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tv   CNN Newsroom With Kate Bolduan  CNN  March 3, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST

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so i believe that number could have made a difference. we could have helped extend the perimeter and helped push back the crowd. >> ms. sanborn and ms. smislova, last week we heard from former law enforcement officials who stated that a lack of intelligence reporting was the main reason for capitol police not being fully prepared for the january 6th attack. my question to you, yes or no, would you agree that the intelligence community failed to sufficiently identify the threat and warn the capitol police of a plat to breach the capitol, a plot that was planned in public and announced in advance in a number of open sources? >> i think this is on. i'll start. i wouldn't necessarily categorize it that way, sir, but i will tell you, i think you've heard us say before, there's not an agent that wouldn't want more tools in their tool box.
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there's not an analyst that wouldn't want more intelligence. the challenges are the immense amount of rhetoric out there, and what we're trying to separate is aspirational from intent and combine in, in order to get to that intent, we're really thinking about private communications and oftentimes encryption. i would say what we are faced with is the challenge of the amount of data and then really trying to find, because of the volume and because of private communications, intent that then would have given us the intelligence picture potentially to shed light on what some of the plans and intention, indicators and warnings, as our military folks might say. >> ms. smislova, quickly, please. >> i will defer to you, senator, your colleagues, other oversight entities to actually determine what went wrong on january 6th. i don't feel i'm empowered or have enough information to declare whether or not this is an intelligence r intelligence fail your. i do know, however, it was not a success, and we will do
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everything we can to make sure that what we know is better distributed and understood by our partners and to echo the bureau's point, we will also do more to better understand how we can identify the next steps that we see in social media with particular threat. >> clearly, we have to do a much better job. i'm sure this will be explored in deposition, in questioning from my colleagues here. chairwoman klobuchar. >> thank you very much, chairman. i want to start by asking you the same questions i asked our witnesses last week. based on what you know now including the recent justice department indictments, do you believe there's clear evidence that supports a conclusion that there was those who planned and coordinated the attack on the capitol on january 6? does everyone agree with that? yes? no? >> we are seeing indications
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from our charging documents of people that coalesced together and made plans. >> so everyone is a yes on this? anyone want to say if they're a no. i don't want to call on everyone. are you all a yes. >> yes, yes, ma'am. >> then would you agree that it involved whitee supremacists groups the planning? >> we're seeing a wide range of involvement and a lot left to be identified. >> does it involve white supremacists, that's what i'm asking. >> some, some. >> and was the event not planned by antifa? >> at this point we have not identified a specific individual that we've charged associating or self-identifying with antifa. >> thank you. would you all agree that what happened was a highly dangerous situation that had the potential to be much worse if it wasn't
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for the heroic actions of the front line officers? >> yes. >> yes. >> general walker, i'm going to start with you. i wasn't going to start here, but i am after what i just heard. chief contee said he was stunned at the response from the department of the army when former police chief sund requested assistance from the guard. what's your reaction to what conti said? were you frustrated on that call as well? >> yes, i was, senator klobuchar. i was frustrated. i was just as stunned as everybody else on the call. >> i understand, and correct me if i'm wrong, that with the national guard it's much better to prepare them and call them into action and have a plan, which i know -- i've heard from mr. salesses, that people tried to do, they called the chief, called the people and said you want to have the guard
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mobilized. there was a discussion between you and sund leading up to january 6 in which this was discussed. you didn't have a clear direction to have them mobilized. is that correct? >> yes, ma'am. i talked to chief sund on sunday. i talked to him saturday and sunday. we talk. we're friends. i've known him for a long time. so on sunday, i asked him, are you going to request d.c. national guard help? and if you do, i need it in writing, it has to be formal because the secretary of defense has to prove it. he told me he was not allowed to request the support. i asked him if he wanted me to share that, and he said no, i can't even ask you for the support, is what he told me. but he did say, but if i do call you, will you be able to support me. i said, yes, but i have to get approval from the secretary of the army and ultimately from the secretary of defense because it's a federal request. >> exactly. as we've heard from chief sund last week, he had been denied by the sergeant at arms, and that's
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a subject for last week. but the subject for today is, given all that, and we know we would have been in much better shape if they had been called in ahead and had the authority. now we're to the day. it's 2:22. you're on the phone with them and you're asking for this authorization which you felt it was unusual to get, is that right? >> i thought the delay was unusual. so we were already in support of the metropolitan police department. and when the metropolitan police department left the traffic control points, what i wanted to do was take those guardsmen and move them to the capitol immediately. my logic was, we were still in direct support -- we would have been in support of the metropolitan police department who was supported the united states capitol police at that point. >> i just keep imagining the scene. the whole country, the whole world is seeing this on tv. you've got the police line breached at this moment.
