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and Hezbollah, as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bush Administration, and eventually as the Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the Obama Administration. My primary responsibility was to lead the design and implementation of strategies to attack the financial networks of these groups and other threats to our country’s national security. And while we should never let down our guard with respect to those still potent terrorist organizations, it has become tragically clear that there are domestic extremist groups that in some ways present an even greater threat to our ideals and our democracy. We have the responsibility to target those groups with the same determination, creativity and sense of purpose that we displayed in the years following 9/11.
27:42 Daniel Glaser: Potential measures in Treasury’s toolbox include the issuance of guidance to financial institutions on financial type policies, methodologies and red flags, the establishment of public private partnerships the use of information sharing authorities and the use of geographic targeting orders. Taken together these measures will strengthen the ability of financial institutions to identify, report and impede the financial activity of domestic extremist groups and will ensure that the US financial system is a hostile environment for these groups.
30:10 Daniel Rogers: These groups leverage the Internet as a primary means of disseminating their toxic ideologies and soliciting funds. One only needs to search Amazon or Etsy for the term q anon to uncover shirts, hats, mugs, books and other paraphernalia that both monetize and further popular popularized the domestic violent extremist threat. Images from that fateful day last month are rife with sweatshirts that say, Camp outfits that until recently were for sale on websites like Teespring and cafe press. As we speak at least 24 individuals indicted for their role in the January 6 insurrection, including eight members of the proud boys have used crowdfunding site gifts and go to raise nearly a quarter million dollars in donations. And it’s not just about the money. This merchandise acts as a sort of team jersey that helps these groups recruit new members and form further hatred towards their targets. We analyze the digital footprints of 73 groups across 60 websites, and 225 social media accounts and their use of 54 different online fundraising mechanisms, including 47 payment platforms and five different cryptocurrencies, ultimately finding 191 instances of hate groups using online fundraising services to support their activities. The funding mechanisms including included both primary platforms like Amazon, intermediary platforms, such as Stripe or Shopify crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, payments facilitators like PayPal, monetized content streaming services, such as YouTube, super chats, and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. All of these payment mechanisms were linked to websites or social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, telegram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, gab, picshoot and others. The sheer number of companies I just mentioned, is the first clue to the scale and the scope of the problem.
31:40 Daniel Rogers: We also found that a large fraction of the groups we studied have a tax exempt status with the IRS, a full 100% of anti muslim groups. 75% of anti-immigrant groups, and 70% of anti LGBTQ groups have 501-C-3 or 501-C-4 status. Over 1/3 of the militia groups that we identified, including the oathkeepers, whose leadership was recently indicted on charges related to January 6, have tax exempt status. This status gives them access to a whole spectrum of charity fundraising tools, from Facebook donations to amazon smile, to the point where most of the most common fundraising platform we identified across all of our data was Charity Navigator.
32:30 Daniel Glaser: I think it’s important to remember that if you want to be able to use a cryptocurrency in the real economy, to any scale, it at some point doesn’t need to be converted into actual fiat currency into dollars. That’s the place where the Treasury Department does regulate cryptocurrencies.
42:10 Daniel Glaser: Cryptocurrency exchanges are regarded as money service businesses. They have full customer due diligence requirements. They have full money laundering program requirements, they have reporting requirements. The US Treasury Department just last month, issued a proposed rule relating to unhosted wallets of cryptocurrencies. And that’s out for notice and comment. Right now. It addresses the particular issue of, of wallets that are not hosted on a particular exchange. And I think it’s an important rule that’s out there and I do encourage people to take a look at it, the comment period closes in May, and then hopefully, Treasury will be able to take regulatory action to close that particular vulnerability.
42:46 Rep. Jim Himes (CT): Mr. Glaser, you you, though suggested something new that I’d like to give you a maybe 30 seconds, 42 seconds I have left to elaborate on you said you were taught you were hopeful for sanctions like authorities against domestic actors. You did not to constitutional civil liberties concerns. But give us another 30 seconds on exactly what you mean. And perhaps most importantly, what sort of fourth amendment overlay should accompany such authority? Daniel Glaser: Well, thank you, thank you for the question. The fact is, the Treasury Department really does not have a lot of authority to go after purely domestic groups in the way that it goes after global terrorist organizations that simply doesn’t have that authority. You could imagine an authority that does allow for the designation of domestic organizations, it would have to take into account that, the constitutional restrictions. When you look when you read the a lot of the court decisions, there’s concerns could be addressed in the statute, there’s concerns. A lot of the scrutiny is heightened because sanctions are usually accompanied with acid freezes. But you could imagine sanctions that don’t involve asset freezes that involve transaction bounds that involve regulatory type of requirements that you see in Section 311 of the Patriot Act. So there’s a variety of ways that both the due process standards could be raised from what we see in the global context.
