The embattled outgoing chief of the Capitol Police blamed House and Senate security officials for last week’s security lapse and said six of his requests for help were rejected or delayed, The Washington Post reports.
Steven Sund, who announced he would step down after the Capitol Police were easily overrun by pro-Trump rioters on Wednesday, told The Post that he asked House and Senate security officials to request DC National Guardsmen be placed on standby as backup but they turned him down.
Sund said House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving told him he was not comfortable with the “optics” of declaring an emergency before the protest. Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger suggested he should informally ask his National Guard contacts to be on alert in case anything happens, Sund said.
He added that it was the first of six times that his requests for help were denied.
DOD turned down request:
“If we would have had the National Guard we could have held them at bay longer, until more officers from our partner agencies could arrive,” Sund told The Post.
Sund was on a conference call with the Pentagon and DC officials at 2:26, well after the Capitol was overrun, and told them he is making an “urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance.”
But Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the Army Staff told him that he would not recommend Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approve the request.
“I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background,” Piatt said.
“The situation is dire,” John Falcicchio, the chief of staff for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, recalled to the Post. “Literally, this guy is on the phone, I mean, crying out for help. It’s burned in my memories.”
DOD blames Capitol Police:
Pentagon officials said that Capitol Police did not ask the DC Guard for backup or request a contingency plan before making a request.
“We rely on Capitol Police and federal law enforcement to provide an assessment of the situation,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters last week. “And based on that assessment that they had, they believed they had sufficient personnel and did not make a request.”
National Guardsmen did not arrive on the scene until 5:40.
“My concern is if they don’t get their act together with physical security, it’s going to happen again,” Sund told the Post.