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you have smashed windows. you have insurrectionists going through the police lines. you are on the phone, everyone is seeing this on tv, and they're not immediately app approving your request. in your recent testimony you just said, hey, i could have gotten them on those buses and ready to go. is that correct? >> that is correct, senator. >> as you just testified in response to senator peters, you believe that would have made a difference to have them at the perimeter at a sooner point. i know people in charge of capitol security felt the same. >> yes, ma'am. >> so you could have had them there earlier, hours earlier if it had been approved. then you had them on the bus, so they were sitting on the bus for a short period of time, right, waiting because you thought, well, they just got to honor the request. is that how your head was
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working. you actually put them on the bus, so they were ready to go. you couldn't let the buses go? >> yes, senator. i just came to the conclusion that eventually i'm going to get approval and ial at that point seconds mattered, minutes mattered. i wanted to be able to get them there as soon as possible. i had military police in front the bus to get them through any traffic lights. we were there in 18 minutes. i arrived at 17:20. they were sworn in as soon as they got there, and they made a difference, according to the capitol police. >> according to a lot of us. i just keep thinking of the hours that went by and the people who were injured and the officers whose lives were changed forever. a lot has been reported about the quick response force that was waiting at andrews air force base to be deployed to d.c. just in case.
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that force was set up as additional troops to support the guard's traffic control mission as needed. is that right? >> yes, ma'am. >> the quick response force couldn't be deployed immediately once the violence began because they were not outfitted for riot control. is that right? >> no, ma'am. they were outfitted. the quick reaction force was district of columbia air national guard, security forces squadron. most of those guardsmen are law enforcement officers in their civilian positions. so they were ready to go and they were outfitted with all the equipment that they needed. >> and they were out at andrews? >> they were at andrews. i took it upon myself to move them without permission. i just moved them to the armory so they would be closer as well. >> okay. who was on that conversation with you? you mentioned from the defense department? i know who was on there from the police and d.c.
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>> lieutenant general michael flynn. he was in charge of operations for the army. the director of the army staff was on the phone -- was on the call, lieutenant general pyatt, other senior civilian leaders from the united states army and other high-ranking general officers were on the call as well. >> okay. do you remember who was mostly talking about the optics, the questions that senator peters asked you and their concern about that? >> yes. during the phone call with the district of columbia leaders, the deputy mayor, chief sund, dr. rodriguez, who was talking about optics were general flynn and general pyatt. they both said it wouldn't be in their best military advice to advise the secretary of the army to have uniformed guards members at the capitol during the election confirmation.
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>> thank you. mr. salesses, could you explain why they would say such a thing? i know you were not on the call, and you were the one they sent here on behalf of the defense department. you were not on the call. so do you have any idea why this delay occurred when, as senator peters has well pointed out, it didn't occur in other incidences? >> senator, as you point out, i was not on the calls, any of the calls. >> we know that. that's why i spent my time talking to someone who was. >> right. however, senator, in preparation for the hearing, i have had the opportunity to talk to general walker. i've had the opportunity to talk to general pyatt and other general officers on the army staff. i've also had the opportunity to talk with secretary mccarthy in preparation for the hearing so i could understand the details. >> okay. so just if you could answer my questions, there's so many of my colleagues waiting.
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why this happened. >> general pyatt told me yesterday that he didn't say anything about optics. >> meaning he didn't use the word optics? are you saying general walker who just testified they were concerned about this is wrong or that -- >> general pyatt told me yesterday, senator, he did not use the word optics. >> i think that -- i'll let general walker answer this. i think what he's talking about is the general concern was that they were more concerned about how this would appear and it was in their best advice -- i guess what bears out his testimony is they did not send the national guard there for hours, they didn't give the authorization for him as he waited with his troops to go over to to the capitol. >> senator, in fairness to the committee, general pyatt is not a decision maker. the only decision makers on the 6th of january were the secretary of defense and the secretary of the army, ryan mccarthy.
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there was a chain of command from secretary of defense, to secretary mccarthy to general walker. that's the chain of command. lots of staff involved in having discussions. but to be clear, on that day, that was the chain of command. >> just could i give general walker -- i think we should give him a moment to respond and then i'll be done. >> yes, senator. the chain of command is the president, the secretary of defense, secretary of the army, william walker, commanding general, district of columbia national guard. can i just make a correction? i said lieutenant general mike flynn. it was lieutenant general charles flynn. sorry. i wanted to correct that. there were people in the room with me on that call that heard what they heard. >> okay. we'll have to follow up with more questions. i appreciate your testimony. thank you. >> ranking member portman, you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you, chairman peters.