44:37 Daniel Rogers: The days leading up to the insurrection, the oathkeepers founder Stuart Rhodes appeared on a podcast and solicited charitable donations to the oathkeepers Educational Fund. It can only be presumed that these funds which listeners were notably able to deduct from their federal taxes, went to transporting and lodging members of the group slated to participate in the ensuing riots.
46:06 Rep. French Hill (AZ): Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: In looking at the draft legislation that the majority noticed with this hearing, one bill stuck out to me and I think it’s a good follow up for your from your most recent exchange. It seeks to amend title 31 to require the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a program to allow designated employees of financial institutions to access classified information related to terrorism, sedition, and insurrection. Now, over the past three congresses, we’ve talked about the concept of a fusion center, not unlike we do in monitoring cyber risk and cyber crimes for this terror finance arena. We’ve never been able to come ashore on it legislatively. So I found that interesting. However, I’m concerned that when you deputize bank employees without any oversight, as to how the information would be protected or if there’s really even a need for that.
46:53 Rep. French Hill (AZ): Could you describe how banks share information with law enforcement today and how they provide feedback on how we might change these protocols or if they’re if that protocol change is necessary. Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: Thank you ranking member, there are four primary ways that banks share information now. The first is suspicious activity reports or the SAR. Financial institutions have to file these documents with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN. When there’s a suspected case of money laundering or fraud, the star is designed to monitor activity and finance related industries that are out of the ordinary are a precursor to illegal activity, or can threaten public safety. Second, there’s law enforcement’s 314 a power under the Patriot Act, in which obtains potential lead information from financial institutions via fincen. Third, law enforcement can use its subpoena power, if a court issues a subpoena pursuant to an investigation, or to an administrative proceeding and forth where there are blocked assets pursuant to OFAC authorities, sanctions or otherwise, banks are required to report block assets back to OFAC. The information sharing in my view is currently quite effective. Treasury in particular has a very strong relationship with the US financial institutions.
48:24 Rep. French Hill (AZ): On 314 in the Patriot Act, is that a place where we could, in a protected appropriate way make a change that relates to this domestic issue? Or is that, in your view, too challenging? Daveed Gertenstein-Ross: No, I think it’s a place where you could definitely make a change. The 314-A process allows an investigator to canvass financial institutions for potential lead information that might otherwise never be uncovered. It’s designed to allow disparate pieces of information to be identified, centralized and evaluated. So when law enforcement submits a request to Finicen, to get information from financial institutions, it has to submit a written certification that each individual or entity about which the information is sought is engaged in or reasonably suspected of engaging in terrorist activity or money laundering. I think that in some cases 314-A, may already be usable, but I think it’s worth looking at the 314-A process to see if in this particular context, when you’re looking at domestic violent extremism, as opposed to foreign terrorist organizations, there are some tweaks that would provide ability to get leads in this manner.
1:15:15 Iman Boukadoum: What we submit is that the material support for terrorism statute, as we know, there are two of them. There’s one with an international Nexus that is required. And there’s one that allows for investigating material support for terrorism, domestic terrorism, in particular, as defined in the patriot act with underlying statutes that allows for any crimes that take place within the United States that have no international nexus. And we believe that that second piece of material support for terrorism statute has been neglected and can be nicely used with the domestic terrorism definition as laid out in the Patriot Act. And we hope that statutory framework will be used to actually go after violent white nationalists and others.
