Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies before a joint Senate hearing on Homeland Security, Government Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration on February 23, 2021 in Capitol Hill, Washington, DC to discuss the April 6 attack on the Capitol Investigate January.
Andrew Harnik | AFP | Getty Images
The former head of the U.S. Capitol Police will tell Congress that he asked Senate and House NCOs on Jan. 4 to request the National Guard to attend a joint congressional session two days later for protection.
Both officials effectively rejected this request from then-chief Steven Sund, which came from a group of supporters of then-President Donald Trump two days before the Capitol uprising on January 6. This emerges from a copy of the testimony that Sund is expected to give a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Sergeant at the time Paul Irving “stated that he was concerned about the” optics “of the presence of the National Guard and did not feel that the secret service supported it,” said Sund in his prepared testimony.
“He referred me to the Senate Sergeant at Arms [Michael Stenger] … to get his thoughts on the request, “wrote Sund.
“I then spoke to Mr. Stenger and asked the National Guard again. Instead of approving the deployment of the National Guard, however, Mr. Stenger suggested that we ask them how quickly we could get support if necessary and lean forward if necessary . Ask for help January. “
Sund resigned in mid-January after the uprising that killed five people, including Capitol cop Brian Sicknick, and for hours disrupted confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win for the presidency.
Stenger does not directly address Sund’s claim in his own briefly prepared testimony, which does not discuss in detail the events that led to the uprising.
Senate Sergeant Michael Stenger walks the halls of the U.S. Capitol in front of the Senate Chamber during a pause in the impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump on January 22, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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Stenger resigned Jan. 7 after Senator Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., who is now majority leader, said he would fire him once the Democrats take majority control of the Senate.
But Irving says in his own prepared testimony that he and other Capitol security officials expected the scheduled January 6 and demonstration in Washington and the Capitol to be a “First Amendment” event.
“Intelligence reported that some groups were encouraging protesters to be armed, that violence was an option as it was in November and December, and that Congress would be the focus,” said Irving, who also resigned shortly after the uprising .
But he added, “The intelligence service was not that there would be a coordinated attack on the Capitol, nor was it considered in any of the inter-agency discussions I attended in the days leading up to the attack.”
Irving said he spoke with Sund and Stenger on Jan. 4 about an offer from the National Guard to include 125 unarmed troops in the security plan to provide transportation near the Capitol with the expectation that those troops would be Capitol police officers would be released in the Capitol. “
Irving also said: “Certain media reports have determined that the ‘optics’ determined my judgment about the use of these National Guard troops. That is categorically wrong.”
“‘Looks’ as portrayed in the media did not determine our security posture. Security has always been paramount in our January 6th security assessment,” said Irving.
“We discussed whether the Secret Service justified having troops in the Capitol, and our collective judgment at the time was no – the Secret Service didn’t justify that. The Secret Service justified the plan prepared by Chief Sund.”
House NCO, Paul D. Irving, right, and Chief Administrative Officer of the House, Phil Kiko, say during the House Appropriations Legislative Subcommittee hearing titled “House Officers FY2021 Budget” on Tuesday, April 3rd. March 2020, in the Capitol.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Irving said during his meeting with the other two security chiefs on January 4th, “We agreed that Chief Sund would ask the National Guard to have the 125 troops available as reserves.”
“If I had thought for a moment that the secret service required the presence of 125 unarmed National Guard troops for the transport service … I would not have hesitated to do whatever was necessary to ensure their presence,” said Irving.
“In addition, Chief Sund, the Senate sergeant at Arms Stenger, or one of the law enforcement officers involved in the planning had concluded that January 6th, the intelligence service requested the National Guard or some other resource (or that the security plan in some way too came briefly) I would not have hesitated to ensure the presence of the National Guard or make any other changes necessary to ensure the security of the Capitol. “
He added, “Our ultimate need for the National Guard was very different from that of unarmed transport troops.”
Irving also said that Sund gave a briefing on Jan. 5 in which the then chief of police “emphasized that” hands on deck “were and described the assets of the law enforcement and contingent National Guard that would be on call.”
“Like Chief Sund, based on the intelligence and extensive use of law enforcement resources, I mistakenly believed we were prepared,” Irving said.
“As we now know, the security plan for the unprecedented attack on January 6th was not sufficient.”