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thanks to our witnesses. general walker, i'm going to continue to talk about your recollection, if you don't mind. this morning you testified you received this letter from secretary mccarthy on january 5th, so just the day before the attack on the capitol. in that letter, did secretary mccarthy prohibit you from employing the national guard's quick reaction force without his authorization? >> i have the letter in front of me. his letter does not, but it is the secretary of defense that says i have to use it as a last resort. the secretary of the army told me -- i have the letter -- that i could not use the quick reaction force -- i'll just read it. i withhold authority to approve employment of the district of columbia national guard quick reaction force and will do so only as a last resort in response to a request from an
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appropriate civil authority. i will require a concept of operation prior to authorizing employment of a quick reaction force. a quick reaction force normally is a commander's tool to go help either a civilian agency, but more typically to help the national guardsmen who are out there and need assistance. >> i think it's the very definition of a quick reaction force to be able to react quickly. >> yes, sir. >> when you've got to go through that kind of authorization including coming up with a concept of operation before the secretary or, as you say, the secretary of defense -- the secretary of army and secretary of defense would approve deployment, seems to be contrary to the whole concept of a quick reaction force. >> just to be clear, the secretary of defense said i
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could use it as a last resort. but the secretary of the army says i could only use it after he gave me permission, and only then after a concept of operation -- >> we talked about the chain of command earlier. your chain of command is both of these gentlemen. in other words, you didn't have the authority to deploy that quick reaction force based on either the letter or the earlier memo that went from the secretary of defense -- acting secretary of defense to the secretary of the army. >> that's correct, yes, sir. >> i also thought it was odd, and i think you said it was unusual and very prescriptive that the january 5th letter required the secretary of the army to approve the movement of deployed guardsmen from one traffic control point to another. did you find that unusual? >> 19 years, i never had that before happen. so on that day, the metropolitan police, as they would any other day, requested that a traffic
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control point move one block, one block over. traffic -- no traffic was where they were, so they wanted the traffic control point to move one block. i had to get permission. i told them, i'll get back to you. i contacted lieutenant general pyatt who contacted the s secretary of the army. i had to explain where that traffic control point was in relationship to the capitol. and only then did i get permission to move the three national guardsmen supporting -- >> these are three unarmed national guardsmen helping with traffic control, in part so metropolitan police can do other things. they were not permitted to move a block away without permission from the secretary of the army. is that true? >> that's correct. >> in your testimony you also talk about riot gear. that january 4th memorandum from acting secretary miller to the army secretary required the personal approval of the secretary of defense for the
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national guard to be issued riot gear. is that correct? >> that's correct. but the secretary of the army told me to go ahead and put it in the vehicles. i give him credit for that. >> you say that earlier, you give him credit for him saying at least have it there so it was accessible. still, you couldn't prepare for a civil disturbance without getting permission from the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense. is that true? >> normally for avenuity and force protection matter, a commander would be able to authorize his guardsmen to protect themselves with helmets and protective equipment. >> as i said earlier, i'm disappointed we don't have somebody from dod who actually was there at the time. i think you're being put in a position mr. salesses. why did the department impose
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these restrictions on general walker and the national guard on january 6th? >> senator, secretary miller wanted to make the decisions of how the national guard was going to be employed on that day. as you recall, senator, the spring events, there was a number of things that happened during those events that secretary miller, as the acting secretary -- >> clearly he wanted to. the question is why, and how unusual. don't you think that's unusual based on your experience at dod? >> senator, there was a lot of things that happened in the spring that the department was criticized for. >> don't you think that's unusual? >> if i could, sir, civil disturbance operations, that authority rests with the secretary of defense. if somebody is going to make a decision about deploying military members against u.s. citizens in a civil distaush ans situation -- >> we appreciate you being here.
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with you weren't making decisions that day. they put you forward as the person to answer the questions. based on your discussions with individuals, but isn't the purpose of a quick reaction force to quickly react to unfolding situations? >> senator, it is. it is designed -- >> isn't requiring a pre submitted concept of operations antithetical to the idea of enabling quick reaction? >> again, senator, i would call our attention to the quick reaction force that day was designed to respond to the traffic control points and the metro stations. we didn't have a quick reaction force to respond to the events that unfolded on the capitol. >> i don't know that that's true. general walker, did you not have a quick reaction force? i think you did. you had police officers who were also guardsmen involved in your quick reaction force, correct? >> i did. >> and wouldn't they have been appropriate to respond to the attack on the capitol? >> in my opinion, they would have been. >> i don't know. look, i wish we had the people who were making the decision,
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mr. salesses. i don't want to put you in this position. but you're all we've got in terms of talking to dod today. in your opinion, did the attack on the capitol constitute a last resort? >> last resort, you mean an immediate response. >> remember, in the letter it said only as a last resort. do you think last resort situation occurred when there was an attack on the capitol? >> there was certainly a last resort situation that occurred, senator. >> so why did it take the department of defense so long to authorize the use of the national guard in particular, the use of the qfr? >> senator, i can relay what i've obtained from my discussions with the personnel that were involved that day. if you'd like to go through with the timeline or just answer the question based on why the
