Inspector Common of the Capitol Police Division January 6 riot: NPR
A detailed review of the January 6 riot by the Inspector General of the US Capitol Police will be open for discussion at a House hearing on Thursday. Jon Cherry / Getty Images hide subtitles
Jon Cherry / Getty Images
Jon Cherry / Getty Images
U.S. Capitol Police officers were hampered by leadership decisions and poor equipment that made the armed forces ill-prepared to respond to the January 6 uprising. This came out in a new watchdog report which found that some upfront intelligence agencies had a more “alarming” warning about the day’s events.
The detailed, 104-page review was started by Inspector General of the Capitol Police, Michael Bolton, after the siege in January and completed in March. NPR reviewed the report Tuesday prior to its public discussion at a House Administration Committee hearing on Thursday.
Panel chairman Rep. Zoe Lofgren requested the hearing after receiving a briefing from Bolton last month. Lofgren, D-Calif., Said his findings “provide detailed and worrying results and important recommendations.”
Bolton’s review outlines a wide range of concerns, including inefficiencies, that Capitol Police face when it comes to a fragmented approach to information tracking and a lack of appropriate training.
Prior to the uprising, the report said the Capitol Police did not pay enough attention to threat analysis and threat assessment. Analysis by the agency’s intelligence department before Jan. 6 revealed somewhat contradicting details, with one section offering what Bolton described as “more alarming language” than another.
“Proponents of the current president see January 6, 2021 as the last opportunity to discard the results of the presidential election,” the analysis said in a section, according to Bolton’s report. “This feeling of despair and disappointment can be more of an incentive to become violent.”
It also says: “The congress itself is the goal on the 6th”
Bolton’s review also blames the Capitol Police for failing to prioritize their Civil Disturbance Unit – also known as the CDU. The department plays a vital role in responding to such emergencies, but the majority of its officials have failed to complete required annual training in recent years, the report said.
“USCP did not have adequate policies and procedures for the CDU that set out responsibilities, duties, composition, equipment and training,” the report said. “Due to a lack of standards for the equipment, the deficiencies identified due to the events of January 6, 2021, the expiry of certain certifications, an inaccurate CDU roster and the quarterly concerns about staffing with a reduced readiness in operational audits that did not and real estate inventories that do not match the equipment. ”
Current and past security leaders at the Capitol have defended their actions before and during the attack.
The New York Times reported the Inspector General’s findings Tuesday evening after CNN reported on Bolton’s summary earlier this month.
The watchdog report also mentioned a number of leadership policies that ultimately hampered the police’s response on the day of the riot, such as a decision on less lethal weapons and a lack of police access to critical equipment.
The officers were instructed by the leaders not to use all available equipment, such as less lethal weapons, to disperse the crowd on the day of the attack. Bolton said an official also said the Capitol Police did not use flashbangs like other law enforcement agencies in the area.
The officers also reported “cumbersome” protective equipment and shields that shattered on impact during the siege due to “either improper storage or the age of the shield”.
The Watchdog report has more than a dozen recommendations that range from prioritizing the Civil Disturbance Unit to addressing new training, equipment shortages, executive communications errors, and centralizing intelligence efforts.
These and more will be a primary focus of Congress members as they consider additional funding to increase the security of the Capitol.
Legislators have stated that the full publication of the Bolton Report is critical.
“This report will be an important step towards better protecting the Capitol Complex,” said Representatives Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. – the chair or senior GOP member for the House Appropriations sub-panel that oversees the agency – said in a joint statement last month.