1:50:25 Daniel Rogers: I think there are a number of regulatory fronts that all kind of go to the general problem of disinformation as a whole. And I don’t know that we have the time to get into all of them here, but I think they, they certainly fall into three three big categories, with the one most relevant to today’s discussion being this idea of platform government and platform liability, that, you know, our data is showing how what a key role, these sorts of platforms play in facilitating the activities of these groups. And the fact that the liability is so nebulous or non existent through things like Section 230 and whatnot, which what we found is that there’s there’s already policies in place against all of these hate and extremist groups, but they’re just simply not enforced. And so updating that kind of platform liability to help drive enforcement I think is one of the key areas that that that we can focus on.
Hearing: JANUARY 6 ATTACK ON THE CAPITOL, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Committee on Rules and Administration, February 23, 2021
- Captain Carneysha Mendoza
- Field Commander of the United States Capitol Police Special Operations Division
- Robert Contee
- Acting Chief of Police for the Metropolitan Police Department
- Paul Irving
- Former Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives
- Michael Stenger
- Former Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate
- Steven Sund
- Former Chief of the United States Capitol Police
27:11 Captain Carneysha Mendoza: On January 6th, 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.
39:21 Robert Contee: MPD is prohibited by federal law from entering the Capitol or its grounds to patrol, make arrests or served warrants without the consent request of the Capitol Police board.
39:32 Robert Contee: The President of the United States not the Mayor of the District of Columbia controls the DC National Guard.
39:57 Robert Contee: Since Mayor Bowser declared a public health emergency last March, the district has not issued permits for any large gatherings. 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 5th and sixth were issued permits by the city.
47:13 Steven Sund: The intelligence that we based our planning on indicated that the January six protests were expected to be similar to the previous MAGA rallies in 2020, which drew 10s of 1000s of participants.
55:33 Paul Irving: We began planning for the protests of January 6th 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 3rd. The January 3rd assessment forecast at the pros tests were ‘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 6th forecast the chance of civil disobedience or arrest during the protests as remote to improbable.
56:29 Paul Irving: The Chiefs 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 6th. That meant approximately 1200 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. 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 brief to multiple law enforcement partners. Based on the intelligence we all believed that the plan met the threat.
1:00:57 Steven Sund: 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, it’s 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 over to an official at the Intelligence Division over at the US Capitol Police Headquarters. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): And so you hadn’t seen it yourself? Steven Sund: No, ma’am. It did not go any further than that. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): Okay. And then was it sent to the House and Senate Sergeant in Arms? I don’t believe that went any farther than from over to the sergeant at the intelligence. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): And Mr. Irving. Mr. Stanger, Do you did you get that report beforehand? Mr. Stanger, Did you get the report? Michael Stenger: No. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): Okay, Mr. Irving? Paul Irving: I did not Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN): Okay.
1:05:36 Sen. Klobuchar: Mr. Sund, you stated in your written testimony that you first made a request for the Capitol Police board to declare an emergency and authorized National Guard support on Monday January 4th, and that request was not granted. Steven Sund: That is correct, ma’am.
1:05:47 Sen. Klobuchar: Your testimony makes clear that the current structure of the Capitol Police corps resulted in delays in bringing in assistance from the National Guard. Would you agree with that? That’s one of the things we want to look at. Steven Sund: Yes, ma’am.
1:06:02 Sen. Klobuchar: 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: I certainly do. I think in an exigent circumstances, there needs to be a streamlined process for the Capitol Chief of Police for the Capitol Police to have authority.
1:07:23 Sen. Klobuchar: 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. And what rule regulation or authority Did you base that view? Steven Sund: 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 you know, 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.
1:11:32 Steven Sund: I think that information would have 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 seeing on a social media post lots of people, postings on social media that needs to be corroborated and confirmed. So again, it’s coming in as raw data. So please keep that in mind. But, you know, I agree. That’s something we need to look at what’s the process and how do we streamline that information getting it to where it needs to go?
1:19:09 Robert Contee: Just after some time after two o’clock RPM, I had left the West front of the Capitol after initially being at the scene, assessing what was going on, or looking at just how violent…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 on the call, several officials from district government that wanted to say was Chief Sund was pleading for the deployment of the National Guard in response to that there was not an immediate ‘Yes, all the National Guard is responding. Yes, the National Guard is on the way. Yes, the National Guard are being restage from traffic posts to respond.’ The response was more asking about the plan, that, what was the plan for the National Guard, that response was more focused on, in addition to the plan, of the optics, how this looks with boots on the ground on the on the Capitol, and my response to that was simply I was just stunned. 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…when I asked specifically, Steve Sund, Chief Sund requested in the National Guard. And was that request being denied? The response was no, we’re not, that 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.