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decision makers, in this case secretary mccarthy -- secretary mccarthy, if we go through the timeline, clearly at 2:22, as has been mentioned today, secretary mccarthy at 2:30 as i pointed out in my oral statement, went down and sourced secretary miller at 2:30. at 3:04, secretary miller made the decision to mobilize the entire national guard. that meant that he was calling in all the national guard members that were assigned to the d.c. national guard. at 3:04, that decision was made. between that period of time, between 3:04 and 4:10, basically, secretary mccarthy had asked for -- he wanted to understand, because of the dynamics on the capitol lawn with the explosives that obviously shots had been fired, he wanted to understand the employment of how the nard guard was going to be sent to the capitol, what their missions
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were going to be. were they going to be clearing buildings, doing perimeter security? how would they be equipped? he wanted to understand how they would be armed because obviously shots had been fired. he was asking a lot of questions to understand exactly how they were going to be employed here at the capitol and how many national guard members needed to be employed on the capitol. >> let me say with all due respect, and my time is coming to an end. three hours and 19 minutes, three hours and 19 minutes from the first call, plea really, with his voice cracking with emotion, as the major general said, you have chief of police sund saying help, we need help now, three hours and 19 minutes. that can't happen again. you agree with that? >> senator, i do. >> thank you. >> very good. ranking member blunt. >> thank you, chairwoman. general walker, if the restrictions on your authorities hadn't been put in place by dod, what would you have done when
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chief sund called you at 1:49 on january 6th with an urgent request for national guard assistance? >> i would have immediately pulled all the guardsmen that were supporting the metropolitan police department, they had the gear in the vehicles. i would have had them assemble in the armory and get on buses and go straight to the armory and report to the most ranking capitol police officer they saw and take direction. let me add this. one of my lieutenant colonels on his own initiative went to the capitol, anticipating we were going to be called. so he would have been there, and he met with deputy chief carroll of the metropolitan police department who asked him where is the national guard, how come they're not here? this colonel said, well, i'm sure they're coming. i'm here to scout out where they're going to be when they
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get here. that was the plan. i would have sent them there immediately, as soon as i hung up. my next call would have been to my subordinate commanders, get every single guardsmen in this building and everybody helping the metropolitan police, remission them to the capitol without delay. >> how quickly do yu think you could have had people here? i think you said a minute ago that the guard had moved from andrews to the armory here by 3:30. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> how quickly was the colonel here? >> he came with the police. >> he was here immediately? >> yes, sir, yes, sir. he was here immediately. when the metropolitan police left some of the traffic control points, my colonel left with them and came straight to the capitol, anticipating that that's where the fire was, and that fire needed to be put out. >> well, there certainly was concern here immediately. in fact, yesterday i saw a
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message that i sent mr. elder who was the director of the rules committee for me when i was chairman at the time. the quote on that message, that text message was, could this information about the defense department and the national guard possibly be true? that's 3:09, already wondering where senator klobuchar and other senators were, could it possibly be true that the defense department was not sending the guard immediately. mr. salesses, on the january 5th letter, that's described as secretary mccarthy relaying new restrictions from the acting secretary of the defense miller, christopher miller, would that be accurate? would those be new instructions and do you agree that general walker had more flexibility before those instructions than
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he did after? i think that's a yes or no. do you agree he had more flexibility before those instructions than he did after? that would be one question. two, would it be fair to say those were new instructions or not? >> senator, general walker, in fairness to him, can't respond to a civil defense -- civil disturbance operation without the authority of the secretary of defense. so absent these memos, general walker would have had to get approval to respond to the capitol through the secretary of defense. >> well, let's talk about that approval process. i think you said a minute ago to senator portman, if you'd like to go through the timeline -- i assume you're talking about the department of defense timeline that i have in front of me. you mentioned 15:04 as one of
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your reference points. at 15:19 or 3:19, that timeline says secretary of the army, phone call with senator schumer and speaker pelosi about the nature of mayor bowser's request. secretary of the army explains, acting secretary of defense already approved full d.c. ng, furs d.c. national guard mobilization. would that be right as of 3:19? >> that would be accurate. but if i could clarify what mobilization is -- >> let me go one step further and i'll let you do that. at 15:26, 3:26, secretary of the army phone call with mayor bowser and metropolitan police chief relays that there is no denial of their request and conveys assistant -- acting secretary of defense approval of the activation of full national guard. so on your timeline, within
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seven minutes, one is mobilization, the other is activation. go ahead and explain what those two things mean. >> those words with being used interchangeably. what secretary miller did at 15:04 on 6 january was authorize the mobilization or activation of the national guard, the d.c. nard guard. all that does, sir, is provide for the national guard to be called in from wherever their homes are to come to the armory. that's what the mobilization activation order was. >> i wonder if that's what secretary -- i wonder if that's what senator schumer and speaker pelosi thought it meant. you can't answer that. only they could. i wonder if that's what mayor bowser thought it meant when they were told at 3:19 and 3:26 that the guard has been mobilized and the guard was being activated. i don't expect you to be able to answer what they thought.
