Ed Pilkington in New York and Joan E Greve in Washington reported on yesterday’s hearing for us:
On Tuesday, the two top officials in charge of securing the Capitol the day of the deadly assault were called to give evidence to Congress.
Paul Irving, the former sergeant-at-arms for the House, and Michael Stenger, his equivalent for the Senate, both resigned after the breach. Their testimony marked the start of a congressional investigation into security lapses behind the insurrection.
Stenger said: “This was a violent, coordinated attack where the loss of life could have been much worse.”
Irving said: “Based on the intelligence, we all believed that the plan met the threat, and we were prepared. We now know we had the wrong plan.”
Two other officials, former Capitol police chief Steven Sund and the acting chief of police for Washington’s Metropolitan police, Robert Contee, also offered testimony. Sund also resigned in the wake of the catastrophe.
“These criminals came prepared for war,” Sund told senators.
Sund and Contee both expressed astonishment at delays at the Pentagon after the appeal went out for reinforcements at the Capitol and the deployment of the national guard. Sund said: “I was certainly surprised at the delays that I was hearing and seeing.”
Contee recalled a phone call between Sund and Pentagon officials in which Sund could be heard “literally pleading” for backup. When no immediate affirmation was forthcoming, Contee said, “I was just stunned. I have officers who are out there literally fighting for their lives.”
A captain in the Capitol police, Carneysha Mendoza, described 6 January as “by far the worst of the worst” of all the days she has worked.
“We could have had 10 times the amount of people working with us, and I still believe the battle would have been just as devastating,” Mendoza said.
Read more of Ed Pilkington and Joan E Greve’s report here: US Capitol rioters ‘came prepared for war’, Senate hears in testimony