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The U.S. Capitol Police union, two years after a deadly riot at the seat of the federal government, is still searching for answers from senior leaders and added that the force remains woefully unprepared for a similar incident as the riot that took place there on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
The statement came after Republicans took control of the House and dismantled the so-called Jan. 6 Committee set up by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“First, how could we have been so unprepared given the intelligence USCP had weeks ahead of the attack?” asked Capitol Police Officers’ Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou. “Second, why hasn’t anyone at the top of USCP’s leadership responsible for these intelligence failures been held accountable?”
The outlet noted further: “More than 140 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police officers sustained injuries during the breach of the Capitol, with one dying of natural causes after sustaining injuries on January 6 and four more committing suicide following the event. The release further cited Capitol Police’s receipt of intelligence reports about an upcoming effort to storm the Capitol and did little to prepare for such an occurrence.”
“What infuriates me, is knowing our leaders had intelligence that should have driven a massive security response,” Papathanasiou said. “If then Assistant Chief Pittman, who was in charge of intelligence, had shared that information, it would have allowed us to prepare properly, coordinate with partner agencies and the National Guard as the proper show of force would have been on display, and January 6th possibly would have turned out differently.”
“It’s our belief, the Capitol would not have been breached had the global fence been up and law enforcement been prepared,” he continued, adding that there are several officers coming up for retirement and that there is uncertainty about retaining those that remain with the force.
“First and foremost, the global fence that was already waiting to be erected for the coming Biden inauguration could have been in place before January 6th. It’s our belief, the Capitol would not have been breached had the global fence been up and law enforcement been prepared,” Papathanasiou added.
“Without that fencing, it was the courage and bravery of our officers who were able to hold the line long enough that day to safely evacuate the Vice President, the Congressional leadership, Members of Congress, and their staffs,” he noted further.
“Most USCP officers battled without the protection of riot gear. There is no excuse for USCP management to not have issued riot gear given the intelligence they possessed.”
“My biggest concern right now continues to be manpower. In his security review just months after the attack, retired General Russel Honoré called for hiring nearly 900 new officers above our authorized level,” the union boss continued.
“24 months later, we are still 200 officers below our authorized level as reported by the USCP. Although we currently have classes in the academy that will bring some relief, we are not properly staffed to meet the threats we’re facing along with the constant daily mission requirements,” he said.
This comes as Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been airing of previously unseen security footage, which showed police officers appearing to stand passively as a large crowd entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Carlson was provided access to some 40,000 hours of previously unseen surveillance video by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ky.), a move that was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said on Tuesday, according to USA Today.
The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police issued a memo to his staff last week following the airing of previously unseen security footage by Carlson.
Police Chief Tom Manger condemned the comments made during the airing of the footage on Carlson’s Monday night program, stating that it was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about the riot of January 6, 2021, when a group of people breached the U.S. Capitol building, causing disruptions to lawmakers who were in the process of certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.