Former Capitol Police Chief Sund said that a pre-Jan. 6 intelligence assessment suggested that Antifa, Proud Boys, and extremist groups would partake in the Jan. 6 event in Washington.
“The assessment indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, Antifa, and other extremist groups were expected to participate in the January 6th event and that they may be inclined to become violent,” said former Chief Steven Sund in a written statement (pdf) to the Senate.
It added that an “intelligence assessment indicated that the January 6th protests/rallies were ‘expected to be similar to the previous Million MAGA March rallies in November and December 2020, which drew tens of thousands of participants,” adding that faulty intelligence was to blame for the outmanned Capitol defenders’ failure to anticipate the riots.
Accused Capitol rioter John Sullivan, a self-styled Antifa activist, was arrested and charged in connection with the breach. Sullivan previously told The Epoch Times that he’s apolitical but has told other news outlets that he is Antifa or anti-fascist. Antifa is a far-left, anarcho-communist network that has engaged in violence across the country in recent years. Sullivan has also been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, though he’s been disavowed by the leader of Black Lives Matter Utah.
Sund and other officials attempted to blame various federal agencies—and each other—for their failure to defend the building as demonstrators overwhelmed security barriers, broke windows and doors, and sent lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers.
But Sund told senators on Tuesday that the incident wasn’t his agency’s fault.
“No single civilian law enforcement agency—and certainly not the USCP—is trained and equipped to repel, without significant military or other law enforcement assistance, an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent, and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” he testified.
And he argued that the incident was “coordinated,” adding that some rioters had “climbing gear.”
“I’m able to provide you a quick overview of why I think it was a coordinated attack. One, people came specifically with equipment. You’re bringing in climbing gear to a demonstration. You’re bringing in explosives. You’re bringing in chemical spray … you’re coming prepared,” Sund told the senators.
“The fact that the group that attacked our west front [did so] approximately 20 minutes before [former President Trump’s rally] ended, which means that they were planning on our agency not being at what they call ‘full strength,’” Sund added. He noted that alleged pipe bombs found near the Republican and Democratic party headquarters in the District of Columbia were likely used to distract officers from being deployed at the Capitol building.
Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee III told the Senate panel that rioters were using radio communication and hand signals.
A second hearing, expected next week, will examine the response of the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.
The panels may also hold closed-door interviews. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee, said they might want to ask for phone records to clear up some of the discrepancies between officials.