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U.S. Capitol police officers were hampered by leadership decisions and equipment shortages that left the force ill-prepared to respond to the January 6 uprising, according to a new watchdog report that showed some advanced intelligence offered a “more alarming” warning ahead of today’s events.
The detailed 104-page review was launched by Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton in the wake of the January siege and was completed in March. NPR reviewed the report Tuesday ahead of its public discussion as part of a hearing on the House Administration Committee on Thursday.
Panel Chairman, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, called for the hearing after receiving a briefing from Bolton last month. Lofgren, D-California, said his findings “provide detailed and disturbing findings and important recommendations.”
Bolton’s review outlines a wide range of concerns, including inefficiency, that the Capitol Police face when it comes to a fragmented approach to intelligence tracking and lack of related training.
Prior to the uprising, the report said Capitol Police do not place sufficient emphasis on threat analysis and threat assessments. An analysis by the agency’s own intelligence department offered somewhat conflicting details before January 6, with one section offering what Bolton called “more alarming language” than another.
“Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. “This feeling of desperation and disappointment can lead to more incentive to become violent.”
It goes on to say, “Congress itself is the goal on the 6th.”
Bolton’s review also fails the Capitol Police for not prioritizing its Civil Disturbance Unit – also known as its CDU. The division plays a critical role in responding to such emergencies, but the majority of its officers had not completed the required annual training in the last few years, the report said.
“The USCP did not have adequate policies and procedures for the CDU that defined its responsibilities, duties, composition, equipment and training,” the report said. “The CDU operated at a reduced level of preparedness as a result of lack of equipment standards, deficiencies noted from the events of January 6, 2021, lapse of certain certifications, an inaccurate CDU list, personnel problems for the unit, quarterly audits not performed, and property stock that was not in line with equipment. ”
Current and former security leaders at the Capitol have defended their actions before and during the attack.
The New York Times reported on the Inspector General’s findings earlier Tuesday night following a CNN report on Bolton’s summary earlier this month.
The watchdog report also noted a number of management directives that it said ultimately put the police response back the day of the uprising, such as a decision on less lethal weapons and the lack of police access to critical equipment.
Officers were instructed by leaders not to use all available equipment on the day of the attack, such as smaller lethal weapons to disperse crowds. Bolton said an official also passed on that the Capitol Police do not use flashbangs like other police authorities.
Officers also reported protective equipment that was “cumbersome” and riot screens that shattered during shocks during the siege due to “either improper storage or the age of the shield.”
The watchdog report describes in detail more than a dozen recommendations, ranging from prioritizing its civilian disruption unit, addressing new training, lack of equipment, management communication failures, and centralizing intelligence efforts.
This and more will be a major focus for members of Congress as they continue to consider an additional funding measure to increase Capitol security.
Lawmakers have said public disclosure of the Bolton report is critical.
“This report will be an important step in better protecting the Capitol Complex,” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. – respectively the chairman and the ranked GOP member of the House Appropriations sub-panel overseeing the agency – it said in a joint statement last month.