Washington, DC – The three men credited with poor planning and security failures that led to the Capitol riot in January have been called testify before a Senate committee later this month to explain what happened.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper Michael Stenger, and former U.S. House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving, all of whom resigned in disgrace after the riot, have all been ordered to appear on Feb. 23, according to The Hill.
The joint hearing of the Senate’s Rules Committee and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will also include testimony from DC Metropolitan Acting Police Chief Robert Contee, whose heroic officers rushed to the U.S. Capitol building to fight back the mob after Capitol Police security efforts failed.
“The security failures that led to the breach endangered not just the Vice President and the Congress, but the peaceful, democratic transfer of power itself,” lawmakers wrote in their letter requesting the former security chiefs’ appearance, according to The Hill.
“The American people deserve a complete accounting of those failures,” the letter read.
🚨🚨US CAPITOL SECURITY >> Public Senate hearing set for next Tuesday, 10AM…
· Robert Contee, MPD acting chief
· Michael Stenger, former Senate Sergeant at Arms
· Paul Irving, former House Sergeant at Arms
· Steven Sund, former USCP chief@WUSA9 @CBSNews #CapitolInsurrection pic.twitter.com/CbRbf3IU9u
— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) February 16, 2021
But elected officials aren’t the only ones who want to know what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Judicial Watch announced on Tuesday that it had filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) seeking emails and videos that are related to the Jan. 6 riot, according to a press release.
The organization filed a public records request on Jan. 21 for copies of emails between USCP brass and the Capitol Police Board in the days leading up to and immediately following the riot.
Judicial Watch also asked for copies of emails between the Capitol Police Board, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the same timeframe, according to the press release.
They are also seeking all of the inside security footage of the Capitol building from 12 noon until 9 p.m. on Jan. 6.
All of the records that have been requested would normally be made available to the public by a police department during an investigation of this scope and magnitude, but the Capitol Police are the exception to the rule, according to Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch said that the police department responsible for congressional security denied the requests on Feb. 11 and said that emails and videos were not considered “public records.”
USCP is held to a different standard because Congress exempted itself from the Freedom of Information Act, according to the press release.
“The public has a right to know about how Congress handled security and what all the videos show of the US Capitol riot,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “What are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer trying to hide from the American people?”
Former Chief Sund, Stenger, and Irving submitted their resignations the day after the Capitol riot.
The Pentagon has claimed it first offered to provide National Guard manpower to supplement the USCP three days ahead of the anticipated pro-President Trump rally, but Chief Sund declined, the Associated Press reported.
The Justice Department has claimed it tried to send Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents as the massive mob descended on the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, but the chief again refused to accept help.
The 2,300-man department had access to ample resources and had weeks to prepare for what many warned could be an insurrection, but USCP administrators opted to plan a response for nothing more than a free speech demonstration, the Associated Press reported.
According to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, department administrators did not develop a backup plan for what would be done in the event the USCP officers became overrun.
The union that represents Capitol Police officers was irate about the lack of warning the rank-and-file of the department received ahead of the planned attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
“We have several protesters dead, multiple officers injured and the symbol of our Democracy, the U.S. Capitol, desecrated. This never should have happened,” USCP Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Chairman Gus Papathanassiou said the day after the riot. “This lack of planning led to the greatest breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. This is a failure of leadership at the very top.”