Skip to main content

tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 23, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

9:00 am
whole entire intelligence community and the view they have on the domestic extremists and the effect they have. i look at this as an intelligence problem that impacted this event, yes. >> so what information would you have had to have heard to have raised up the flag to get more resources for the capitol police? because thank goodness -- i mean, we saw loss of life and thank goodness there wasn't more, but one is too many. so what is your threshold, then? what should be the threshold for the capitol and to protect your officers? >> mm-hmm. i did an advance reachout to the washington, d.c., police to coordinate resources and i also went to the house and senate sergeant at arms to request the national guard. >> mr. contee, i think i have five seconds and we can take this off the record. i believe there are some plans by qanon for something to happen at the capitol on march 4th.
9:01 am
i want to hear what steps we're taking to protect the capitol on march 4th from any more violent extremists. thank you. >> okay. talk to him about that later. senator warner has arrived via video. and senator peters will work with us for restroom breaks and the like. we don't want to take a long break, but i could imagine you need a break at some point here. senator warner. >> thank you, madam chairman, and thank you to the witnesses for appearing today. you know, we've talked a little bit about the deployment or lack of deployment of the national guard. and one of the questions for mr. sund or chief contee, in the fact that we -- the district did not have the ability to bring
9:02 am
the guard to the table because of frankly marian bowser was not treated in a totally fair fashion in this. this may be outside your lane, but her inability to bring the guard to the table and actually any on the panel, you know, that to me is a reflection of the disempowerment of the district. on a going-forward basis in terms of preparing the national guard, should the mayor of the district of columbia have the power to do that in terms of the hurdles for the federal checklist? >> yes. i absolutely agree with that. >> anybody else want to -- continue answer that question as well? >> we have an established process or the capitol police do to make the request through the capitol police board that is equally as effective.
9:03 am
>> i feel like the long-term discrimination against the district, we've seen it in some of the legislation where they did not receive the same kind of level of support that other states did. we saw it play out real time in terms of on january 6th, from the previous administration, i had concerns the deployment of the guard was slowed down. i hope that we in the congress will -- as a supporter of d.c. statehood expect that to move forward, but short of that, trying to ensure that the mayor has appropriate powers going forward. i know there were some questions raised about the fbi and the intel that came out of the norfolk fbi office was ever fully relayed to all of you individuals. but can you talk more generally about the fbi's response on this
9:04 am
sharing of intelligence? i had a number of conversations. i called director wray on monday the 4th. trying to express concerns that there might be this kind of activity. i never expected this level of violence. i had a number of conversations with senior fbi leadership the 5th through the 6th. i candidly -- i thought i would be fully informed of what was going to come to pass, but i felt like the fbi felt they were in better shape in terms of intel and preparation than what came to be the case. i'd a leukemia each of you to comment on how well you felt that the fbi did in terms of sharing intelligence and then coordinating when the actual activities of the 6th played out. >> i'll go ahead and -- you want me to address it first? >> yeah. i mean -- >> okay. >> i can't see where you all
9:05 am
are. any one of you can take a crack at it. >> i'll start first. i think the relationship we have with the fbi is outstanding. i think in my time with metropolitan and my time here we've seen nothing but the relationship get better. the construct that we have that's very similar to other cities is having the joint terrorism task force, being involved with that. the information we're getting in is good. i think the process and having like i said earlier the wider lens of what information is being collected, maybe looking at the agencies that are consumers of their information and what their intelligence collection requirements are is something we need to look at. but i think, you know, getting that information in and then having it processed and pushed forward in an effective manner is something we need to look at. i would say on the 6th, when this started happening, you know, immediately the fbi, being a partner of ours, established a process where with capitol police and fbi police, we can begin to analyze video footage,
9:06 am
analyze other evidence, to be going out and making arrests of the individuals that had created the insurrection of the capitol. >> i'll go next. i would echo what chief sund just mentioned. we have a great work relationship with the fbi. i think it's a whole intelligence approach, not specifically just the fbi when we have something as significant as what occurred here at the u.s. capitol. you know, if there's information, specific information out there that our government is responding too, i would think something of that nature would rise to the level of more than just working with the agencies. that should be a larger, more involved conversation about specifics, not just some of the
9:07 am
unvetted raw information that's out there. we see a lot of that, but i think it's more of a whole intelligence approach, not specifically the fbi. they are great partners to the metropolitan police department. >> thank you. let me just -- i don't know if any other panel members want to add any comment on that. let me just say that my concern is that, you know, in virginia, we've seen these anti-government extremists take to the streets of charlottesville in 2017, resulting in the death of heather heyer. we've seen the same groups come to the forefront on january 6th. i think this is an ongoing threat to national security. i fear at times that while the fbi and others have pointed this out, that it didn't get the level of serious review that it
