Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittmann has revealed in striking detail that the capitol police provided plenty of advance warning of the January 6th attack in a letter that brutally exposes the security failures.
“By January 4th, the Department knew that the January 6th event would not be like any of the previous protests held in 2020. We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending. We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”
The statement lays out in concrete detail that the imminent threat to the capitol building was severe. Yet the Congress, despite repeated warnings, failed to act to ensure that the capitol police and the national guard would be adequately empowered with resources to provide vigorous security and a clear mandate to ensure that the building would not be breached.
Pittmann lays out the following version of events, which highlight that the capitol police felt pressure to increase its resources and preparation:
However, I do believe certain challenges the Department faced the day of the attack could have been overcome with additional preparation.
First, it became clear early on that the Department needed much more manpower than what was available. We received immediate assistance from the MPD who sent a hundred officers within minutes of the initial breach of the outer security perimeter. Chief Sund immediately coordinated with federal agencies and law enforcement partners across the area to gain additional boots on the ground. He also lobbied the Board for authorization to bring in the National Guard, but he was not granted authorization for over an hour.
In Pittmann’s statement, she provides another revelation that throws into question that Congress’s heavy pressure on the capitol police:
Additionally, on January 4th, former USCP Chief of Police Steven Sund requested that the Capitol Police Board declare a state of emergency and authorize a request to secure National Guard support
The Board denied the request, but encouraged Chief Sund to contact the DC National Guard to determine how many Guardsman could be sent to the Capitol on short notice, which he did. Chief Sund also coordinated with Acting Chief of Police Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department to guarantee additional support on January 6th.
In addition, there was a “lockdown” order made that subtly suggests there may be reasons it was not properly followed:
Third, once it became clear that the mob was getting too close to the Capitol building, I ordered a lockdown of the Capitol, which means that every entrance should have been closed and sealed to prevent entry from the outside. The Department has very specific lockdown procedures that require the lockdown to take effect even when officers remain outside of the building. The policy may not have been consistently followed.
Furthermore, she explains how the RNC and DNC pipebomb scares diverted police resources, and also how the provision of “less lethal options” hamstrung officers:
In addition, the Department’s resources were diverted to other major concerns. At nearly the exact time the mob arrived on the Capitol, a pipe bomb was discovered at the RNC headquarters at First and C Street, SE. The Department sent USCP personnel to investigate and secure the location, which included evacuating the Madison and Cannon House office buildings as well as residents and local businesses. Shortly after the initial pipe bomb was discovered, USCP discovered a vehicle with explosive chemicals and a firearm in plain view parked on that same block. An identical pipe bomb was also discovered at the DNC headquarters several minutes later.
Second, our officers were equippedwith less lethal options such as OC spray and batons. They were also backed up by CDU platoons deployingpepper balls and other chemical munitions. They did not have other less lethal options, such as impact weapons, at their disposal. Moreover,due to the amount of lesslethal chemicals beingused to disperse the crowd,additional supplies should have been staged for easy access. Instead,the Department had to send in personnel to reload our officers.
The board of the U.S. Capitol police union will hold a no-confidence vote in a nearly unprecedented backlash against the D.C. police leadership.
There is now a no-confidence vote that takes aim at acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, who recently disclosed the security breakdown ahead of the capitol building attack. She recently apologized for the capitol police failing to protect the U.S. capitol building during the January 6th uprising.
The no-confidence vote would be politically embarrassing, but without direct consequence for those senior leaders listed: Acting Chief Pittmann, Assistant Chief Thomas, Acting Assistant Chief Gallagher, and Deputy Chiefs Bowen, Pickett, and Waldow.
The former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, forced to resign under heavy pressure from Democrats, has fired back a response to Speaker Pelosi. It undercuts the Democrats’ narrative that there were no requests made for heavier security. In fact, the Congress was warned six times before the capitol riots, and yet, the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms, also both resigned, failed to act upon those requests.
Indeed, it has come out recently that Democrats have known for months about plans for an attack on the capitol.
In the aftermath of the January 6th attack, it is unclear if the capitol police are to blame for the security lapse, or those who failed to heed the warnings; namely, the U.S. Congress.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.