Chief Yogananda Pittman: Militias Wanted to Blow Up Capitol

Trump supporters climb a stone wall during a riot at the US Capitol

At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the insurrection Thursday, acting chief of the Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, revealed that the extremist groups who were involved in the January 6 attack want to "blow up" the Capitol around the time of President Biden's State of the Union address.

Acting Police Chief Yogananda Pittman offered the estimate as she testified Thursday to a House subcommittee investigating the attempt to force Congress to overturn the November election results.

Pittman's pre-released opening statement articulated the intelligence the Capitol Police force had prior to the attack and then explained what happened that day.

Among those testifying are acting Washington DC police chief Robert Contee III, former US Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving. "We got to figure out a new mechanism in which we can govern the security here".

"We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified", Pittman said.

Officers were warned that 'these groups planned to be armed'.

Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol officer.

'Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of demonstrator would not be other branches of government or counter-protesters, ' Pittman noted. Congress was holding a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win over President Trump.

Officers were also warned, 'due to the tense political environment following the 2020 election, the threat of disruptive actions or violence can not be ruled out'.

"The temporary infrastructure is only to address the vulnerabilities after the attack of January 6". This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent, ' Pittman wrote in her testimony.

And she said that "well in excess" of 10,000 people came onto the Capitol grounds during the January 6 insurrection, and that about 800 entered the building - the first time an official has provided an estimate of the size of the crowd that broke through the Capitol's perimeter.

US Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman
Yogananda Pittman conceded that the agency's incident command protocols were"not adhered

During her testimony to the subcommittee, she also said that none of the intelligence shared with the Capitol ahead of the insurrection indicated "that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol".

Pittman details additional steps taken for January 6 by the specialized dignitary protection unit, which protects congressional leaders.

The department also took additional measures to beef up security because of the threat, including calling in additional officers and stepping up protection for key members of Congress.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) described the reinforcements as "stark visual sadness" and likened the current Capitol environment to "working in a minimum security prison".

Officers were vastly outnumbered as thousands of rioters descended on the building, some of them wielding planks of wood, stun guns, bear spray and metal pipes as they broke through windows and doors and stormed through the Capitol.

Going forward, Pittman said officers would be receiving training on lockdown procedures.

The Capitol police department is famously opaque, and there has been a notable lack of press briefings from the agencies involved after such a high-profile disaster.

About that, Pittman just confirmed it was under investigation by outside law enforcement.

Pittman said in hindsight her agency would have replaced bicycle racks that were quickly overrun by pro-Trump rioters with a stronger fence. "It is the conduct of this latter group that the department was not prepared for", she said. She said they stationed armed officers at the homes of congressional leaders, intercepted radio frequencies used by the invaders, and deployed counterintelligence officers to the Ellipse rally where Trump was sending his supporters marching to the Capitol to "fight like hell".

'It protected Congressional Leadership. Our priority is to make sure that the members of Congress are safe, and that democratic process is protected. 'At the end of a battle that lasted for hours, democracy prevailed'.

DHSC to extend gap on Oxford vaccine delivery
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