9:08 am
should have. with the prior administration, i felt at times that they did not want to take the information that was coming out of the fbi. i hope on a going-forward basis we'll be more coordinated in terms of taking on anti-government extremism, whether it comes from the left or the right. this is a real ongoing threat. the intelligence community has seen these groups have connections and ties to anti-government extremists group in europe where they take precedent. my time has expired but this is something we need more work on. thank you for holding this hearing. >> thank you very much, senator warner. we look forward to working with you and the intelligence community on this. next senator langford and then senator carper. >> there's a let fer many the public domain, an eight-page
9:09 am
letter to speaker pelosi attributed to you with the vents of that day. are you familiar and is it accurate? >> yes, sir. >> in the letter itself, you describe several things and the "details" and time line on it. can you tell me why you wrote this letter to the speaker? what was the purpose? >> i feel at the time i resigned, i had limited communications with my department. i know my department was getting ready to go and testify at some of the initial committee hearings. and i think that she had called for my resignation without full understanding of what we had prepared for, what we had gone through, that i think she deserved to read, you know, first hand what we'd prepared for and what we dealt with for the 6th. >> that's helpful. you had said in this, and talked several times about thousands of well-koord namted, well-equipped criminals and described them with climbing gear and other things you've testified to. you mention the letter about the pipe bombs that were located,
9:10 am
the first at 12:52 that a pipe bomb had been located at the republican national committee national headquarters. how was that located? who found it and why was that the moment it was found? >> i don't know why that was the particular moment it was found. i believe it was an employee of the republican national committee that had located it in the rear of the building, called it into capitol police headquarters. >> you mentioned before you thought it was part of a coordination that there were several out there that would take away resources at that exact moment. but there's no way to know they would find it at that exact moment. i'm glad they did find it. they found another one at the democratic headquarters as well at 150 and you document that as well. but you had to have seen quite a few individuals to go to the rnc and dnc to deal with those explosives planted there. is that correct? >> that is correct. just for your information, the rnc pipe bomb, that was one that was really run by capitol police. the dnc metropolitan ended up
9:11 am
taking that and running that so we could run two concurrently. that resulted in the evacuation of two congressional buildings, the cannon house office building as well as one of the library of congress buildings. it took extensive resources. >> to the assault on the capitol is not what caused the evacuation of those buildings. it was the pipe bomb discovery. >> correct, sir. >> there's been a bit of conversation today and quite a few members that have talked about the national guard and the length of time it took to be able to go through the bureaucratic process and get them deployed. i do think that needs to be shortened, obviously, in a deployment structure, and the complexity of the bureaucracy here. there seems to be a misunderstanding on this dais as some individuals describing the national guard as if they're the riot police that can automatically be called -- they're not -- were you expecting to have a rapid-response s.w.a.t. team at this point? what's a typical response from the national guard to be able to call them out when they're not currently positioned? >> i believe the typical response was they're approved in
9:12 am
two hours. >> then the approval process is multiple hours to do that or multiple days to d that. you had started that process several days before making requests. >> so that is correct. as far as the process, you know, my initial request was over to mr. irving, an in-person request on the 4th. it wasn't until the evening of the 4th i talked to general walker that he informed me that if needed -- because mr. stinger wanted me to ask them if they could lean forward -- if needed in a fairly quick fashion once approved. that's what led into january 6th when we made the initial request at 109. >> that 125 individuals from the national guard that were prepared to be able to move faster because they were in streets and different places on traffic duty at that point, you had been informed that the city of washington, d.c., and the mayor's office had made a request to dod and dod had approved it that none of them would be armed, none of them would have heavy gear on. there would be no military vehicles that would be available to them.
9:13 am
they had to use unmarked vans and other government vans and no helicopters would be used. those were prohibited that day for those 125 individuals that were already on the street. is that correct? >> just for correction, at the time, no, i did not know that was the restrictions being placed on them. two, when i talked to general walker the evening of the 4th, which was monday evening, the 125 he was going to give us were 125 that were doing covid relief for the district of columbia, not assigned to the traffic post. >> the individuals assigned to traffic duty had no weapons, had no military vehicles, no overhead visual on anything. that had all been requested no from the city of washington, d.c., and then for the other individuals that could be assigned as a rapid force, those were folks currently doing covid duty. so you had no s.w.a.t. team. this disproportionately is interesting to me that people think suddenly the national guard just bursts in and is ready to go. that's not what the national guard is prepositioned to do. >> that is correct.
