Capitol security officials to testify before Congress today

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Two of the top acting Capitol security officials will largely place blame for their lack of preparedness during the Jan. 6 riot on a lack of adequate intelligence from other agencies when they testify before Congress Thursday.

Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett and acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will appear Thursday at 10 a.m. EST before the House Appropriations Committee as part of Congress’ broader probe into the siege.

“At the end of the day, the USCP succeeded in its mission. It protected Congressional leadership. It protected members,” Pittman’s testimony reads, “And it protected the Democratic process. At the end of a battle that lasted for hours, democracy prevailed.”

While Pittman, who was assistant chief of police for the department’s protective and intelligence operations at the time of the riot, plans to defend the Capitol Police, she will also concede that the force had “internal challenges” after becoming “overwhelmed by thousands of insurrectionists.”

Officers Yogananda "Yogi" Pittman will testifying before Congress on Feb. 25, 2021 as well.
Officers Yogananda “Yogi” Pittman will testifying before Congress on Feb. 25, 2021 as well.
AP

In her capacity as assistant chief of police, she says in her testimony that she reviewed a final report warning about a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 3.

The report concluded that militia members did plan to participate in the day’s events — with some being armed — and to target the certifying of the Electoral College results.

Supporters of Donald Trump clashing with police at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Supporters of Donald Trump clashing with police at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
James Keivom

“The threat of disruptive actions or violence cannot be ruled out,” she plans to say the report stated.

Still, Pittman says, Capitol Police could not have predicted what was to come.

Police preparing to fight against protestors at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Police preparing to fight against protestors at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
James Keivom

Blodgett, meanwhile, will blame assessments from the FBI and other intelligence agencies as “muddled or contradictory.”

“Intelligence requires finding the needles in a haystack. On Jan. 6, there was a failure to either gather, synthesize, or disseminate intelligence and there were indications that intelligence was muddled or contradictory,” a transcript of Blodgett’s prepared remarks reads.

Protestors making their way to the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Protestors making their way to the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
James Keivom

The hearings come one day after Blodgett and Pittman’s predecessors testified on their handling of the lead up to the deadly attack, which led to both of their resignations.

Pittman is almost certain to face questions from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about the investigations into the 35 Capitol Police officers under investigation related to the riot.

The scene from the chaos at the U.S. Capitol is shown from Jan. 6, 2021.
The scene from the chaos at the U.S. Capitol is shown from Jan. 6, 2021.
James Keivom

Lawmakers are currently in the midst of weeks of hearings into the siege.

Also on Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing with expert witnesses on the financing of extremism.

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