US Capitol Police training and intelligence errors faulted in insurrection probe

Report includes full transcript of Trump’s speech to supporters before the riot, in which he called on them to march to Capitol

Pro-Trump rioters attack the Capitol building on January 6. AP 
Pro-Trump rioters attack the Capitol building on January 6. AP 

A US Senate investigation into the January 6 riot at the Capitol found sweeping intelligence and law enforcement errors, including a lack of proper training and preparation for police who were unable to prevent protesters from breaching the building.

The report, released on Tuesday, found that Capitol Police had intelligence that an attack was possible but failed to communicate properly and faulted bureaucratic delays for a failure to quickly call in the National Guard.

This is the first bipartisan review of the attack on the Capitol, perpetrated by supporters of former president Donald Trump, but it does not address causes of the insurrection or Mr Trump’s role in it.

“It’s unsettling that our intelligence-gathering agencies lacked the ability to recognise the profound threat posed by domestic violent extremist groups,” said Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat.

The report – issued by Democrats Gary Peters and Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Rob Portman and Roy Blunt – does include, without comment, the full transcript of Mr Trump’s speech to supporters before the riot, in which he called on them to march to the Capitol.

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country any more,” he said. These and other remarks led to allegations he had incited the violence.

Many Republicans, including Mr Blunt, have argued that this report, along with ongoing federal investigations, negates any need for a January 6 commission to further probe the causes of the riot.

A proposal to create such a commission was defeated in the Senate last month.

“The entities responsible for securing and protecting the Capitol complex and everyone on-site that day were not prepared for a large-scale attack, despite being aware of the potential for violence targeting the Capitol. The committees’ investigation to date makes clear that reforms to [the Capitol Police] and the Capitol Police Board are necessary to ensure events like January 6 are never repeated,” the report said.

The senators made a number of recommendations to prevent such violence in the future, including giving the Capitol Police chief authority to bring in the National Guard without waiting for the police department’s board to act.

It also allows for quick-reaction National Guard resources for special events.

“I would have hoped for the report’s recommendations to also acknowledge the unique and serious nature of such threats,” Mr Warner said in a statement.

“It’s my hope that my colleagues will take this issue seriously or we will not be able to effectively track and grapple with this ongoing national security threat.”

The report does not recommend building a permanent or retractable fence around the Capitol complex, as called for in a House-passed $2 billion emergency spending bill that stalled in the Senate.

The Capitol Police said in response to the report that reforms are necessary, including to “specific to intelligence analysis and dissemination”, but denied it had knowledge thousands of rioters were going to attack the Capitol.

Updated: June 8, 2021 09:46 PM

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