9:14 am
anytime we request the national guard they've been unarmed fashion. i was looking for them to help support the perimeter we had established. >> there has been some concern, i talked to some of the officers here and obviously been some conversation around this dais as well about the rules of engagement and about training and authorization. there wasn't training for what to do if a mass group actually comes through the door and tries to burst through, whether it's an insurrection-type event, whether it's a mob that's gone crazy and protesting out of hand to be able to burst through the door. there was no clarity for the officers inside the building on rules of engagement once they came to the building. my impression is they had to make it up on their own and determined their stand would be where the members and the staff were located. that was going to be their stand to start using lethal force. so i have a couple questions for that. at this point now, and i understand hindsight is 20/20, is there a need for more
9:15 am
capability for officers with less than lethal capabilities in clear rules of engagement what to do if you have a group of individuals come into the building unauthorized? >> just for clarification, we do train for people trying to get into the building. we don't train for an insurrection of thousands of people. >> right. >> our officers do have less lethal capability they carry with them. hindsight what it is from january 6th, absolutely, i think there needs to be additional training and equipment to consider this type of attack in the future. >> the challenge is we all watched this summer, in fact, this committee, homeland security, had a hearing on the assaults on a federal courthouse in portland and went through and all of us saw for a month individuals just attack that courthouse day after day after day. we saw the techniques that were used. some of those same techniques were used by individuals who came in here, not saying it was the same individuals, but those same techniques to be able to find a way to attack officers.
9:16 am
so the challenge is that we saw this is rising, i guess, people were watching on temperature, people attacking a federal institution all summer long. it is a follow-up we'll have to do in the days ahead of how to get less than lethal capability and find ways to stop any kind of assault of a number of individuals to be able to come on the capitol. appreciate your service and appreciate very much the officers that continue to be able to serve, because they have not had a gap, a break since that time period. i know you still interact with them, at least i hope you do. >> yes, sir. >> and i would encourage you to pass on from us our gratitude, and we're all looking at this as a hindsight 20/20 saying why couldn't you leave the tea leaves with this scrap of intelligence that came in the night before. none of us saw it at that level. we're grateful for their service. >> thank you very much, sir. i know they appreciate your support as well as the support of congress. they're a hell of a police agency. >> thank you, senator langford. thank you for your patience,
9:17 am
senator carper. >> chief contee, as a former governor in the state of delaware, i recall instances in which i called on the national guard. ice storms, you name it. a lot more. i know the importance of the work there for decades and other states around the country. as we have learned in contrast to every other state's national guard and country, the d.c. national guard operates differently. i'm convinced if someone had been able to activate the national guard, 1,000 or 2,000 guardsmen and women deployed at the capitol in a timely way on the 6th of january, the destruction occurred. the leader of -- the 50 states we have, the leader for the
9:18 am
district of columbia activating the d.c. national guard during an emergency, that's why one of the years i worked for years with congresswoman eleanor holmes norton for-in support of legislation for washington, d.c., as our 51st state, over 700,000 people. chief contee, in your testimony you highlight a request for d.c. national guard assistance at the u.s. capitol on january 6th. would have had to have been made by the u.s. capitol police with the consent of the u.s. department of defense. can you just take a minute to explain that process and why marian bowser was not able to request d.c. national guard assistance when property and human lives are threatened in the district that she leads? please go ahead. >> yes. thank you for the question. so the mayor does not have full authority over the national guard to include their activation or deployment. when the mayor -- we make a
9:19 am
request as the district of columbia, we make a request, we send that to the federal government. ultimately, the secretary of the army sees that request. there's a whole approval process that that request has to go through in order for national guard resources to be deployed to the district of columbia. unlike governors in other states who are able to activate their national guard without going through those approval processes and receiving approval the highest level of the federal government, we just -- that just does not have to take place in other states. so a real hindrance to us in terms of our response and the ability to call them up. >> thank you for that response. can you take a minute to share with us your thoughts on whether having d.c. national guard under the command of a mayor or even a governor might help the d.c. metropolitan police in
9:20 am
coordinating with fed ralt authorities to better protect the city and its citizens? and federal installations like the one we experienced on the 6th. >> yes. i think we certainly should. we knew even on that day on january 6th, you know, prior to any movement of the national guard from the assignments they had been given, the traffic posts, again, that required approval at the highest levels of the federal government to include the secretary of the army and the secretary of the defense in order to just move the national guard or change mission in essence. so, yes, i think that should certainly be something that falls under the mayor's authority. >> thank you very much. mr. sund, in your testimony you state that events of january 6th were not the result of poor planning on behalf of the u.s. capitol police but rather a lack of actual intelligence that would have allowed -- that would
9:21 am
have allowed the -- let me start over. rather lack of actual intelligence that would have allowed the u.s. capitol police to properly prepare. as i was looking through mr. stinger's testimony, former sergeant at arms for the u.s. senate, he says the sharing of information and resources is paramount for success. that's his quote. i strongly agree with that statement. mr. sund, what went wrong leading up to january 6th with regard to ensuring actual intelligence? why do you think the likelihood of a truly devastating attack was so badly underest may noted, mr. sund? >> i think as you start to hear from some of federal agencies with investigations going on where they're finding evidence this was a coordinated attack that had been coordinated among numerous states for some time in advance of this. that's the information that would have been extremely
9:22 am
helpful to us, for them to detect some type of indication we'll see more than just may become violent, may be inclined to violence type of preparations. you look at it now and you see noing what occurred, you see what type of resources were brought to bear around the capitol. that type of information could give us sufficient advance warning to prep, plan for more of an attack such as what we saw. >> the great paul newman and "cool hand luke," people from my generation remember there's a failure to communicate. right at the end of the film. do we have a failure to communicate here? i'm not one who's crazy about pointing fingers and assigning blame, but to whom do we assign that failure to communicate? >> i believe that question is for me, sir. what i look at is, you know, we have a process for
