Senate Report Blames Intelligence, Security Failures in Riot
(Bloomberg) -- A Senate investigation into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol found widespread intelligence and law enforcement failures by multiple agencies that led to an “unprecedented attack” on Congress and the democratic process.
The report by two Senate committees said Capitol Police received intelligence about the potential for an attack on the building by supporters of former President Donald Trump and right-wing extremists but failed to communicate that properly. Officers lacked the training to prevent the mob from breaching the building, it said.
The first bipartisan review of the attack on the Capitol provides fresh details about the multiple lapse by federal agencies and the trauma suffered by officers on the front line. But it doesn’t address causes of the insurrection or Trump’s role in it.
The report -- issued Tuesday by Democrats Gary Peters and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Rob Portman and Roy Blunt -- does include, without comment, the full transcript of Trump’s speech to supporters just before the riot in which he called on them to march to the Capitol as Congress was certifying the Electoral College results from the presidential election.
“If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said, eventually leading to allegations he incited the violence.
Many Republicans have argued that the report, along with ongoing FBI investigations and the prosecutions of those who allegedly took part in the riot negates any need for an independent, outside commission that would also investigate the causes. A proposal to create such a commission was blocked by Republicans in the Senate last month.
“Today’s report is one of the many reasons I am confident in the ability of existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts about the events of January 6th,” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, who previously blamed Trump for provoking the insurrection but led GOP opposition to establishing a commission, said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans “insisted that the report exclude anything having to do with the cause of the insurrection” and that he reserved the right to raise the commission legislation in the chamber.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democratic-controlled House, which had previously passed the commission bill, would continue “to seek and find the truth of the assault on the Capitol, our Congress and our democracy.”
Pelosi and other House leaders have told Democrats there are several alternatives to such an outside, independent commission if the Senate does not act.
Those include creation of a special, select House committee and separate investigations by various House committees with jurisdiction over issues related to the attack. Another is the designation of an existing committee -- such as the Committee on Homeland Security -- to conduct an in-depth review. All those run the risk of being attacked by Republicans as partisan, which likely would dilute the impact of any findings.
The Senate report also faulted the training of Capitol Police officers who were unable to prevent the mob from breaching the building and blamed bureaucratic delays for a failure to quickly call in the National Guard.
“The entities responsible for securing and protecting the Capitol Complex and everyone on-site that day were not prepared for a large-scale attack, despite being aware of the potential for violence targeting the Capitol. The Committees’ investigation to-date makes clear that reforms to USCP and the Capitol Police Board are necessary to ensure events like January 6 are never repeated,” the report said.
The Senate report made a number of recommendations to prevent such violence in the future, including giving the Capitol Police chief authority to bring in the National Guard without waiting for the police department’s board to act. It also allows for quick-reaction National Guard resources for special events.
The report does not recommend building a permanent or retractable fence around the Capitol complex, as called for in a House-passed $2 billion emergency spending bill that stalled in the Senate.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy said he’s working on a spending package for Capitol security, but he sounded a skeptical note about the House bill.
“We’ll have to do a special appropriations for that,” the Vermont Democrat said Monday at the Capitol. “There’s also the issue of what you spend it on. Somebody had a pop-up wall,” he said of the House’s proposal for a retractable fence. “Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie.”
The U.S. Capitol Police said in response to the report that reforms are necessary, including to “specific to intelligence analysis and dissemination,” but denied that it had knowledge thousands of rioters were going to attack the Capitol.
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