- The Inspector General for the Capitol Police said the department needs more resources.
- Michael Bolton told lawmakers they needed a counterintelligence unit following the Capitol attack.
- He said the force needs to start looking at themselves as a”protective agency” for Congress.
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The Capitol Police have to start looking at themselves as a “protective agency” that prioritizes intelligence after the January 6 Capitol attack, the agency’s inspector general said.
Inspector General Michael Bolton told a House congressional committee on Monday that the agency must create a counterintelligence unit since it was not equipped to deal with the high amount of intelligence before the Capitol riot, NPR reported.
“A standalone entity with a defined mission dedicated to counter-surveillance activities in support of protecting the congressional community would improve the department’s ability to identify and disrupt individuals or groups intent on engaging in illegal activity directed at the congressional community for its legislative process,” Bolton told the committee.
Bolton said the presence of their forces around the Capitol on January 6 was depleted after officers had to respond to pipe bomb reports near the offices of the Democratic and Republican National Committees, The Washington Post reported.
“Invariably, when there’s an incident, police officers swarm. When you’re in protective mode, you have an area of responsibility,” Bolton said, adding that a more efficient approach would have been having Capitol police make a perimeter around the Capitol and have other agencies like the FBI or DC police respond to the pipe bomb reports.
“If those pipe bombs were intended to be a diversion, it worked,” Bolton said.
Lawmakers pressed Bolton on commands given and how police responded to the scene. Politico reported that Rep. Zoe Lofgren pressed Bolton on a report that Capitol police were aware that 200 Proud Boy extremists were gathering around the Capitol the morning of the attack, but police were sent to monitor three or four counter-protests instead.
“Why did the department decide to monitor the … counter demonstrators but apparently, according to this timeline, not to monitor the Proud Boys?” Lofgren asked Bolton. “What happened to these 200 Proud Boys over the course of the day?”
Bolton could not answer Lofgren’s question but said “We have the same kind of concerns.”
He said he would look into what happened and provide answers during his next briefing to Congress in June.
Several Proud Boys as well as members of groups like the Oath Keepers have been charged by federal prosecutors in connection with the Capitol riot.
A spokesperson for Capitol Police told Politico that they did get information about the Proud Boys presence from the Metropolitan Police Department.
“USCP pushed that information out to the intelligence distribution,” the spokesperson said. “The department was on the lookout for any and all potential threats on January 6.”