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Inspector General Says Capitol Police Ignored Intelligence Warnings About Riot

Washington, DC – A U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) inspector general (IG) report said that Capitol Police failed to act on intelligence reports that warned protesters might be armed and planned to “target” Congress on Jan. 6.

The IG report dated March 1 has not been released publicly but was obtained by CBS News.

USCP Inspector General Michael Bolton cited multiple “deficiencies” in the report, as well as the USCP’s failure to disseminate intelligence the department received ahead of the Capitol riot.

The report pointed out that Capitol Police received intelligence on Dec. 30, 2020 that warned protesters coming to the nation’s capital for the Jan. 6 rally in support of then-President Donald Trump “may be inclined to become violent,” CBS News reported.

Bolton also noted USCP’s failure to pass along “relevant information obtained from outside sources,” that include a memo from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Norwalk office that was sent the night before the Capitol riot.

The FBI memo warned of the “potential for violence… in connection with a planned ‘Stop the Steal’ protest on 6 January 2021,” CBS News reported.

According to the IG report, a USCP intelligence officer pulled the memo from the FBI’s system and distributed it to supervisors via email.

But the USCP officials who needed to see that memo didn’t see it before the assault on the U.S. Capitol building, CBS News reported.

Bolton also said the Capitol Police shared “conflicting intelligence information” with members of the department ahead of the Capitol riot.

The IG report cited a daily intelligence assessment USCP circulated that listed a “Million MAGA March/US Capitol” on Jan. 6 and rated the possibility that “acts of civil disobedience/arrests” might occur as “improbable,” CBS News reported.

USCP also disseminated an internal assessment on Jan. 3 that warned protesters’ “sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.”

The assessment also warned “Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” CBS News reported.

USCP Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before Congress in February that her department hadn’t received a “credible” threat for a large-scale attack on Congress.

“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 partner indicate such a threat,” Chief Pittman told lawmakers.

Bolton’s report also revealed there hadn’t been a plan for what USCP would do if the Capitol were breached, CBS News reported.

Chief Pittman and USCP Assistant Chief Chad Thomas told the inspector general they had planned to use the department’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) to “extract non-compliant violators and disarm protestors if necessary.”

But the IG report said other Capitol Police officials told Bolton they “were not familiar with any plans to… arrest or disarm protestors.”

Chief Pittman claimed USCP took steps to bolster security on Jan. 6, monitored the crowd, and posted agents with rifles outside certain lawmakers’ homes, according to CBS News.

“While the Department was prepared to neutralize and remove individuals or groups engaging in civil disobedience or violence among the demonstrators, it was quickly overwhelmed by the thousands of insurrectionists (many armed) who immediately and without provocation began attacking officers, bypassing physical barriers, and refusing to comply with lawful orders,” the acting police chief told the inspector general.

The document obtained by CBS News included a timeline provided to Bolton by USCP.

The report also made eight recommendations for USCP to implement, starting with the suggestion that Capitol Police better train its personnel on how to understand intelligence assessments.

Bolton recommended all USCP officers and employees get security clearances so that, in the future, they can receive classified intelligence briefings, CBS News reported.

The IG first made that recommendation regarding security clearances for USCP two year ago.

USCP is not required to publicly disclose its IG reports, CBS News reported.

But lawmakers criticized Capitol Police’s lack of transparency and have demanded its public release.

USCP sent a statement to CBS News that claimed the department has already “made major changes to improve the flow of information to Congress and the public following the attack on our democracy.”

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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