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i know i would have assumed that that meant the guard was on the way unless i was specifically told, well, they're mobilized, but they really won't be there until we make a decision hours later. at 4:32, the acting secretary of defense provides verbal authorization to remission d.c. national guard to conduct perimeter and clearance operations. that's 4:32. that's an hour and ten or so minutes later. is that the moment when the guard was told they could move forward? >> yes, senator, it is. >> do you agree with that, general walker? >> no, sir. i didn't get approval until a little bit after 5:00. i got that from the secretary of the army, who it was relayed to me. i never talked to secretary of defense miller and i didn't talk to secretary of the army. army senior leaders told me about 5:08 p.m. that the secretary of defense has
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authorized our approval to support the capitol. >> senator, if i could, in fairness to general walker, too, that's when the secretary of defense made the decision, at 4:32. as general walker has pointed out, because i've seen all the timelines. he was not told that until 5:08. >> how is that possible, mr. slesses. do you think the decision, in the moment we were in, was made at 4:32 and the person that had to be told wasn't fold for more than a half hour after the decision was made? >> senator, i think that's an issue. there was decisions being made, there was communications that needed to take place and there was actions that had to be taken. all of that was happening at simultaneous times by different individuals, and i think that part of the challenge is that some of the delayed communications probably put some of the challenges that be had
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that day. >> i would think so. if you have to have the communication before general walker and the national guard can take the action, and the communication doesn't occur for over half an hour, that's a significant problem for the future, if we don't figure out how the decision, the communication and the action all happen as nearly to the same time as they possibly can. thank you, chairwoman. >> thank you very much. senator hasan. >> thank you very much chairwoman klobuchar and chair peters and our ranking members blunt and portman, for this hearing. i want to thank all of our witnesses for being here today. it want to thank you all for your service to our country. i want to start with a question for ms. smi sfrmtslova, please. it's about a topic i asked about last week. the secretary of homeland security has the authority to
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designate events with national significance as national special security events. these designated events receive expanded support for event security. factors used to determine national special security event designations include the attendance of u.s. officials as well as the size and significance of the event. in our hearing last week, the former officials in charge of security here at the capitol testified that dhs did not reach out to u.s. capitol officials about designating january 6th's joint session of congress as a national special security event. ms. smislova, to your knowledge, did any department of homeland security officials ever consider or recommend designating the january 6th joint session of congress as a national special security event? >> thank you, senator. no. to my knowledge no one at the department of homeland security
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did consider designating january 6th as an nsse. to my knowledge, no one tasked with protecting the capitol asked for such a designation. >> when we're talking about an nsse, you don't need a request from the capitol, correct? >> that's correct. >> dhs could have initiated it. what is the department's current policy and process for designating national special security events? were there any procedural issues blocking such a designation in spite of the growing evidence of intelligence available to federal security officials prior to the event? >> i'm sorry, senator. i am running currently the office of intelligence and analysis for dhs. we have a small role in the nsse process. i'm not qualified to speak about the whole process. it's fairly complicated. i'm happy to have secret service reach out to you, ma'am, if you'd like me to follow up with
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that. >> i think it's really important for us to understand what the processes are. we had, as has been pointed out, the vice president, the vice president-elect, all members of congress in one location at an event where there was clear intelligence that might turn violent and there appears to have been no communication or effort by dhs to designate this in a way that would have had the security that we're now standing about stood up ahead of time in an effective way. i look forward to following up with you on that. >> yes. >> i want to turn to ms. sanborn. according to a recent report, the fbi has currently charged 3 257 people in relation to the attacks of january 6th. how many of those people were already under investigation by the bureau? >> i'd have to get you the specific number, but i can only recall from my memory one of the individuals that was under
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investigation prior. and was that because the fbi is limited in its tools or capacity to monitor, charge or arrest these individuals prior to january 6? was this a manpower issue? i'm trying to understand, looking back now, what might have made a difference in being able to move against some of those individuals sooner? >> i think that's a great question. i think it's twofold. it's the complexity of trying to gather the right intelligence that helps us predict indicators and warnings. i spoke earlier about, while there's a volume out of there of rhetoric, trying to figure out intent is very difficult because it happens in private coms and encryption. the other aspect is, of the people we were investigating, predicated investigations, we don't necessarily have the ability to mitigate the threat they pose by travel if we don't have a charge. you're tracking that we were aware of some of the subjects