1:25:25 Paul Irving: 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 with traffic control in the perimeter of the Capitol. Shortly after that discussion, I said let’s include Sergeant in Arms, Stanger, 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, did the intelligence support that additional offer for those 125 troops? Sen. Roy Blunt (MO): And did you discuss this with anybody except Sergeant in Arms Stanger and Chief Sund? Paul Irving: 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 Stanger then said how about we put them on standby just in case and that’s what we ended up doing.
1:32:09 Sen. Rob Portman (OH): But what about preparedness? We’ve received information that prior to January six Capitol Police officers were not trained on how to respond to an infiltration of the Capitol Building. Is that correct? Mr. Sund? Steven Sund: When you talk about infiltration, you talk about a large insurrection like we saw on January 6th, no.
1:43:26 Steven Sund: 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 6 event all the way up until January 6, we’re 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 1000s against the Capitol.
2:09:34 Sen. James Lankford (OK): You’d set in this you’ve talked several times about 1000s 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 would come at 1252 that a pipe bomb had been located 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: I don’t know why there was a particular moment that was found, I believe it was an employee of the Republican National Committee that had located in the rear of the building that had called it into Capitol Police Headquarters. Sen. James Lankford (OK): 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 we’re planted there. Is that correct? Steven Sund: 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. Sen. James Lankford (OK): So the assaults in the Capitol is not what caused the evacuation of those buildings. The discovery of those pipe bombs is what caused the evacuation those buildings.Steven Sund: that is correct, sir.
2:18:33 Robert Contee: Yeah, so the Mayor does not have full authority over the National Guard to include their activation or deployment. When the mayor, 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 those approval processes and receiving approval from the highest level of the federal government. We just, that just does not have to take place in other states. So a real hindrance to us in terms of response and the ability to call them up.
2:33:07 Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR): On January 5th, the FBI issued a report through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes going to the US Capitol Police. And that report noted that on the 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 rally or protest. Go there ready for war. We get our president or we die. Nothing else will achieve this goal.’
2:39:22 Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR): Have you ever held a drill to respond this situation where a crowd pushes past the exterior barricades? Steven Sund: Not this level of situation no, sir. Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR): To what level Have you had such drills? Steven Sund: We’ve done various exercises with people, activities on the grounds during civil disobedience training, how to handle riotous groups. Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR): Okay. Thank you.
Hearing: Examining the Domestic Terrorism Threat in the Wake of the Attack on the U.S. Capitol, House Committee on Homeland Security, February 4, 2021
- Christopher Rodriguez
- Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Washington D.C
- Elizabeth Neumann
- Founder and Managing Director of Neu Summit Strategies
- Former Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Brian Jenkins
- Senior Advisor to the RAND President, The RAND Corporation
- Jonathan Greenblatt
- CEO at the Anti-Defamation League
15:04 Christopher Rodriguez: I’m here today to discuss the January 6th attack that led to the insurrection at the US Capitol, which based upon my experience was clearly an act of domestic terrorism.
18:31 Christopher Rodriguez: Mayor Bowser has already suggested one common sense proposal, and that is to transfer control of the DC National Guard to the mayor of the District of Columbia, which would allow for swifter operational decisions during an evolving incident. As we saw on January 6th, under federal control, the guard is not as nimble and responsive as it could be.
21:34 Christopher Rodriguez: The threats we now face are arguably as dangerous as they were in the post 9/11 environment. These threats are not going away.
24:43 Elizabeth Neumann: Extremist ideas have been mainstreamed and normalized through political speech, conspiracy theories and communications that use humor and means to mask the danger of those ideas present. Consequently, there is a high likelihood of violence in the coming months on a range of softer targets associated with their perception of the deep state, including infrastructure, mainstream media, law enforcement, big tech and elected officials.
24:59 Elizabeth Neumann: There are many other complicating factors I can’t go into at this moment, but sadly I do believe that we will be fighting domestic terrorism that has its roots and inspiration points from January sixth for the next 10 to 20 years.
25:34 Elizabeth Neumann: I urge that at a minimum, we change our laws to ensure equal justice treating threats from ideologies that originated overseas and within the United States the same.
