WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today pressed a group of officials responsible for security of the U.S. Capitol complex and surrounding area for answers on the January 6th attack. Peters pushed for information about breakdowns in intelligence gathering, security preparations and the delayed response during the first oversight hearing on the Capitol attack.
Peters convened the bipartisan oversight hearing jointly with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Rules and Administration Committee, to examine the security failures that led to a breach of the U.S. Capitol and ensure such an attack never happens again. The committees heard testimony from current and former officials responsible for securing the area surrounding the U.S. Capitol on the preparations and response efforts on January 6, 2021, when a criminal mob was able to breach the Capitol complex. Testifying before the committee were: Robert Contee, Acting Chief, Metropolitan Police Department; Michael Stenger, former Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper; Paul D. Irving, former House Sergeant at Arms; and Steven Sund, former Chief, U.S. Capitol Police.
“There is no question that there were colossal breakdowns in the intelligence gathering and security preparations leading up to the events of January 6th – as well as during the coordination and response efforts once the attack got underway,” said Peters, in part, during his opening statement. “Our goal today is to begin to understand where those breakdowns and failures occurred – and to determine if there are policy and structural changes Congress must make to prevent a future attack of this nature.”
Peters continued: “As the committees charged with oversight, strengthening homeland security and maintaining Capitol operations – we have a solemn duty to thoroughly examine the security breakdowns and make needed reforms. I am hopeful we will be able to work together and carry out this responsibility in a serious and a nonpartisan way…The attack on January 6th was an extraordinary event that requires exhaustive consideration. The American people deserve answers on why their Capitol was breached.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ opening remarks, click here. For text of Peters’ opening remarks as prepared, click here.
To watch video of Senator Peters questioning officials responsible for security of the U.S. Capitol complex, click here.
To watch video of Senator Peters’ closing remarks, click here.
This joint oversight hearing is part of a broader bipartisan effort Peters is leading to examine the security and intelligence failures on January 6th and determine if reforms are needed to prevent a similar attack in the future. The hearing follows a bipartisan request from Senate Committee leaders, led by Peters, pressing 22 agencies and departments to provide information related to the preparations for and response to the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress and the subsequent security failures.