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that intended to come here. we took overt action and tried to get them not to come. that worked in the majority of our already predicated cases. >> thank you. i look forward to following up with the fbi more about that. i also have another question for you about the fbi's information sharing practices. on january 5g9, the norfolk field office issued a report that some supremacists were prepared to travel to washington and commit acts of violence. that made it to a u.s. capitol police analyst but not to the former capitol police chief, mr. sund. i think it's important for us to understand whether this was a fail your in information sharing policy or practice. what's the standard policy for disseminating reports like that? >> yes, ma'am. that's a great question. i'd like to segue into that that part of the reason we were able to get that intelligence report from the norfolk office is because we made it a national collection priority for all 56 field offices to collect whatever they could on the joint session as well as inauguration. so when they collected that
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information, they did follow our normal process. and i think we heard yesterday from the director, and went above and beyond that process. they documented it quickly within the situational information report and disseminated it three different ways, writing, email, verbally and also put it in what we call the leap portal, available to all state and local partners across the united states. >> i'm trying to understand, though, how it didn't get elevated or communicated to the highest level. who was the highest official in the fbi to be informed of the intelligence? >> i, similar to director wray, found out about it days after. i think it's very important to also caveat what that was. it was raw, unvetted information. only because of the collection message did it get as quickly elevated to the washington field office and disseminated to the force officers. 000 and and thousands of tips come in like this every day. not all of those get elevated to
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senior leadership. >> except this was tips about violence at the united states capitol where we were going to have all members of congress, the current vice president, the vice president elect. given the gravity of the threat, it is very hard for me to understand why somebody didn't pick up the phone. i'd like to understand, too, whether any of the following were informed of the intelligence, the president, the white house chief of staff, the attorney general of the united states, the speaker of the house or the senate majority leader. >> not to my knowledge, ma'am. i think you heard the director say this yesterday and i echo it 100%. any time an attack happens, we're going back and figure out what we could have done better and differently. there's always processes that could be improved. >> i will just say this. one of the things before a major event that one should always do is figure out who the leadership is, and they should be talking twice a day on the phone for the week leading up at least. that's kind of standard practice, at least in the states that i'm familiar with.
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it's certainly standard practice for governors. it is astounding to me that even if it's raw intelligence, given what the stakes were on january 6th, that that kind of sharing wasn't routine and that it didn't happen. i hope very much that we will look back at this and develop kind of standard operating procedures so the leadership of security at the capitol, the leadership of security in all the various agents are sharing this kind of information person-to-person rather than relying on standard emails and the like. thank you very much. >> i will say that's the purpose of the command post. 100% echo your point, which is let's go back and figure out what we can do differently. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator hassan. for members of the rules committee, we're following the order set forth by the homeland security committee, how they do their order. if there's questions about that, that's how we're doing it today. next is senator feinstein. >> thanks very much, madam
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chairman. i'd like to ask this question. in august of 2017, dhs office of intel and analysis and the virginia fusion center issued a report days before the violent protests in charlottesville, virginia. the report warned that the protests could be among the most violent to date. it warned that anarchist extremists and white supremacists are calling on supporters to be prepared for and to instigate violence at the 12 august rally. now, this was very similar to what we saw in the lead-up to the january 6th insurrection when groups were actively planning to come to washington and commit violence. yet there was no similar intelligence report by the department of homeland security for this occasion.
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my question is why and what happened to change this procedure? >> yes, senator. thank you for that question. between before the election and into the inauguration, ina did publish 15 separate unclassified reports that did discussion specifically that there was a heightened threat environment, that the threat could come from lone actors or small cells. we expressed that those that were motivated by concerns about the election, grievances, associated largely with covid-19 restrictions, would also appear to be armed. we also warned that they could turn quickly from a peace-time situation to a violent situation. i actually in preparation for
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this hearing did review all of these reports and was impressed with how well the team did. they were very well written and very specific. the point, senator, is we thought we had provided that warning. we did not have anything specific about an attack on the capitol to occur on january 6th. we did not issue a separate report. in hindsight, we probably should have. we had just issued a report on december 30th with our colleagues at fbi and the national counterterrorism center. we thought, ma'am, that was sufficient. >> i'd like to ask that you make those reports available to this committee. >> happy to, ma'am. >> please. also, press reports indicate that acting defense secretary christopher miller issued a memo on january 4th preventing the d.c. national guard from receiving weapons or protective
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gear, interacting with protesters or employing riot control agents without his personal authorization. do you know of any other instance where a defense secretary required personal authorization before allowing national guard troops to respond to an emergency? i'd like to put the letter from christopher miller, madam chairman, in the file, if i could. >> yes. without objection. >> could someone answer that question? >> i'll answer that question. i was waiting. senator, i'm not aware of another letter from a secretary. but again, based on events in the spring, and secretary miller being new to the department at that time, and some of the things mindful that happened, he issued that direction. that direction, though again, i come back to the point that in order for national guard members to deploy in civil disturbance