37:00 Brian Jenkins: What many mean by a new domestic terrorism statute is a domestic version of the Material Support Provision of the Patriot Act which criminalizes providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Now, that requires designating domestic terrorist groups and there’s a problem. There are hundreds of extremist groups on both ends of the political spectrum, along with other issue oriented groups that conceivably might be labeled terrorist organizations. Battle lines will be drawn and as each party proposes its preferred list. The contentious debate could distract us from the problem, and it could end badly. My advice is to avoid the terrorism as much as possible, and base prosecutions on existing criminal offenses putting aside the political pretensions of the perpetrators.
1:30:00 Rep. Michael McCaul (TX): I think that what happened on January 6th, when you look at the USA PATRIOT Act, they actually defined domestic terrorism and international, but they never included charges or penalties for domestic terrorism. They only did it for international. I think it was because in 2001, they’re more focused on foreign terrorists like Al Qaeda, those responsible for 9/11. But the definition says that ‘activities could involve dangerous acts to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws, the United States, or any state that appeared to be intended to influence the policy that would get around buying work origin will affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction.’ I think the capital attack seems to fit squarely within that definition.
1:46:00 Brian Jenkins: The problem is that the, clearly the defenders of the Capitol were badly outnumbered. That was simply the, I think it is that issue. Now our commission can investigate this further, but just having a greater number of people on the exterior, as well as and I think this is one thing that we that I don’t see in response is that there should have been inner perimeters as well. In other words, the presumption that what if they break through that outer line, what if they break through the doors, now we’re dealing with them inside? Do we have prepared security within the Capitol building as opposed to around the Capitol building that will protect the officials and their staffs that are threatened by this action?
2:01:06 Rep. Yvette Clark (NY): We cannot parse words. This was an act of domestic terrorism, an attack on our citadel of democracy.
2:13:35 Elizabeth Neumann: There were a lot of conversations or media reports that people had been booted off of planes, because they were quote unquote on the No Fly List, I believe that was misunderstood airlines have the ability to make decisions about who they allow on their planes for certain reasons and and if, if they had been no fly listed, they wouldn’t have been allowed into the secure area. Past TSA screening. So most likely you’re, those circumstances probably are a little different, as opposed to saying that people had already been no fly listed.
2:17:21 **Elizabeth Neumann:* It just makes no sense to me that there were so few, such a low law enforcement presence at the Capitol that there wasn’t a stronger perimeter security that those law enforcement officers present didn’t have right here. They’re just basic things that we have learned over the last 20 years that a strong deterrence often avoids violence and that was not present on January 6. So somewhere somebody made a bad judgment call.
3:14:08 Jonathan Greenblatt: Indeed, why do people believe this kind of insanity and this lunacy that there are pedophilia? Satan worshipping Democrats, you know, in the basements of police parlors, eating children for God’s sakes. In part it is because the algorithms that animate the social media platforms invisibly to the user route information to them. So once you click on a certain kind of story, it is often reinforced. And any of us can see this today, if we have a normal internet browser like Chrome or Firefox or whatnot, or Edge, and you look at a YouTube video, it will start to send you more videos, the kinds of what you just looked at. And so that algorithmic routing that happens to the user unknown shapes their worldview and creates what Eli Pariser calls, filter bubbles, and they’re deeply dangerous when they are telling people that again, you have this conspiracy trying to hurt them.
3:21:40 Brian Jenkins: Some recent research not done by RAND, but done by the University of Chicago, looking at the people who were arrested for participation in the events on January 6th, based upon statements they made on their own Facebook accounts and so on, indicates that about 20% of them were actually members of extremist groups going in, that the remaining 80% felt they, were there because they felt the election had been stolen.
3:23:29 Brian Jenkins: Within that broader community, there are individuals who feel marginalized, people who have lost faith in our political systems. This is on both sides of the political spectrum. And we have to do in our zeal to go after the violent component is not accidentally brand as enemies of the state, a broader section of our population. Now, that is a continuing strategy. And that’s one of the reasons actually, why I want so much of our efforts against the violent extremists to be done within the ordinary criminal code. Put aside the political pretensions, don’t give them that. These are crimes, murder, assault, willful destruction of property, deal with it on that basis.
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