Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Capitol security chiefs say they didn't receive FBI memo warning of Jan. 6 "war"

The now-former officials responsible for Capitol security on Jan. 6 testified Tuesday that they did not receive an FBI threat report warning that extremists were planning to travel to Washington to commit violence and "war."

Why it matters: The testimony by former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger came during the first in a series of congressional oversight hearings that will examine the security and law enforcement failures that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

  • "We owe it to the American people to figure out how the United States Capitol, the preeminent symbol of democracy around the world, could be overtaken by an angry, violent mob," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Rules Committee, said in an opening statement Tuesday.
  • All three security officials resigned in the wake of the insurrection. They testified alongside acting D.C. police chief Robert Contee.

Catch up quick: The FBI memo, first reported by the Washington Post, quoted extremist organizers online discussing specific calls for violence, including plans to fight, kick down doors and shatter glass. The memo quoted one organizer stating, "We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal."

What they're saying: Sund testified that he just learned in the past 24 hours that his department had received the report from the FBI on the evening of Jan. 5. Sund said a member of the intelligence division at USCP did review the memo — but that "it didn't go any further than that" and that Sund himself had not seen it.

  • Former Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger and former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving also testified that they did not receive the report ahead of the attacks.

The bottom line: All witnesses agreed in response to "yes or no" questions by Klobuchar that the Capitol siege was coordinated, involved white supremacists and could have been much worse.

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