(AP) — A Senate investigation
into the Jan. 6 insurgency at the United States
Capitol has revealed widespread government, military
, and law enforcement blunders leading up to the violent attack
, including a breakdown within multiple intelligence agencies and a lack of training and preparation for Capitol Police
officers who were quickly overwhelmed by the rioters.
The Senate report, released on Tuesday, is the first – and possibly only – bipartisan examination of how hundreds of former President Donald Trump
supporters were able to violently push past security
lines and break into the Capitol that day, disrupting President Joe Biden
's victory certification.
It includes new information about police officers on the front lines who suffered chemical burns, brain
injuries, and broken bones and told senators that they were left with no direction when command systems failed. It also recommends immediate changes to give the Capitol Police chief more authority, improve law enforcement planning and equipment, and streamline intelligence gathering.
As a bipartisan effort, the report does not delve into the root causes of the attack, including Trump's role in calling for his supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn his election
defeat that day, and it does not call the attack an insurgency, despite the fact that it was. It also comes two weeks after Republicans
blocked a bipartisan, independent commission
that would investigate the insurgency more thoroughly.
“This report is important in that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” said Michigan
Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which conducted the investigation alongside the Senate Rules Committee. “However, it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly,” he added.
passed legislation in May to establish a commission modeled after a panel that investigated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack two decades ago, but the Senate failed to get the 60 votes
needed to advance, with many Republicans pointing to the Senate report as sufficient.
Sen. Roy Blunt, the top Republican on the Rules Committee, has opposed the commission, arguing that the investigation would take too long, and that Senate recommendations, such as legislation that he and Minnesota Democratic
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Rules Committee chair, intend to introduce soon, would give the chief of Capitol Police more authority.
The Senate report details how the Guard was delayed for hours on Jan. 6 as officials from multiple agencies took bureaucratic steps to release the troops, as well as hours of phone calls between Capitol and Pentagon officials and as the then-chief of Capitol Police, Steven Sund, begged for assistance.
It discovers that the Pentagon
spent hours “mission planning” and obtaining multiple layers of approvals as Capitol Police were being overwhelmed and brutally beaten by the rioters, and that the Defense Department
’s response was “informed by criticism” of its heavy-handed response to protests in the summer of 2020 following the death
of George Floyd
at the hands of police.
The senators are harshly critical of the Capitol Police Board, a three-member panel comprised of the heads of security for the House and Senate, as well as the Architect of the Capitol. The board is now required to approve requests from the police chief, even in emergency situations, according to the report.
Two of the board's three members, the House and Senate sergeants at arms, were forced out in the days following the attack, and Sund resigned under pressure as well.
Klobuchar stated that Congress
should change the law to give the police chief more authority “immediately.”
The report recommends a consolidated intelligence unit within the Capitol Police after widespread failures from multiple agencies that failed to predict the attack even though insurrectionists were openly planning it on the internet. The police’s intelligence unit “knew about social media
posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6
, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharia court, and the online sharia court, the online sharia court, the online sharia court, the online sharia
The senators also fault the FBI
and the Homeland Security Department for downplaying online threats and failing to issue formal intelligence bulletins that aid law enforcement planning.
In a statement in response to the report, the Capitol Police acknowledged the need for improvements, some of which they said are already being made. “Law enforcement agencies across the country rely on intelligence, and the quality of that intelligence can mean the difference between life and death,” the statement said.
According to the report, Capitol Police were heavily compromised during the attack due to multiple failures, including bad intelligence, poor planning, faulty equipment, and a lack of leadership. The force's incident command system "broke down during the attack," leaving officers on the front lines without orders, and some senior officers were fighting instead of giving or receiving orders.
“I was horrified that NO deputy chief or above was on the radio or assisting us,” one officer told the committee in an anonymous statement. “For hours the screams on the radio were horrific(,) the sights were unimaginable, and there was a complete loss of control.... For hours NO Chief or above took command and control. Officers were begging and pleading for help for medical triage.”
Acting Chief of Police Yogananda Pittman, who took over for Sund after he resigned, told the committees that the lack of communication was caused by "incident commanders being overwhelmed and engaging with rioters, rather than issuing orders over the radio."
The committee's interviews with police officers detail what one officer described as "absolutely brutal" abuse from Trump supporters
as they ran over them and broke into the building, as well as hearing racial slurs and seeing Nazi
salutes. One officer attempting to evacuate the Senate said he was stopped by several men in full tactical gear who said, "You better get out of our way, boy, or we'll g..."
Insurgents threatened police officers, then members of Congress, and one officer expressed a "tangible fear" that he would not return home alive.
At the same time, the senators commend the officers' bravery, noting that one officer told them, "The officers inside all behaved admirably and heroically and, despite being outnumbered, went on the offensive and reclaimed the Capitol."
This story was contributed to by Associated Press writer