Capitol Police Chief: Extremists’ Want to Blow Up the Capitol’
The acting chief of the capital police shocked a Congressional committee today, saying members of white supremacists and anti-government militia groups wanted to “kill as many members of Congress and the executive branch as possible.” The Capitol Police weren't prepared for size of insurrectionist group.
The Acting Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, testified today in front of Congress and gave testimony that shoked the Congressionl panel. The panel heard she plans to maintain the police forces enhanced level of security around the Capitol through at least until President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. She insists that intelligence gathered by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement suggests extremists could be planning an attack…
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified,” she told members of Congress, referring to Biden’s upcoming first address to a joint session of Congress.
“So based on that information, we think that it’s prudent, Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward.”
Chief Pittman’s assertions during her testimony in front of the House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the January 6 riot at the Capitol came after she was asked about the need for continued security measures. These measures included security around the building, including fencing and the deployment of the National Guard.
Pittman emphasized that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol “weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers. They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process,” by stopping the constitutional ceremony of counting electors on January 6, 2021.
President Biden is expected to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress a few weeks after Congress passes his Covid-19 relief package.
Acting Chief Pittman told members of the house subcommittee that while her department knew armed extremists could commit violence at the Capitol on January 6, intelligence collected in advance of the assault showed “no credible threat” of the size and scale of the riot. This assertion has been controverted by several sources. Although she insists her department prepared for that day’s events based on the information gathered by law enforcement, including the FBI and the intelligence community. Pittman said.….
“It has been suggested that the department was either ignorant of or ignored critical intelligence that indicated that an attack of the magnitude that we experienced, on January 6 would occur.”
“The department was not ignorant of intelligence indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the 6th,” she said. “There was no such intelligence. Although we knew the likelihood for violence by extremists, no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol, nor did the intelligence received from the FBI, or any other law enforcement partners indicate such a threat.”
The comments echoed the testimony her predecessor and other current and former law enforcement officials provided to the Senate earlier this week but have been contested by others in the law enforcement, national guard and intelligence community.
Pittman had to step up to the job when former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund was forced to resign following the armed insurrection on January 6th.
Pittman insisted that her department had prepared an intelligence assessment on January 3 that outlined what they expected to take place three days later. The assessment, she said, noted that “militia members, white supremacists, and other extremist groups” planned to participate in the event and that the groups planned to be armed.
The intelligence assessment also clearly indicated that “the threat of disruptive actions or violence cannot be ruled out.” As a result she contradicted the claim that there was no warning that the January 6, 2021 rally wasn’t seen as a threat.
Pittman acknowledged the assessment that “militia members, white supremacists, and other extremist groups” plan was “shared widely” among Capitol Police and emailed to all officers above the rank of sergeant. Sergeants and lieutenants were then be responsible for communicating the information to rank-and-file officers. This threat was also emailed to the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, she said.
Based on the assessment, the Capitol Police made “significant changes” to their security posture. These security measures involved increasing protection for certain members of Congress, deploying agents to provide protection outside the homes of Congressional leaders and sending “counter-surveillance agents” to the Ellipse just south of the White House, where President Donald Trump was holding his rally on the morning of January 6. They also made plans to “intercept the radio frequency used by some demonstration group” and monitor their communications that day.
The adjustments to counter the threat of a huge turnout of “militia members, white supremacists, and other extremist groups” planned to participate amounted to adding very little crowed control even though it was widely known these insurrectionists would be armed.
Pittman went on to recognize…
“The (Capital Police) department was not prepared for the massive groups of violent insurrectionists that descended” on the Capitol.”
Pittman also said that Capitol police were “quickly overwhelmed” by thousands of insurrectionists, many of whom were armed.
Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., asked Pittman about an assessment from the the FBI’s field office outside Norfolk, Va., on January 5 that there would be a “war” the next day, Pittman said that they did receive the report. Still, it was just “information” and not final intelligence. Pittman with a straight face said the Capital Police protocol is not to take action on raw intelligence.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Says Officers Weren’t Prepared for Size of Riot