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operations, it requires the secretary of defense's approval. to be clear, there is no ability for the military to respond without the secretary's approval for civil disturbance operations. >> if i may, madam chairman, i'm looking at a memo for secretary of the army, employment guidance for the district of columbia national guard dated january 4, 2 2021, i received it. it responds to a memorandum regarding the district's request for support for the planned demonstrations from january 5th to 6th, 2021. you are authorized to approve the requested support subject to my guidance below, subject to consultation. and then it points out a number of things that are not
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authorized. so this letter of january 4 i'd like to be in the record. somewhere there's a problem here. and i've been listening carefully trying to find out what the problem is. but there were certain reports that just were not issued, and they were of an intelligence nature. i'm curious about finding out which ones essentially did what. so if you have any response to t that, other reports, and could let this committee know, it would be appreciated. >> yes, ma'am, happy to do so. i think the key thing here is the intelligence we had articulated we knew people were coming to the d.c. area, we knew there was a possibility they
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would come armed and potentially have conflict amongst themselves. what we lacked -- and i think you heard this last week from all the people that testified as well -- none of us had intelligence that suggested swrid individuals were going to storm and breach the capitol. that's the intelligence we lacked. >> well, i think that remains to be seen, but i appreciate the comment. i think that's what this committee has to look for and make a determination whether there was, in fact, adequate pre-question, pre interest. there is a record and i thank you madam chairman. >> thank you. >> senator johnson, you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. before i get into my line of questioning for today's subject, ms. smislova, i received sitting
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here in the hearing a press release from capitol police that said we have obtained intelligence, and shows a possible plot to breach the capitol by an an identified militia group on thursday, march 4th. is that a threat that you're aware of? >> senator, we issued a bulletin last night co-authored with the fbi about extremists discussing march 4th and march 6th. is that what you're referring to, a joint intelligence bulletin we released last night around -- very late. midnight i think. >> again, so the threats are on going. >> yes. >> general walker, do review the timeline, at 1:49, chief sund contacted you. at 2:15, the capitol was breached. i think in your testimony you said you had available 340 d.c. national guard troops.
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is that zplekt. >> sir, it was actually half of that. half were on the streets helping the metropolitan police department. the other half would have came in to relieve them. but we would have called them in to come in. >> so you had 40 in the quick reaction force, correct? >> yes, sir. >> so had you been able -- had this all been preapproved by the secretary of defense -- i'm mindful of the considerations of having military involved in civil disturbances. i think that's part of the issue, some of the blowback that occurred with the spring instances. how quickly could you have gotten how many people to the capitol? >> 20 minutes. >> how many people? >> 150. >> okay. that's important information to have. i think quite honestly what we need to do here is completely reconstruct what happened. i mean completely reconstruct it.
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we need to obtain eyewitness testimony from different vantage points, from different perspectives. ms. sanborn, how many points of confrontation occurred during the riot? i mean, in other words, were these primarily choke points, doors, windows that were breached, and then inside the capitol, again, outside the house chamber? the capitol is 751 feet long. was this a 751-long line that capitol police and other law enforcement were battling protesters? >> thank you for the question. i think we're still in the process of gathering that data. obviously, the folks that we have charged, we've charged for breaching and getting inside. and so we at least know that at some point they got through a choke point. the actual distance of how long that was is still part of what we're examining, sir. >> but we've got all kinds of
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vi video, all kinds of photographs. you obviously are examining that. and from that video you've been able to arrest 300 people. 300 people have been charged. 18 have been charged with conspiracy. 40 have been arrested for assault of a law enforcement officer. have you, looking at those videos, maybe not being able to identify the people, but have you counted the number of people that you want to identify, for example, that will probably be charged with assault? >> so we're still doing that. and that number increases just like the arrests every day. and so far we have identified hundreds of people that we are trying to still identify. >> again, we've got 300 individuals who have been charged. 40 have been charged by assault. do you expect the hundreds of people to be charged with assault? or will those be disorderly conduct, unlawful entry? give me some sort of sense of the extent of this. >> absolutely. it's a fair question. i think the charges have ranged
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from everything from trespassing to obstruction to definitely assault on federal officers. we have a fair number of those. and so the charges based on the actual behavior that the individual partook that day definitely vary. >> how many firearms were confiscated in the capitol or on capitol grounds during that day? >> to my knowledge, we have not recovered any on that day from any other arrests at the scene at this point. but i don't want to speak on behalf of metro and capitol police, but, to my knowledge, none. >> nobody's been charged with an actual firearm weapon in the capitol or on capitol grounds? >> correct. the closest we came was the vehicle that had molotov cocktails. and when we did a search later on there was a weapon. >> how many shots were fired of that we know of? >> i believe the only shots were the ones that resulted in the death of one lady. >> again, i appreciate the chair's comments about a bipartisan/nonpartisan investigation here of seeking out the truth.