9:23 am
communications, and as a consumer of intelligence, i look at it more of i think there's a fill your of having a wide enough lens to look at what are the current threats that we're facing in a nation now from some of the domestic extremists. i think the communications processes are there, they need to be worked on a little bit, but i think the intelligence community needs to broaden its aperture on what information it collects. >> we know in retrospect, the gatherings didn't start on the 4th or 5th. it was weeks before. somehow all the intelligence gathered by the fbi and homeland security never found its way to the people in d.c. who needed it to avoid the tragedy of january 6th. thank you. our thanks to particularly the officers of the capitol police and other who is join them in trying to protect us and this
9:24 am
capitol on that sad day. >> i know that we have several members ready to go, and we want you to go as quickly as possible, but there's been a request from our answers, who have been here a long time, if we could give them a five-minute break and then we will reconvene in five minutes with additional questions. sowill recess for five minutes. >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington where senators are demanding answers in a hearing full of conflicting explanations from different law enforcement officials on how thousands of rioters invaded the capitol on january 6th. today is the first, didn't for senators to question the former chief of capitol police, former house sergeant at arms, former senate sergeant at arms and the acting police chief in their ability to keep the capitol safe from the mob that ransacked
9:25 am
offices and chambers in a violent search for america's leaders, leaving five dead including brian sicknick. ashley parker, robert hager, and ben collins join me. garrett, there have been a number of conflicting statements especially on when the fbi intelligence arrived or rather who saw it after it arrived the evening before. >> reporter: a lot of finger-pointing here about who's responsible, but one thing that all of these men seem to agree on is that the intelligence they got from the fbi was inadequate or at least inadequately delivered. the discussion centered around the idea that the fbi sent them raw intelligence in the form of an email and maybe a phone call or visit would have been more appropriate given the scope of the threat here. also some discussion about the mechanics by which the national guard can be called and deployed and actually put into use,
9:26 am
specifically here in d.c., where the mayor is not a governor and doesn't have the kind of unilateral authority to deploy the guard that happens in any other state in the union. so i think this hearing will go a long way towards figuring out what happened in the lead-up and why certain decisions weren't made. but we've already heard on a couple of occasions the house sergeant at arms not being able to l get information on when it should have started. it's not the end of it. >> and this is, you know, first of all, the january 5th intel, the fbi intel, let's talk about that for a moment. january 5th pete williams and ben collins. ben, you know more about exactly that january 5th assessment that has become a critical piece of this argument. >> yeah.
9:27 am
i can tell you right now that violent rhetoric was much more violent than usual in these pro-trump spaces the day before. so january 5th, one of the top posts on a pro-dump forum called the donald said it had a choice. it said congress people have a choice tomorrow. certify trump or get lynched by patriots. that was the phrasing. here's a post from qanon, the qanon forum. it starts like this. you can go to washington january 6th and help storm the capitol. as many patriots as can be, we will storm the government buildings, kill cops, security guards, federal agents, demand a recount. that's the sort of thing that was going arnold on january 5th and it was being -- i know for a fact that the fbi was aware of this sort of thing. they were inundated with it. it was the fear of these groups
9:28 am
that organized around one day. they had a month to organize it. the president told them to go, said it would be wild. that's the rhetoric we saw on january 5th. >> more to the point, pete williams, the fact that that was not communicated among the law enforcement officials, how the sergeant at arms and the head of the capitol police could not have seen the warning on january 5th, a specific warning from the virginia bureau, norfolk bureau, i believe of the fbi. pete? >> there are two issues, andrea. one is all the intelligence that was sort of formally presented to law enforcement, all the way up till the 6th, did not predict a siege of the capitol or anything beyond perhaps extra violence of the kind they'd already seen at the two previous maga marches. they sort of thought it would be maga march plus, the formal intel. the day before the riot, you have this piece of
9:29 am
uncorroborated of information from the fbi sent in an email to the capitol police, the chief said today, and somehow sent perhaps in an email to a capitol police official. but we learned today from the former chief that that never got beyond that person who received it. it was not circulated to the upper reaches of the capitol police officials, the command structure, and the chief himself said he never saw it. would it have made a difference if they had seen it? that's unclear at this point. it's very difficult to tell because as they said, it was one piece of uncorroborated evidence. very sobering because it does, according to people who have seen it, talk specifically about the capitol. and i think that's one thing that makes that piece of intel different from many of the others that were in the formal channels that went to the people planning for security on the 6th. >> ashley, there was also a failure of communication and
9:30 am
certainly a conflict where the former capitol police chief sund says that he called the house sergeant at arms an hour earlier that irving claims he got that call skwg for the national guard. this doesn't even get into the fact it takes two hours for the guard to get there and that mayor bowser can't mobilize the national guard, only the president can. but the discrepancy between the capitol police and the house sergeant at arms where he says he doesn't racial equity that phone call. >> just very briefly on mayor bowser, some reporting that she was so desperate that her office reached out to kellyanne conway, who was no longer even in the white house, though she is a senior adviser and frused adviser to the president to get kellyanne to get some action. you have this horrific, unprofessional, frankly, game of tell fwoen going on. as you mentioned, what we're
9:31 am
seeing today, these discrepancies that simply cannot be squared. either there was a phone call or there wasn't. there should be a lot of that phone call. these breakdowns in communication are going to be what we see unfold and hopefully try to get a bit of an explanation for the rest of the hearing today. >> and of course your original reporting, ashley, you and your team on what the president was doing, watching tv, and not responding to all these calls from the hill as well as other calls from former advisers to do something and to come out and make a statement. joining us now is democratic congresswoman stacey plaskett of the virgin islands, impeachment manager. congresswoman, are you learning more information? was all this information already known to the impeachment managers as they prosecuted the case? >> sure.
