Acting US Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said Wednesday that the agency had taken action ahead of the Jan. 6 riot based on intelligence that extremists planned to participate in the preceding rally and planned to be armed, but that the intelligence failed to predict the scope of the attack, which would ultimately overwhelm officers when the Capitol was breached.
Had there been better intelligence of the coordinated attack, Pittman suggested, the US Secret Service might not have brought then-Vice President Mike Pence – a target of the insurrectionists – to the Capitol to oversee the certification of the November election that day, according to her testimony released ahead of today’s House Appropriations Committee hearing.
“The Department’s preparations were based on the information it gathered from its law enforcement partners like the FBI and others within the intelligence community, none of which indicated that a mass insurrection of this scale would occur at the US Capitol on January 6th,” Pittman said in her written prepared testimony.
“Nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partners include any specific credible threat that thousands of American citizens would attack the U.S. Capitol,” she added. “Indeed, the United States Secret Service brought the Vice-President to the Capitol for the election certification that day because they were also unaware of any specific credible threat of that magnitude.”
Pittman said in her written testimony that the department’s Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division had produced as many as four intelligence assessments leading up to the riot Jan. 6, with the final assessment showing that members of militias, White supremacists and other extremist groups would participate in the rally and planned to be armed.
The final assessment, Pittman wrote, prompted Capitol Police to post Dignitary Protection Agents at the homes of some congressional leaders, deploy other agents of that unit to the Ellipse to protect members of Congress and post evacuation vehicles for congressional leadership on the day of the rally.
But Pittman says the intelligence failed to foresee the scale of the attack that would take place on Jan. 6, with thousands of rioters overwhelming outnumbered Capitol Police officers and breaching the Capitol. The intelligence told them to prepare for a protest, Pittman plans to say – but never indicated a coordinated attack.
Another top law enforcement official will tell House lawmakers Thursday that problematic intelligence and a breakdown in sharing information between law enforcement agencies contributed to the security failures on Janu. 6 when the US Capitol was overrun by a violent pro-Trump mob.
Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett will say in his prepared remarks that the intelligence prior to Jan. 6 was an issue, citing a Jan. 3 US Capitol Police bulletin as an example of contradictory information that was provided to law enforcement agencies prior to the attack.
Blodgett will say that this USCP bulletin contained some warnings that the January 6 protests could turn violent and would be different than previous MAGA marches. But he also plans to say the bulletin maintained that Jan. 6 was expected to be similar to previous MAGA marches and he believes that assessment was used to inform the security preparations for the day.
Read more about their testimonies here.