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A picture of disorganization: Analyzing Capitol Police’s failures on January 6

Lawmakers Thursday continued to assemble their picture of what went wrong on January 6. An internal watchdog testified about his ongoing review of U.S. Capitol Police, and shared his initial conclusions about why their defense failed that day after a pro-trump mob stormed the building. Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins has the report.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Lawmakers today continued to assemble their picture of what went wrong on January 6.

    An internal watchdog testified about his ongoing review of U.S. Capitol Police and shared his initial conclusions about why their defense of the building failed that day.

    Lisa Desjardins has that.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Blue sky above, dark security fencing still on the ground, Capitol Hill today focused on the most blistering report yet about its own security failure.

  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield:

    Simply stated, Capitol Police were overrun. They weren't prepared for an insurrection. And I lay blame at the feet of Capitol Police leadership.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In a virtual hearing, House members expressed dismay to the man whose report found broad problems within Capitol Police.

  • Michael A. Bolton:

    Those areas are intelligence, training, operational planning, and a culture change.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Michael Bolton, inspector general for the Capitol Police, has spent the past three months looking at the failures of January 6, when pro-Trump and anti-government rioters stormed the building, overpowering police, taking over the Senate chamber itself, and coming within footsteps of members of Congress.

    Five people died in the clash, including a Capitol Police officer. Two other officers involved died by suicide in the days after. Among the issues now revealed, riot shields, some shattered due to bad storage, and a ban from higher-ups on using some non-lethal weapons, like crowd-control grenades. Bolton said that cost police.

  • Michael A. Bolton:

    It certainly would have provided the department a better posture to repel these attackers. It would put them in a better position.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Other issues, too few officers in place.

  • Michael A. Bolton:

    Certainly, the numbers that they had were not sufficient.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    An utter failure on intelligence and a need to shift its culture and mind-set.

  • Michael A. Bolton:

    We see that the department needs to move away from the thought and process of a traditional police department and a move to the posture of a protective agency.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Bolton is not releasing his full report because it contains sensitive security information. But he has made these summaries public, along with his more than 30 recommendations to the force.

    Many read like fundamentals of policing, like this one, that, in the future, Capitol Police prepare and stage equipment ahead of events, and this, that they provide training in how to better understand intelligence assessments.

    Overall, it is a picture of disorganization a force lacking clear roles, communication paths, and sometimes even operating procedure for key areas, like the Civil Disturbance Unit assigned to handle protests and riots.

    North Carolina Representative G.K. Butterfield summarized.

  • G.K. Butterfield:

    We have a lot of work to do.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That includes untangling January 6. Several committees are investigating. But there is so far no commission or higher-level review under way.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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