9:32 am
i think some of this information is new. the specificity between different law enforcement agencies. but i think the general theme is correct. what we knew at the time and what we presented to the senate as well. and i think it's just really expounding on the case that we presented, particularly the reluctance of the minor leagu -- highest levels of the federal government executive branch and our president in activating the national guard and how that was detrimental and really, you know, caused severe damage to the capitol police who were fighting on their own and did not have the support of the president or the national guard to be able to do it. but i think it's really also shown some structural issues that are related to the district of columbia, their quest for statehood, as well as problems within the capitol complex itself.
9:33 am
>> clearly that is the case. they or about to resume. congresswoman, one more question quickly. as a former prosecutor, what question would you be asking these witnesses? >> oh, of course i would love to see their phone records. i'd love to see the specifics of who they called, what their email traffic looked like. you know, for an individual to say that an fbi report had a warning and was sent by email was not something that they looked at or warranted an extra phone call on the part to determine the extent of that is troubling. so, you know, as we go on, i'd love to form late more questions and let you know, andrea. i'm sure you have your own. you can do some probing questions yourself. >> thanks so much, congresswoman. we appreciate that. and we return to the hearing. >> -- achieve the goal. did you get that fbi
9:34 am
intelligence report? >> so i addressed that when we started. the united states capitol police department did get that report. i was just advised of that in the last 24 hours. that report made it from the yoint terrorism task force over to our intelligence bureau, to a sergeant there, and ceased moving forward at that point. no leadership, myself included, over at capitol police was made aware of that at the time of the event. >> so there is -- you've referred in your testimony to the individual who is the head, john donahue, the director of intelligence on the u.s. capitol police, and did he receive that report but he did not pass that on to you as head of the uscp? >> again, i have no knowledge he received that report. i'm told it went to an official of the rank of sergeant and didn't move any further from there. >> okay. that's very concerning.
9:35 am
were there not procedures for the head of the intelligence on the u.s. capitol police to get the intelligence report, to review it? especially when there were significant other indications of potential violence and make sure that you, as the leader, had that knowledge on which to develop additional plans if additional plans were needed? >> i'm sure that's something they're looking at in their current after-action. there's a process for it. but, again, that's, as i mentioned before, that was raw intelligence that was coming in, and again, taking into consideration with everything else, none of the other intelligence was showing we were looking at this type of a broad insurrectionist type of event with thousands of armed, coordinated individuals. >> i know you're saying that the folks are looking at that now. but my question was, did you have a procedure for important intelligence to be brought directly to your attention? and did that system break down? that's why you did not see the warnings about blood being
9:36 am
spilled, get violent, be ready to come and die. >> yes. there is a process in place to make sure that critical, important information is brought up to the leadership. again, that was something that would have gone through the development and the analysis of that information. >> okay. so you're saying the intelligence side of u.s. capitol police failed to get that into your hands. let me turn to rules of engagement. officer are out there and there's an expanded perimeter you've referred to, and you have those kind of perimeter fence that look like bike racks. in a normal situation, those tell peaceful protesters this is where you stop. was there any sort of discussion or training about what to do if protesters started picking those things up and opening holes in that perimeter? what were the rules of engagement? if i'm a police officer, that day on the line, for the capitol police, how was i -- was i trained, like, what do i do when
9:37 am
those perimeter fences are breached? do i use spray, tear gas, stun, agains? do i have a clear sense of how i'm supposed to respond? >> yes, there is rules of engagement. there's use of force policy and also civil disobedience training that has to do when you have a noncompliant group, how you deal with noncompliance and gaining compliance, which would include hand control techniques, the application of chemical spray and impact weapons. >> so on that day you issued rules of engagement that included what, specifically? if i'm an officer, what was i supposed to do if those barricades were breached? >> there's rule, rule that exist. they didn't exist just that day. >> they don't vary from event to event based on threat analysis? >> no, sir. >> so that perimeter, you said it got larger, which meant police officers were spread out over a larger area. once it was breached, what are the directions to the police on
9:38 am
the team to be able to retreat to a defensible point? >> so what we had is we had what's called an incident command system established. you have an incident command for the exterior, the resources on the exterior of the building, that would provide those officers, cdu units with specific directions on where to go, what's the next step, retreat up to the upper west terrace, which i believe is what they were told to do, as well as a system inside the building handling the joint session and activities going on inside. >> so i'm out at v at the plaza and the crowd swarms past me. i have a designed place to retreat to that is defensible. the incident commander would be providing direction to people in the field on where to retreat to make the next stand. >> so no advance information. and how do you avoid the situation of those who are guarding a door, closing and locking a door, and leaving police officers stranded outside of that locked perimeter?
