Pelosi blamed everyone but herself. What a disgrace.
A report from House Republicans placed the blame on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the security failures on January 6.
The Republicans provide plenty of evidence showing Pelosi’s office’s tight grip on House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and the dysfunction within the Capitol Police (USCP).
Prior to that day, the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) had obtained sufficient information from an array of channels to anticipate and prepare for the violence that occurred. However, officers on the front lines and analysts in USCP’s intelligence division were undermined by the misplaced priorities of their leadership. Those problems were exacerbated by the House Sergeant at Arms, who was distracted from giving full attention to the threat environment prior to January 6, 2021 by several other upcoming events.
Specifically, the leader of the USCP Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division failed to warn USCP leadership and line officers about the threat of violence, despite the fact that IICD analysts gathered intelligence that clearly indicated a need for a hardened security posture. In fact, IICD’s leader—Julie Farnam—spent the weeks leading up to January 6, 2021 attempting to overhaul the division, including by reassigning expert intelligence analysts to new roles and creating new processes for synthesizing threat data. Information about planned protests and threats of violence were siloed and not properly analyzed and disseminated during this key period because of Farnam’s misplaced priorities. One IICD analyst testified to investigators: “That unit was disbanded by her almost on day one. We, at the time of January 6, we were not doing proactive searches of social media like we had been before. We were strictly reactive and responding to requests for information.” This is also substantiated by USCP’s own internal after-action report that was drafted in June of 2021.
Similarly, then-House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving—who served on the Capitol Police Board by virtue of his position—succumbed to political pressures from the Office of Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat leadership leading up to January 6, 2021. He coordinated closely with the Speaker and her staff and left Republicans out of important discussions related to security. As a critical member of the Capitol Police Board, the House Sergeant at Arms had an obligation to all Members, staff, and USCP officers to keep them safe by consulting stakeholders without partisan preference.
The Sergeant at Arms (SAA) reports directly to the Speaker even when the House is in session.
The SAA is supposed “to ‘maintain order under the direction of the Speaker and other presiding officers’ and ‘execute the commands of the House, and all processes issued by authority thereof, directed to the Sergeant at Arms by the Speaker.'”
Therefore, the Speaker directs the SAA. The Speaker and SAA, along with others, “routinely have meetings.” This happens even when the Republicans have control of the House, so it’s nothing new.
But the Republicans noted this situation is novel because we have a “Speaker who denies the relationship and ignores her office’s obligation to secure the Capitol, perhaps in an effort to shift blame.”
Then the Republicans outlined how Pelosi’s office “micromanaged the Sergeant at Arms” before and during the Capitol Hill riots.
It included communications with Terri McCullough, Pelosi’s chief of staff. They left Republicans out of meetings that covered security issues despite Irving requesting their presence.
To cover up that fact, Irving told a senior Democratic staffer to act surprised to any of the changes made for January 6 when he sends the plans to the staffer’s Republican counterpart.
“As demonstrated, the HSAA had a pattern and practice of seeking and obtaining permission from the Speaker for all security decisions,” wrote the Republicans. “This delayed the request for help from the National Guard.”
USCP Chief Steven Sund requested additional National Guard assistance before January 6, but no one approved because of “optics.” Optics are more important:
Later in the report, General James McConville is quoted at length, saying “the general feeling of all those involved [with approving the D.C. RFA] was that the military would have no role, and many people talked about the optics of having military at the Capitol.”
Concerns about the optics of military personnel close to the Capitol were shared by Democratic staff in the House of Representatives. On January 5, 2021, a Democratic staffer on the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee emailed Irving about the placement of National Guard troops. The Democratic staffer said, “I only ask to be ahead of any members who might question a photo or live tv shot that shows National Guard with the Capitol dome in the backdrop.”
The March 2022 GAO report states that USCP officers expressed various concerns related to the use of force at the Capitol, including “a concern with optics by leadership” and “several respondents stated that the concern with optics was related to leadership’s perception of the desires of Members of Congress.”
The July 30, 2021 USCP OIG report also notes that “Several officers stated that they were deployed without all of their equipment because of ‘optics.’” Another officer explained that “at one point in the morning of January 6, they witnessed a USCP Captain ask another officer why they were wearing their helmet and carrying their PR24 baton, ordered the officer to take them off, and said it was ‘not the image we want to portray.’” Similarly, another officer told investigators, “there was a debate in [Civil Disturbance Unit] on January 6 about hard gear and ‘the officials stated there is going to be media so we don’t want you in hard gear.’”
They knew of the security risks and threats. They knew.DONATE
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