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cognisant of how i was reacted to by offering an eyewitness account at the last, i'll risk entering another piece of a reporting for the record. this is from the "new york times." hopefully that'll be viewed more favorably. the title is "a small group of militants outsized role in the capitol attack." in that report, it says federal prosecutors have said members of the oathkeepers militia group planned and organized their attack and, quote, put into motion the violence that overwhelmed the capitol. the reason i am entering this into the record and read that quote is it really does seem to align with the eyewitness account that i read portions of in the record last week. no conspiracy theory, just an eyewitness account from a knowledgeable observer. i didn't get to the point of the actual attack. and i want to just read a couple excerpts. this is the title provocateurs turn unsuspecting marches into an invading mob. these provocateurs are primarily
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white supremacist groups. forward, do not retreat, forward. then two other men stand across from one another on the high granite curbs on either side of the footbad said do not dare retreat. some directed eye contact and pointed at them as if trying to cite them into submitting. a third man shouted forward, reached down and grabbed me by the shoulder and barked, don't retreat, get back up there. it sounded like a military order. and it wasn't from a wild-eyed kid. this guy was probably in his 50s. he looked furious with me. nobody seemed to know the capitol was physically under attack. the tear gas caused pandemonium. people helped create or widen paths to allow others to leave the area. then from the north a column of uniformed agile young men walked single filed toward the inaugural stand. they came within feet of me.
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these were the disciplined uniformed column of attackers i had seen. there were a good three dozen of them moving in a single snake-like formation. they were organized, they were discip discipline, they were prepared. we're attacking the capitol. does that tie into with what you're uncovering as you investigate exactly what happened in the capitol that day, that you had these armed militia groups that had conspired and organized to be there, maybe dozens. we don't know how many. but that they were organized and knew how to use the mob to storm the capitol. is that kind of what you're seeing? >> we definitely so far are seeing a mixture of that absolutely. we are seeing people that got caught up in the moment, got caught up in sort of the energy, et cetera, and made their way into the capitol. those are probably the ones that you're seeing the charges simply of trespassing. and then we're definitely seeing that portion that you're pointing out, which is small groups in cells now being
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charged with conspiracy that coalesced either on site or even days or weeks prior and had sort of an intent that day, and they too probably caught people up in the energy. >> so just one final comment. i would urge anybody that criticized me for entering into the record an eyewitness account to please read the eyewitness account to take a look at actually what the truth is. thank you. >> thank you. before i call on senator merkley, i just want to ask you one thing. these people that were assaulting the capitol in military gear and were pinning an officer between a door and were using bear spray on officers in the capitol, would you title them provocateurs? >> ma'am, it would all depend on the evidence behind the case. so as we're going through and we're figuring out what actually we know about each individual, it would just depend on what the facts and what we know of
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holistically about that to be able to be put a label on it. >> do you think there were some very serious violent people involved in this insurrection? >> 100%. a lot of officers were injured and a lot of damage was done. >> and would you describe the atmosphere as festive? >> absolutely not. >> thank you. senator merkley. >> thank you, madam chair. and thank you to all for your information. assistant secretary saleeses, if i understood your earlier comment, you thought the quick reaction team was only for reinforcing assistance to those of the national guard providing traffic control. did i hear your comment correctly? >> yes, senator, you did. >> thank you. major general walker, i believe that, if i heard your comments correctly, that quick reaction team was there to respond as needed including protection of
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the capitol. is that correct? >> no, senator. they were to actually provide support to the guardsmen out there. what i would have wanted to do was remission them and get them to the capitol immediately as a quick reaction force. >> i see. so, they weren't necessarily planned to help protect the capitol. but you would reassign them to that in that type of emergency? >> yes, sir. >> okay. thank you for that clarification. i was really struck by the complexity of the chain of command for trying to get a decision for response. it starts with the capitol police board, which goes to the chief of the capitol police steven sund, who goes to the commanding general of the d.c. national guard, who goes to the secretary of army, who then consults with people within department of army about whether it's appropriate, which then goes to the secretary of defense who then consults christopher
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miller to study that. who then gives an order back to the commanding general of the d.c. national guard. this six-step process seems totally unsuited to the situation of responding quickly to an emergency. and just wanted to ask you, commander walker, if i'm reading this chain of command correctly, and do you share the view that this is way too complex for a moment when you need to respond quickly? >> so, senator, it's a longstanding process, but it can work in minutes. so, for example, during the first week of june, the secretary of the army was with me. i watched him call the secretary of defense and consult with the attorney general and respond back to me with an approval within minutes. so, it's an elaborate process,
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but it doesn't always have to be when in extremist circumstances we can get it done over the phone very, very quickly. >> but from what i understand it's normally an elaborate process done in advance. and, in fact, the information came to you on january 1st. you got back a response on january 5th. so this was before january 6th. but it had this provision that this restriction that i think you've testified to was unusual that required reconsultation on january 6th in a fashion that deeply inhibited the ability to move quickly. >> that's right, senator. >> okay. thank you. i wanted to turn to under secretary smislova. and you've been with the department for how long? >> 17 years, sir. >> for 17 years. and i think you were the deputy under secretary on january 6th. is that correct? >> yes


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