In his testimony, agreed with Capitol security officials that Pentagon leaders gave a tepid response to urgent pleas for aid during a 2:30 p.m. call on Jan. 6.
McCarthy was not on the call, according to Walker, even though others wanted him to be. Walker described that coordination as a stark contrast from the military’s response to civil unrest during racial justice protests over the summer, when McCarthy was in real-time contact with him about helping law enforcement.
Other officials who testified addressed the intelligence assessment that led Capitol security officials to dismiss the need for preemptive National Guard support. An FBI intelligence assessment sent on Jan. 5 by the bureau’s Norfolk Field Office, which described those descending on Washington as prepared for “war,” never reached top officials. And even if it had, they said, the information was largely culled from social media and was “raw” and “unverified.”
Nevertheless, Sund, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and Washington, D.C.’s acting Police Chief Robert Contee III said the bureau hadn’t sounded a significant alarm about the intelligence that might have elevated it to their attention.
FBI Director Christopher Wray offered his agency’s timeline of events on Tuesday. Wray agreed that the intelligence was “uncorroborated” and said it underscores the challenge for investigators seeking to separate social media hyperbole from actionable information.
Jill Sanborn, FBI assistant director for counterterrorism, added additional details about the FBI’s response to the Jan. 6 assault, telling lawmakers that FBI tactical teams helped respond to reports of explosive devices placed near the Republican and Democratic Party headquarters that day.
Sund and other Capitol security officials have said the intelligence warnings they received in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 attack didn’t support the need to line up a significant National Guard presence.
Rather, they said, the available intelligence suggested that the volume of protesters would resemble turnout in November and December, when pro-Trump rallies sparked spasms of violence but were ultimately contained. Never, those former Capitol security officials said, did they anticipate an organized, coordinated assault on the legislative branch that would overwhelm the 1,200 officers on-site and result in a breach of the building.
The hearing Wednesday came as Sund’s successor at the helm of the Capitol Police, Pittman, urged lawmakers for a $70 million increase in her department’s budget to respond to the gaps revealed by the insurrection. She said she’s seeking funds to revamp the department’s intelligence-sharing technology and to confront sharply rising threats against lawmakers, which have spiked more than 93 percent in the last year.
Pittman also described significant resources being afforded to officers affected by the Jan. 6 assault, including counseling for them and their families, hotel stays and hot meals.