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Iran Press TV

US security officials blame 'poor intelligence' for deadly Capitol riot

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 6:58 PM

Senior law enforcement officials in charge of security for the US Capitol, testifying publicly for the first time since the January 6 insurrection, have blamed poor intelligence and each other for failing to pre-empt the deadly riot.

The officials told Congress on Tuesday that they anticipated limited violence and had no intelligence on coordinated violent attacks by supporters of former US President Donald Trump, despite significant online chatter and media reports that protesters were planning to march on the Capitol to disrupt the electoral vote count.

"We did discuss whether the intelligence warranted having troops at the Capitol, and our collective judgment at that time was no – the intelligence did not warrant that," former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said in his testimony on Tuesday.

"Based on the intelligence, we all believed that the plan met the threat, and that we were prepared," Irving added. "We now know that we had the wrong plan."

It was the first congressional hearing where the officials testified on how the intelligence and operations failed disastrously that day, before the security structure at the Capitol Hill goes for an overhaul.

Many details surrounding the incident are still shrouded in secrecy, especially the role played by law enforcement agencies, seven weeks after the insurrection and over a week after Trump was acquitted by the US Senate over inciting the violence.

Congress is also reportedly constituting an independent commission to review the slip-ups, and to look at different aspects of the violent siege, which came after Trump's defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

Former Capitol police chief Steven Sund described a scene that he said was "like nothing" he had seen in his 30 years of police service.

"When the group arrived at the perimeter, they did not act like any group of protesters I had ever seen," the axed chief said, blaming it on failures across the board from many security agencies.

While it is widely agreed that the security measures were insufficient to deter the rioters that day, top security officials have indulged in a blame game with contradictory statements.

"The Daily Intelligence report indicated that 'the secretary of homeland security has not issued an elevated or imminent alert at this time,'" Sund testified. "Without the intelligence to properly prepare, the USCP was significantly outnumbered and left to defend the Capitol against an extremely violent mob," he said.

Security officials have also chastised Pentagon officials for their reluctance to send National Guard troops quickly after the rioters stormed the Capitol.

"I was surprised at the reluctance to immediately send the National Guard to the Capitol grounds," acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said at the hearing.

Earlier, Senator Amy Klobuchar said the lawmakers would look into information sharing ahead of the attack, timing of the deployment of National Guard troops to help Capitol police and what contributed to the security failures in violence that left five people dead, including a senior police officer.

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