by WorldTribune Staff, February 24, 2021
Intelligence collected prior to Jan. 6 indicated that Antifa, the Proud Boys, and other extremist groups planned to participate in the event at the U.S. Capitol, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said in Senate testimony.
“The assessment indicated that members of the Proud Boys, white supremacist groups, Antifa, and other extremist groups were expected to participate in the January 6th event and that they may be inclined to become violent,” Sund said in a written statement to the Senate.
Sund also confirmed that the breach of the Capitol building began well before President Donald Trump finished his speech on Jan. 6.
“The fact that the group that attacked our west front [did so] approximately 20 minutes before [former President Trump’s rally] ended, which means that they were planning on our agency not being at what they call ‘full strength,’ ” Sund said.
Sund, who resigned in the days after the Capitol riot, also noted that alleged pipe bombs found near the Republican and Democrat party headquarters in Washington, D.C. were likely planted as a means to distract officers from being deployed at the Capitol building.
Sund said that the incident was “coordinated,” adding that some rioters had “climbing gear.”
“I’m able to provide you a quick overview of why I think it was a coordinated attack. One, people came specifically with equipment. You’re bringing in climbing gear to a demonstration. You’re bringing in explosives. You’re bringing in chemical spray … you’re coming prepared,” Sund told the senators.
Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee III told the Senate panel that rioters were using radio communication and hand signals.
The testimony supports eyewitness accounts of a pre-planned, coordinated attack.
Writing for the Center for Security Policy on Jan. 13, J. Michael Waller noted:
The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol bore the markings of an organized operation planned well in advance of the January 6 joint session of Congress.
A small number of cadre used the cover of a huge rally to stage its attack. Before it began, I saw from my vantage point on the West Front of the Capitol, what appeared to be four separate cells or units:
1. Plainclothes militants. Militant, aggressive men in Trump and MAGA gear at a front police line at the base of the temporary presidential inaugural platform;
2. Agents-provocateurs. Scattered groups of men exhorting the marchers to gather closely and tightly toward the center of the outside of the Capitol building and prevent them from leaving;
3. Fake Trump protesters. A few young men wearing Trump or MAGA hats backwards and who did not fit in with the rest of the crowd in terms of their actions and demeanor, whom I presumed to be Antifa or other leftist agitators; and
4. Disciplined, uniformed column of attackers. A column of organized, disciplined men, wearing similar but not identical camouflage uniforms and black gear, some with helmets and GoPro cameras or wearing subdued Punisher skull patches.
Sund also testified: “On Monday, January 4, I approached the two Sergeants at Arms to request the assistance of the National Guard, as I had no authority to do so without an Emergency Declaration by the Capitol Police Board (CPB). My regular interactions with the CPB, outside of our monthly meetings regarding law enforcement matters, were conducted with the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms, the two members of the CPB who have law enforcement experience. I first spoke with the House Sergeant at Arms to request the National Guard. Mr. Irving stated that he was concerned about the ‘optics’ of having National Guard present and didn’t feel that the intelligence supported it.”
As the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules and Administration committees convened seeking information on the preparation and response to the Jan. 6 incident, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson asked Sund, “Do you regret resigning?”
“Yes, I do sir,” Sund responded. “I certainly do regret resigning. I love this agency. I love the women and men of this agency and I regret the day I left.”
Officials serving in the Pentagon at the time of the Jan. 6 incident will testify next week about their response to the Capitol breach and allegations that they slow-walked National Guard approval, Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced on Tuesday.