As the protesters became an increasing threat to the Capitol on Jan. 6, Mr. Sund asked for more help from federal agencies and law enforcement agencies in the area. “He also lobbied the Board for authorization to bring in the National Guard, but he was not granted authorization for over an hour,” she said.
Two of the board members at the time of the attack have already resigned, Paul D. Irving, the House sergeant-at arms, and Michael C. Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms. The third member, J. Brett Blanton, the Architect of the Capitol, is still on the board. Mr. Blanton was nominated by Mr. Trump in December 2019 and confirmed by the Senate that same month. The chief of the Capitol Police serves in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity.
“In my experience, I do not believe there was any preparations that would have allowed for an open campus in which lawful protesters could exercise their first amendment right to free speech and at the same time prevented the attack on Capitol grounds that day,” Ms. Pittman said.
In the aftermath of the attack, many officers are suffering from PTSD, she said, “particularly after the loss of two of our officers directly and indirectly as a result of the events of January 6th.” Officers also have been an experiencing an increase in coronavirus infections.
During the briefing, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, Timothy P. Blodgett, also said it was “clear there was a failure of preparation,” citing poor communications and a weak perimeter defense of the Capitol.
“Whether it was insufficient or conflicting intelligence, lacking ability to translate that intelligence into action, insufficient preparation or an inadequate ability to mobilize partner agencies for immediate assistance, a series of events, once thought unfathomable, unfolded allowing our most sacred halls to be breached,” Mr. Blodgett said.
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