Political Scandals

Former Capitol Police Chief: 'Intelligence Was Botched' On Jan. 6

In a newly released book, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund details the "agonizing" memories and experiences he faced on Jan. 6, 2021.

Former Capitol Police Chief: 'Intelligence Was Botched' On Jan. 6
John Minchillo / AP
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It's been two years since the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and today the world sees a different picture, one of turmoil in American democracy coming from within the institution that insurrectionists overran two years ago.

But now Americans can reexamine the events that led to where we are from a different point of view.

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund was fired just days after the attack but details his experiences in a new book titled "Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6."

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Sund told Scripps News "it's tough to watch" the videos of what his officers and others faced as they fought back against thousands of rioters attempting to overturn Joe Biden's 2020 presidential election victory.

"The Metropolitan Police Department that came to help us, they went through hell that day," he said. "Many of the officers down there tell me they just want to get to Jan. 7 because it's [the Jan. 6 anniversary] that difficult for them."

Sund also detailed "begging and pleading" for support from the Pentagon but had to wait "three-and-a-half hours for the National Guard" to move in and assist from where they were stationed just blocks away.

"They were a half mile to two miles from my Capitol with 150 people with all their riot gear," Sund said. "And their leaders aren't telling them to come help me even though I'm begging and pleading and we've had a fatal shooting inside the building. That's unacceptable."

Despite his pleads for help, Sund says he was left sitting on the phone while the Pentagon was "tied up in politics" surrounding the events.

"They were concerned about the look and the optics of the National Guard on Capitol grounds, while they're seeing the same thing I'm seeing," he said. "That's absolutely unacceptable. We all swore an oath to defend the Constitution."

Washington has one specialty that has long endured — memorializing and coming together over a national trauma.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Democrats and Republicans stood together on the Capitol steps after the terrorist attacks and sang “God Bless America.”

But that unifying impulse has faded.

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Congress honored law enforcement officers who defended them and the U.S. Capitol, 23 months to the day after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

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On Friday's second anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, a moment of silence drew mostly Democrats, with brief remarks from Democratic leaders new and incoming — Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Hakeem Jeffries — and none from the GOP.

The event was focused on the Capitol Police officers who protected the building that day, and families of law enforcement officers who died after the riot.

At the White House, few Republicans were expected for a ceremony at which President Joe Biden will award Presidential Citizens Medals to a dozen state and local officials, election workers and police officers for their “exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens” in upholding the results of the 2020 election and fighting back the Capitol mob.

It’s all a far cry from Sept. 11, 2001, when lawmakers who had frantically evacuated the Capitol during the terrorist attack gathered there later in the day in a moment of silence and broke out in “God Bless America,” Republicans and Democrats shoulder to shoulder.

Today, the world sees a different picture, one of turmoil in American democracy coming from within the institution that insurrectionists overran two years ago.

The nation’s legislative branch is again at a standstill — not from violence this time but because of a tortuous struggle among Republicans over who should lead them, and the House itself, as speaker.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.