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Congressional report details security failures during U.S. Capitol attack

The first congressional report detailing what went wrong on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol was released on Tuesday. The 128-page bipartisan Senate document recounts significant intelligence and security failures leading up to and on the day of the attack - as well as a list of recommendations. Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to walk us through the details.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The first congressional report detailing what went wrong on January 6 was released this morning. The 128-page bipartisan Senate document recounts significant intelligence and security failures leading up to and on the day of the attack, as well as a list of recommendations.

    We will talk with one of the key senators behind the report.

    But, first, Lisa Desjardins is here with me now to walk us through it.

    So, Lisa, this report is representing views from both political parties, we know. So give us the gist of what it says.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's important. Let's get right to it.

    This focuses on the security failures of that day. First, one of the things it found was that Capitol Police did have the intelligence. They had seen numerous postings online about potential violence, including, "Bring a gun," for example, but that the police did not share that widely and did not make the correct assessment about how dangerous all those pieces were.

    Also, something I had not seen before, that the Pentagon, from interviews with the committee, the former defense secretary and former chief — chairman of the Chiefs of Staff there said — of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — said the Pentagon actually wanted to lock down D.C. two days before January 6 because they were so concerned, and that idea was rejected.

    Now, the National Guard, we know the problems in the communications there. The requests did not go through. And then, when the requests did go through the Pentagon, it was delayed. All of that led to a finding in this report that the National Guard did not arrive at the U.S. Capitol until after the Capitol itself was secured.

    There is a main — one of the 20 recommendations in this report that I think is most significant is that the Capitol Police be able to call on the National Guard on their own. Right now, Capitol Police is — are overseen as what some believe is an antiquated board of three people who are appointed by Congress. They are slow to act.

    And it's notable that — something that is not in this report, this report does not recommend any changes to that board's structure. And I know Capitol Police believe that they can't do their job better until that structure changes. Something else not in this report is President Trump and any role he played on that day.

    That's because the whole purview of this report was limited to security failures on that day. That was the goal.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    He is not mentioned by name.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But, Lisa, have any of the concerns that are outlined in this report been addressed so far? And what is thought to be the state of readiness right now at the Capitol?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Well, Capitol Police have responded to this report. And they say there was not actually intelligence that an attack was coming. They say they are trying to change their staffing, to kind of spread communications better in a way that will help them connect the dots more, better.

    But, otherwise, Judy, there is a fence still around the Capitol Building itself, but everything else systemically is about the same as on January 6. And the National Guard has now left. In addition, I have to say that the fencing and the future of security at the Capitol is unknown because lawmakers themselves have not decided how much they want to spend or how they want to do it.

    I think this report, what I'm saying is, lawmakers' own indecision is not just symbolic, but is a factor still in the still kind of oversight of the Capitol and the security problems there.

    One other issue Capitol Police have right now, Judy, it's not well-known, but I talk to many Capitol Police officers. I know some personally who have left since January 6. And many officers tell me that they are not just short-staffed, but very short-staffed. Even if the Capitol could open for health reasons, they say they don't have the personnel to do it. They're concerned.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That is certainly a reason to be concerned.

    Lisa Desjardins, thank you for your reporting.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We appreciate it.

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