9:39 am
>> so your question, how do you prevent that? >> how do you prevent that? if you've got folks who are guarding a door and protesters are trying to get through it so they're trying to lock that and prevent it and there isn't a preplan for how to deal with officers who are stranded outside of those doors, how is that handled? do you have drills or set instructions on that? >> again, that's something i would look for the i don't know site incident commander to supply those officers with directions where to relocate to. >> let me put it this way. have you ever held a drill to respond to this situation where a crowd pushes past the exterior barricades? >> not this level of situation, no, sir. >> to what level have you had such drills? >> we've done various exercises with people, you know, activities on the grounds, civil disobedience training, how to handle riotous groups. >> thank you. i'm going to turn seconds left
9:40 am
to our former sergeant at arms for the senate. mr. stinger, at the time that we were in the senate chamber and the protesters, the rioters reached the perimeter of the senate, there was a very quick rush to try to lock the doors, and there were people searching for how do you lock these, and many entrances on the balcony. has there been a drill with the sergeant at arms team or in partnership with the capitol police on how to secure the doors to the chamber as a last point of defense? >> yes, sir. at least once a year they hold a chamber action drill where they would work together with the capitol police to do a lockdown so they know how to -- when they should lock down and when -- >> so that is done as an actual drill where people have to run, get the keys, lock the doors?
9:41 am
they know what doors are supposed to be guarded, from the inside or outside and so forth? >> yes, sir. >> and when was the last such drill of that nature conducted? >> we try to do it once a year. >> okay. i think i'm out of time. thank you very much to the chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator scott, you're recognized. >> thank you, chairman. first off, i want to thank everybody for your hard work. we have national guard here since around the 6th. can you all tell us how you made the decision to bring the national guard here, each of you, if you were involved or not involved, how the decision was made? the national guard presence we have here now as a result of the riot but the national guard has put up the fencing and all that.
9:42 am
>> okay. so that was that began to be developed the evening of the 6th when we made the request. we got the national guard in. we started looking to the future, what was going to be next. we started talking about bringing in the first section of global fencing, which basically went right around capitol square, constitution, independence, first. we had that in place and started looking at what national guard resources working with the national guard representative. that was developed with capitol police working with sergeant at arms at the time, in the evening going into the 7th that we developed that. >> okay. were you the only one involved or was the sergeant at arms involved? >> i believe so. i'd have to go back and pull that information. we were working on different aspects of it at that time. i had my people working on the request and the coordination with the national guard. >> what was the purpose of the original -- the national guard that came and put up the fencing, what was the rationale,
9:43 am
the threat assessment? >> so, when -- just making sure i understand, you're talking about the national guard that came on the 6th? >> no. the presence after. >> the ones that stayed after. what was the threat assessment? >> what was the threat assessment? why was it set up that they would be here for, you know, it seems like now months on end? >> again, beyond, you know, the 8th, my departure date was the 8th so the information i have is up until the 8th. they were putting them in place based on the mass insurrection that we had on the 6th. i wasn't awe are of any additional intelligence at that point. they were just concerned about possible violent extremists regrouping and staging another attack on the capitol. >> you haven't seen anything that we need a concern for the national guard to be present. you haven't seen anything. >> no, sir. i've been really not in that environment since the 8th. >> okay.
9:44 am
anybody else that -- any of the others here to testify, do you have any -- do you have any the threat assessment you've seen there's a reason we have the national guard here today? threat -- is that a no from everybody? no one has any idea wye we have the national guard here? >> this is chief contee. my guess is in response to all the things that have happened, but to your question specifically about specific intelligence, i have not seen anything that would suggest that. >> are you involved in the decision of why the national guard is here? >> no, sir. i was not. >> and they've not shared any threat assessment with you at all with regard to why the national guard is here? >> that has not been shared with me, no. >> does that surprise you?
