J Michael Waller / Center for Security Policy / April 16, 2021 – An internal US Capitol Police report confirms what the Center reported on its website three months ago: That the Capitol Police were unprepared, poorly organized, and poorly commanded before the January 6 attack.
This follows an FBI assistant director’s sworn testimony to a Senate investigative panel that a Center for Security Policy senior analyst’s eyewitness account “definitely” and “absolutely” is supported by the FBI‘s subsequent findings.
Center Senior Analyst J. Michael Waller and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) withstood sustained media attack after Johnson read Waller’s eyewitness account into the record of a Senate hearing that investigated the causes of the January 6 riot in which a few hundred radicals attacked the Capitol.
Capitol Police Inspector General findings confirm Waller’s eyewitness account
Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton found that the force, which is responsible for the physical security of the US Capitol building, complex, and members of both houses of Congress, was negligent, unprepared, and under poor leadership to do its job against organized, unarmed attackers.
Among the findings of Inspector General Bolton, as reported through various news leaks and Bolton’s congressional testimony:
- The Capitol Police Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU), whose job was to prepare for and defend against violent protests, has been disorganized, poorly trained, and poorly equipped for years.
- Capitol Police suffered from poor training, operational planning, and leadership.
- Capitol Police officers “actively find ways to circumvent getting assigned” to CDU.
- No official roster exists of officers assigned to the CDU.
- CDU had no leadership structure or staffing, and was plagued by poor communication.
- The Capitol Police “did not have adequate policies and procedures for CDU defining its responsibilities, duties, composition, equipment, and training,” the IG said.
- Upper level management were so poor that CDU officers often had no helmets, and sloppy storage caused gear to deteriorate to become useless.
- Capitol Police anti-riot policies were outdated, ignored, and even conflicted with one another.
- The intelligence reporting of the Capitol Police was incompetent and dysfunctional. (Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman was in charge of the intelligence unit up to January 6, but got promoted.)
- Intelligence reporting was often disorganized and contradictory.
- Capitol Police did not collect open source intelligence (OSINT), failed to integrate intelligence provided by the FBI, Secret Service, and Department of Homeland Security, and failed to provide shared secret intelligence to its command structure.
Waller’s January 6 observations, published January 13
Waller had no recent inside knowledge of the internal situation of the Capitol Police when he observed the events of January 6 but he made similar presumptions and conclusions that the Inspector General found to be true.
Waller did not have the details that IG Bolton provided to Congress, but his observations, published here on January 13 and in The Federalist on January 14, fairly anticipated what the Inspector General would find. Below are Waller’s points of the Capitol Police during the attack, with important items emphasized in bold:
- “Capitol Police anti-riot unit prepared early, but presence was light.”
- DC police and National Guard were also unprepared, as seen on Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue: “For such a massive event, police presence was light. District of Columbia police and a small group of DC National Guard had a relaxed demeanor, keeping a professional distance from marchers and other pedestrians as they usually do.”
- “The DC Metropolitan police were their usual professionally detached selves, standing on curbs or at street crossings and exchanging an occasional greeting from marchers, but treating the event as routine and at the lowest threat level.”
- At the West front of the Capitol: “When we crossed First Street NW to enter the Capitol grounds where the Capitol Police had jurisdiction, I noticed no police at all. Several marchers expressed surprise.”
- “. . . that appearance of low threat level made no sense. . . . no Capitol Police appeared anywhere from what we could see, and I commented on to my companion that it was very strange for there to be no police during a joint session of Congress – with or without a gigantic crowd.”
- “No police could be seen on the [presidential inaugural] platform for now. No police could be seen anywhere.”
- “The United States Capitol Police recruit a special kind of professional. They are sworn to defend one of the most important building complexes in the country, the US Capitol and its sprawling congressional office buildings. More importantly, their mission is to defend one of the three coequal branches of the federal government, literally upholding the Constitution…. Normally, the Capitol Police are excellent at communicating with crowds. Not today.“
- “I quietly wondered why so few police were present for a crowd this or any size.”
- “I had seen anti-riot police in action before. They moved with a decisive sense of purpose. Now, the Capitol Police crew seemed confused, as if without a leader or perhaps inadequate rules of engagement. These real professionals seemed directionless. Some clambered up and down the inaugural platform steps. Others milled back and forth at the swearing-in level. Most of the police ended up leaving the surreal scene. Nobody could tell why.”
- “No bullhorn or sound system could be heard for the police to communicate with the swelling mass of people. The tear gas changed the crowd’s demeanor. There was an air of disbelief as people realized that the police whom they supported were firing on them.”
- “… the lack of perimeter police presence, and the confused actions of those firing tear gas, flash grenades, and pepper balls from the presidential swearing-in platform, had me thinking that something was wrong at the command level.”
- “From out there on the lawn, a breakdown in police command and control was unthinkable.”
- Waller added in a January 13 Twitter comment, “They didn’t collect open-source intelligence on preparations for the January 6 attack on the Capitol. There’s no way they suddenly whipped up credible intelligence now. This is paranoid overreaction. I doubt it will ever again be the way it was on January 5.”