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Capitol Police watchdog to call for overhaul of intel collection

▶ Watch Video: Inspector general’s report slams U.S. Capitol Police failures ahead of January 6 riot

The watchdog for the U.S. Capitol Police will testify Thursday before a House committee that the department needs to overhaul its intelligence collection, operational planning and culture to ensure that mistakes made in the lead up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol building are not repeated in the future. 

Inspector General Michael Bolton is set to testify Thursday before the Committee on House Administration, where he will present findings from the first of two “flash reports” that assess U.S. Capitol Police’s preparation for and response to the breach of the Capitol.  

CBS News previously obtained Bolton’s first report, which cites multiple “deficiencies” and the department’s failure to disseminate intelligence it had as early as December 30 that suggested protesters at the Capitol “may be inclined to become violent.” That threat assessment was not included in the operational plan prepared by the Capitol Police’s Civil Disturbance Unit that was finalized on January 5, even though the threat assessment was finalized on January 3  

Bolton will testify Thursday that an official who testified about the preparation of the plan “admitted it was most likely an error on their part,” but other Capitol police officials had not even seen the updated threat analysis – a reflection of the poor intelligence sharing within the agency. 

In this January 6, 2021, file photo, U.S. Capitol Police push back rioters trying to enter the U.S. Capitol in Washington. 

Jose Luis Magana / AP

“We did not design or intend our reports to cast blame on any one individual or group,” he will say, pointing to a broader spectrum of problems. “USCP failed to disseminate relevant information obtained from outside sources, lacked consensus on the interpretation of threat analyses, and disseminated conflicting intelligence information regarding planned events for January 6, 2021.” 

Another example previously reported by CBS News includes the case of an intelligence bulletin prepared by the FBI’s Norfolk division which warned of the “potential for violence…in connection with a planned ‘Stop the Steal’ protest on 6 January 2021.” 

A Capitol Police agent embedded with the FBI retrieved this memo between 7 and 8 p.m. on January 5 and emailed it to the USCP Intelligence and Operations Section, but it was not widely disseminated until after the Capitol was breached on January 6 and both former USCP Chief Steven Sund and acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told the inspector general they did not see the bulletin prior to January 6.  

Bolton will tell lawmakers that the Capitol Police ” did not have policies and procedures in place that communicated which personnel were responsible for operational planning, what type of operational planning documents its personnel should prepare, nor when its personnel should prepare operational planning documents. Additionally, USCP lacked guidance requiring that its various entities coordinate their planning efforts into a comprehensive plan.” 

His office is recommending that Capitol police  overhaul their intelligence functions and place them into a single intelligence bureau with a formal training program that includes guidance on how to collect, process and report information, including a 45-day action plan to address deficiencies.   

The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that it “welcomes” the review and recommendation and has already worked to create a streamlined comprehensive intelligence sharing process. 

The inspector general will also recommend improved training and incentives for officers to join the Civil Disturbance Unit, which is generally regarded as more a more hazardous assignment, as well as better safety inspections to ensure the unit is not using expired munitions or riot shields that have been compromised because they are not being stored in a temperature-stable climate.  

Other recommendations from the inspector general include staging non-lethal weapons prior to large events and increasing the number of less-lethal weapons for the unit.  

Capitol Police said it was “working diligently” to replace aging equipment prior to January 6, but that those efforts were hampered by manufacturing and shipping constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Their statement also said they had secured additional specialized training for civil disturbance officials and significantly increased the number of personnel trained in chemical munitions in 2020, but that they are working to obtain even more training.  

But even as the department said it agreed with many of the recommendations from the inspector general and from a separate task force studying the January 6 attack helmed by retired Lieutenant General  Russel Honore, the department warned, “it is important to note that nearly all of the recommendations require significant resources the Department does not have.” 

Michael Kaplan contributed to this report.  



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