9:45 am
>> i can't say i'm really surprised. quite frankly, we have talked about the -- we have talked about intelligence in terms of, you know, what we expect to see in the city. there are several law enforcement calls that take place between metropolitan police department and other federal partners. but the cleesz and that structure there is something that they're not behold on the mayor of the drusm or anything like that. we have if information we have, but i have not seen anything specifically from them that suggests it being the way it is now. i should add also, sir, obviously i think there needs to be a reimagining of the security posture. i'm not sure the answer is razor
9:46 am
wire and what we see. >> the former sergeant at arms, do you have any reason -- no one has given you -- you've not seen any information that would suggest that we have a threat, eminent threat that we need the national guard here? >> i have not. >> and i have not either. i resigned on the 7th and have been gone since, so i have no information. >> okay. so who would be making the decision that the national guard needs to to be here then? where would the threat assessment come from? does anybody know? >> maybe look at the current leadership over at maybe the capitol police in conjunction with the current sergeant at arms. >> okay. so it would be the head of the capitol police and the city and acting sergeant at arms. >> that is correct. to give you the current information on that. >> and would they coordinate with the metropolitan police?
9:47 am
>> well, if there was intelligence that would indicate the need for such activity, it would usually be shared with our partner, our local law enforcement would share on our borders. >> and if there was a threat out there, would that be -- would there be some public information they would put out normally? >> again, that all has to do with the nature of the threat, the classification level of the threat, but, again, that would be shared with law enforcement within the district of columbia through the joint -- jttf as well as the executive board for the jttf. >> i'm just -- i'm flabbergasted that not that you don't know now but there's no public information about why we have all these national guards here. does that surprise you? >> it's a significant security deployment. again, i believe it's based on the facts of what they've soon. you know, hindsight being what it is, the facts what occurred
9:48 am
on january 6th is unprecedented insurrection. >> yeah. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator hassen, you're recognized for your questioning. >> thanks, mr. chair, and thanks to all of the witnesses for being here today. i especially want to take a moment to acknowledge the heroism of the officers of the u.s. capitol police, law enforcement, and other employees at the capitol who bravely worked to protect our democracy on january 6th and have done so much work to restore our capitol since that day. i also want to thank all of the families of our law enforcement and capitol hill staff for what they went through watching this unfold in real time. i want to start with a question to chief contee, if i could. chief, washington, d.c., is obviously no stranger to large
9:49 am
assemblies and protests. so what is the standard process for protests in washington, d.c., when it comes to interagency coordination and information sharing? and following the events of january 6th, what recommendations do you have for improving coordination and information sharing? >> thank you for the question. there are several discussions, meetings that take place between the municipal police department as well as our federal partners. we oftentimes have coordination calls with the national park service because federal lands, they authorize the permits for federal lands. so there's coordination that has to happen there between the metropolitan police department, u.s. park police, capitol police, u.s. secret service, with respect to the intelligence
9:50 am
of the fib, they or often a part of those discussions. i think that the thing ebb going forward that certainly needs to be looked at with respect to specific intelligence has been outlined throughout needs to be different, the jttf distribution risks that we have is not something that is a monitored list, a 24 hours a day, seven days a week that would generate an immediate response to that. when those communications are sent out they are staff members who at some point will get to that information but i think that, again, that has been laid out, you know, we're talking about something of this magnitude that could potentially happen and ultimately did happen in our city, it should posture
9:51 am
us to move differently, perhaps with phone calls immediately and not counting on an email or something, making it through the chain, to the levels that need to make -- decisions to be made. >> thank you for that answer, one of the things i would observe is sometimes ahead of events like these, just scheduling ongoing check-ins with leadership at all of the agencies that need to coordinate can have the effect of sharing information in realtime. i want to move to a question to mr. irving and mr. sund. the secretary of homeland security has the authority to designate events with national and international significance as national special security events. but that didn't happen for january 6th, even given the threat information readily available ahead of time. designated events are eligible for expanded federal support related to the security of the events.
