U.S. Senate report puts spotlight on failures during Capitol attack

It pinpoints security missteps, leaves Trump’s ‘role’ unprobed

A Senate investigation of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has uncovered broad government, military and law enforcement missteps surrounding the violent attack, including a breakdown within multiple intelligence agencies and a lack of training and preparation for Capitol Police officers who were quickly overwhelmed by the rioters.

The report released on Tuesday is the first — and could be the last — bipartisan review of how hundreds of former President Donald Trump’s supporters were able to violently break into the Capitol that day, interrupting the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Sweeping changes

It includes new details about the police officers on the front lines who suffered chemical burns, brain injuries and broken bones and who told Senators that they were left with no direction when command systems broke down. It recommends immediate changes to give the Capitol Police chief more authority, to provide better planning and equipment for law enforcement and to streamline intelligence gathering among federal agencies.

As a bipartisan effort, the report does not delve into the root causes of the attack, including Mr. Trump’s role as he called for his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat that day. It does not call the attack an insurrection, even though it was. And it comes two weeks after Republicans blocked a bipartisan, independent commission that would investigate the insurrection more broadly.

“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” said Michigan Senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which conducted the probe along with the Senate Rules Committee.

The report details hours of calls between officials in the Capitol and the Pentagon as the then-chief of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, desperately begged for help.

It finds that the Pentagon spent hours “mission planning” and seeking multiple layers of approvals as Capitol Police were being overwhelmed and brutally beaten by the rioters.

The Senators also criticise the FBI and the Homeland Security Department for downplaying online threats and for not issuing intelligence bulletins that help law enforcement plan.

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