Acting as a whistleblower, a former senior Capitol Police official alleges that Assistant Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman and acting Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher got a warning about a possible attack on Congress weeks ahead of Jan. 6, but didn’t share that information with other Capitol Police officials—something the former official says Pittman lied to Congress about. In a 16-page letter, the former official also slammed investigators for their failures, in particular the failure to pin enough blame on Pittman and Gallagher, who the letter describes as “simply watch[ing] mostly with their hands on their laps” as their subordinates fought to defend the Capitol
Pittman told Congress that a Dec. 21 intelligence report, which warned that people were sharing maps of the Capitol online and talking about armed confrontations with members of Congress, had been shared with assistant chiefs and deputy chiefs. But the writer of the 16-page letter says that claim is “unconditionally false.” Pittman and Gallagher were the “only officials that had all the intelligence information for the 6th.”
Because of them, the letter alleges, the Capitol Police were not prepared for what happened on Jan. 6—for things they should have known were coming.
“The failures and inactions of these two prior to and on the 6th unquestionably contributed to the death of officers and the serious physical and emotional injury of hundreds of other members of law enforcement. It contributed to the death of citizens and caused harm to the reputation of the Congress, the USCP and other commanders,” the former official writes. “Yet, the truth of their performance is not in the command-and-control report and appears to be of little importance to the congressional community. It is obvious that the congressional community has purposefully failed to provide the truth to the members of the USCP that fought so valiantly to protect them on the 6th. This level of dishonesty must start at the top and taints every level of USCP oversight throughout this Congress.”
By contrast, the letter writer hails some “leadership heroes of the day,” who s/he says were on the scene and putting themselves at physical risk in defense of the Capitol. But the intelligence failures, and the failure of Congress and other investigators to pin those on Pittman and Gallagher, loom largest in the letter.
“Ultimately, the IIAD, that they supervised, produced approximately 50 pages of documents in a dozen plus reports reference the demonstrations on the 6th, These documents did NOT contain the critical information that was possessed and needed by the Department to operationalize a plan and procure the resources to stop this attack. In 50 pages, there was one paragraph tacked on page 15 of one document that vaguely spoke of the target of the demonstration being Congress this time. The remaining 99% of the 50 pages of documents, including those produced after the one assessment, repeated the chances of any police action were ‘unlikely or remote’.”
The Capitol Police rejected the accusation that its leaders could have predicted anything close to the scale of the violence on Jan. 6. “Based on all the intelligence the USCP received before January 6, we were aware of the potential for violence from some demonstrators,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Based on the intelligence, the Department enhanced its security posture. However, no one’s intelligence revealed the large-scale demonstration would become a large-scale attack.”
In a joint statement, members of the Capitol Police’s executive team, including Pittman and Gallagher, said that although “there is more work to do, many of the problems described in the letter have been addressed.”
“The United States Capitol Police has implemented, and continues to implement, many of the critical recommendations called for in a series of post January 6 reviews,” they said. “The letter from the former employee echoes the thoughtful recommendations in those reports.”
It’s unlikely the letter writer would ever agree that the problems described in the letter had been addressed as long as Pittman and Gallagher remain in senior positions, given the degree of sheer personal rage directed at the two throughout the letter. That rage raises question marks about the letter writer’s potential biases—are they entirely the product of Pittman and Gallagher’s failures around Jan. 6, or is there a history there?—but regardless, it’s been clear from the day of the insurrection there had been major intelligence failures that needed to be investigated. While the House select committee is correct to focus significant attention on Donald Trump and his inner circle for their role in inciting the attack, the intelligence failures within law enforcement also require significant attention.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.