9:52 am
so prior to january 6th did anyone from the department of homeland security contact you about a potential national special security event designation? and we'll start with you, mr. sund, and then move to the others. >> thank you, ma'am. no, i am not aware of anyone from dhs reaching out, if we were going to request that to be a national security event or if they were going to identify and designate what they call a special event rating to the event, no, i'm not aware. >> thank you, mr. stanger and mr. irving. >> no one contacted me. >> thank you. >> and the same with me, senator, no contact with me or my office. >> thank you for those answers. i look forward to following up with the department of homeland security about this during the next hearing on this topic. mr. sund, my last question, the officers of the capitol police work each and every day to keep
9:53 am
the u.s. capitol safe and secure. we are all grateful for the brave work of the u.s. capitol police officers on january 6th. tragically the law enforcement community has now lost two officers to suicide since january 6th as a result of the insurrection and the events then. my thoughts, and i'm sure the thoughts of all of us here today are with the families of mpd officer smith and u.s. officer howard libengood. what resources are available and are these resources sufficient? >> the department has brought in significant mental health services. i appreciate your recognition of that. i've talked to a number of officers who have definitely gone through the battle and feel that they're feeling a lot of trauma from it but i know the chief of police, the acting chief has brought in significant resources, the employee assistance program and they brought in a number of outside
9:54 am
contractors that have gotten very good response. i think there's a lot of mental health resources available and i know a number of officers are taking advantage of it, which i'm happy to see. >> so am i, and i would encourage all officers who feel that they could benefit from counseling to reach out for it and i would certainly encourage, and i'm sure my colleagues here would too, that all leadership in law enforcement reach out to us if they feel the resources are strained or need bolstering in some way. thank you all for your service, thank you very much for your testimony and for being here today, to the chair and ranking members of our respective committees, thank you so much for organizing this hearing. >> thank you, senator hassan. the chair now recognizes senator hawley for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to begin by saying a special thank you and a special acknowledgment to captain
9:55 am
mendoza who shared her testimony earlier today, earlier this morning. captain mendoza is a native of missouri, and an alumna of park university, if memory serves, and i just want to say to her, i want to thank her for being here today but also for her incredible bravery and courage on january 6th, and on behalf of the entire state of missouri i want to say thank you for what you have done, thank you for what you represent. and i also want to take that opportunity to say, again now as i said on the night of that terrible day, thank you to all of the law enforcement from all of our various branches who responded in this dire emergency to face these criminal rioters, these violent criminals to repulse them from the capitol and to secure this space so that the work of congress could continue. so thank you, and a special thanks to captain mendoza from the state of missouri. mr. sund, if i could just return to the question about the national guard activation. i just -- i'm a little bit
9:56 am
confused about the timeline here. i want to ask you, and mr. irving some questions so i can get this clear in my own head. i'm looking at your written testimony. you testified that you spoke with mr. irving at 1:09 -- actually both of the sergeants at arms at 1:09 p.m., and i understand there was a little bit of dispute about the timeline here. but you do say that mr. irving advised you that he needed to run it, namely the request to the national guard. he needed to run it up the chain of command. have i got that right? >> that is correct, sir. >> mr. irving could i just ask you that when mr. sund says you needed to run it up the chain of command, to whom were you referring there? >> senator, i do not recall a phone call at 1:09 when i was on the floor of the house during the electoral college session. my phone records do not reflect a telephone call at that time. and had i received a call at
9:57 am
that time i had everyone with me. i had mr. stanger, the leadership. we would have approved it immediately. so i have no recollection of that call, and neither do i have a record of it. >> you say, i think, that you spoke with mr. sund later, at approximately 1:30. is that right? >> that is correct, after i left the floor. and on that call he'd indicated to me that conditions were deteriorating and that he might be making a request at a later time. >> okay. and did you then say that you needed to run it up the chain of command or words to that effect? >> no, not to my recollection. i notified leadership and i went to michael stanger's office to receive updates from mr. sund as to conditions outside and to determine whether he needed to make a request or not. and when the request was made shortly after 2:00 we approved it. >> and when you say we, who's we, we approved it?
9:58 am
>> i was in michael stanger's office, so next to mr. stanger. >> and so you did not consult congressional leadership, you weren't waiting at any point for input from congressional leadership. is that your testimony? >> i advised them, as we would do with many security protocols. >> but you weren't waiting for their -- at any point, there was no delay, you're saying, in getting national guard request, because you didn't at any point actually wait for the input of the speaker or the majority leader or anybody else. >> no, absolutely not. >> mr. sund, is that your recollection? >> my recollection was at 1:09 i made a phone call, a phone call was made in the presence of, i believe, both my assistant chiefs and possibly my general counsel, at which time i made the initial request that we need to activate the national guard,
9:59 am
the situation's bad on the west front. i followed up at 1:22 to check on the status of the request. >> okay. one of the things i'm trying to get clear on here is who would constitute the chain of command. it sounds like mr. irving is saying he never made that statement and he didn't consult anybody else. my understanding is from the statute, 2 usc section 1970 that in an emergency situation, i would think this would qualify, that the capitol police board does not have to consult with members of the senate or house leadership in order to make a request for deployment of the national guard or a request of other executive departments and executive agencies. so it would seem strange to me that there was any talk about a chain of command that would involve anybody other than the capitol police board given the statute. but there seems to be some confusion about the basic facts and who asks for what when. let me ask you, mr. sund, on monday, january the 4th you
10:00 am
testified you approached the mouse and senate sergeant at arms to request the assistance of the national guard and mr. irving stated he was concerned about the optics of having the guard deployed. is that right? am i remembering that correctly? >> that is correct, sir, on the 4th. it wasn't a phone call, it was an in-person visit over to his office where i went and requested the national guard. >> mr. irving could you clarify when you used the term pop ticks, and maybe your recollection is you didn't, so maybe you can speak to that, did you talk about being concerned about the optics of the national guard, and then could you just elaborate on what you meant by that? again, this is monday, january the 4th now. >> yeah, on monday, january the 4th, senator, safety was always the deciding factor of making security plans, and the issue, the issue on the table was whether the intelligence warranted troops at the capitol. and the conversation with mr. sund was not, i did not take it as a request, he was merely informing me that he had received an offer from the ti

9 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on