A scathing report by the US Capitol Police watchdog obtained by CNN reveals that there were even more law enforcement failures prior to January 6 than previously known, including new details about expired ammunition, ineffective shields and a previously unreported warning more than two weeks ahead of the insurrection about a map of the Capitol’s underground tunnels that was posted on a pro-Donald Trump website.
These findings from the USCP Inspector General are included in the second preliminary report about the events surrounding the Capitol riot and suggest there were several longstanding issues that the department “either knew and did not address in time or did not address in a routine manner to prevent,” according to the summary obtained by CNN.
Specifically, the summary highlights significant problems with the department’s vigilance when it came to equipment maintenance, policies for the Civil Disturbance Unit, and handling of intelligence prior to the attack.
DHS warning about map of Capitol tunnels
The broader intelligence-related shortcomings described in the report are evidenced by a warning Capitol Police received from the Department of Homeland Security on December 21, 2020, but which it did not appear to fully utilize.
On that day, “the Department of Homeland Security notified the Department of a blog referencing tunnels on U.S. Capitol grounds used by Members of Congress and research of the website identified four ‘threads/blog topics containing comments of concern,’” the summary states.
“The report identifies the website as https://thedonald.win and includes several pages of comments posted to the website,” it adds.
The report goes on to expose, for the first time, a startling degree of indifference from Capitol Police leadership when it came to routine house-keeping items, such as failing to maintain an accurate roster of officers assigned to the Civil Disturbance Unit.
The summary notes the “CDU” roster listed 187 officers, two of which no longer worked for the Capitol Police on the day of the insurrection. The 187 officers listed is far lower than the 276 officers acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told Congress were active on January 6.
Further, the report points out Capitol Police leadership knew as far back as July 2020 the department needed to make significant changes, but inexplicably failed to do so.
The summary lists several examples, including a failure by the department to establish standard operating procedures for the Civil Disturbance Unit, highlighting a casual attitude toward the unit ultimately tasked with stopping the insurrection.
Expired ammunition and ineffective shields
Even equipment maintenance appeared to be a low priority. The summary shows the CDU shields were not stored in the correct temperature, rendering them ineffective, while some ammunition in the armory was expired.
In another example, the inspector general wrote that a department official told investigators officers receive training every three years as required by the manufacturer of a weapon carried by officers, however, the department did not have any formal directive ordering them to conduct the training.
On the day of the insurrection, CDU didn’t use all of its less-lethal options, such as a 40mm grenade launcher, 37mm grenade launcher, and Sting Ball grenades because of “orders from leadership.”
In the end, the unit was “operating at a decreased level of readiness,” due to the numerous failures, the report states.
The summary describes a lack of standards for the critically important intelligence gathering and assessment arm of Capitol Police and that the department failed to follow the few procedures it did have. For example, not all members of the intelligence division had top secret security clearances in their roles, “which could have resulted in the Department mishandling classified information,” and didn’t have a training program for all employees in the division.
The summary says that in the fall of 2020, the intelligence arm of Capitol Police was adjusted after it became clear the unit was “not meeting the demands of the Department.”
As the department prepared for what it believed would be a rally on January 6, conflicting intelligence proved problematic, according to the report.
“The explanation the OIG provides for this is astounding,” the summary says. “The ‘Bottom Line Up Front’ (BLUF) says they are tracking protest that may include some armed protestors and white supremacists, and the assessment 30 pages later is far more alarming, including that the conditions on the ground could ‘lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike.” CNN has previously reported the department’s intelligence division concluded threats of violence were ‘improbable.’
The summary lists 27 recommendations for corrections, including changing procedures to “refine document reporting that better captures operational impact to include improbable outcomes based on intelligence, trend data, threats to members, and information analysis.”
The USCP Inspector General is expected to testify on Capitol Hill next week about the report and his findings.
This story has been updated with additional information from the report summary.