Rep. Lesko Questions Why Capitol Wasn’t Secured On January 6

September 15, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) is questioning why the Capitol wasn’t secured during the Jan. 6, 2021 breach.

Lesko posed the question in response to an interview aired last month by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his newer, independent show platformed by X (formerly known as Twitter). Tucker interviewed the Capitol Police Chief at the time of the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol, Steven Sund. Fox News never aired the original interview with Carlson, which occurred in April. 

“Why wasn’t [the] Capitol secured on Jan. 6?” asked Lesko. “Tell all from Capitol Chief of Police…”

In an interview just shy of an hour long, Sund painted a picture of intentional neglect to properly secure the Capitol by federal intelligence, Congress, and military leadership.

U.S. Capitol Police has its own intelligence agency, Intelligence Agency Intelligence Coordination Division (IIACD), which coordinates with other intelligence agencies. Sund said that all intelligence he received indicated that the planned Jan. 6 protest would be “just like the other MAGA rallies” that occurred in November and December, with “limited skirmishes” involving Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM). 

However, Sund said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the military had intelligence not received by Capitol Police, such as planned attacks on Congress and violence against police officers. 

Federal reports assessing the government preparation and response to the Jan. 6 breach are linked below, and arranged in order from oldest to newest:

Sund said neither the FBI or DHS put out a single official document specific to Jan. 6, which he said was unusual. Sund reported that normally one or both agencies would issue briefings addressing anticipated dangers, such as a Joint Intelligence Bulletin (JIB). None were issued ahead of the incident, as noted by the Senate Rules Committee. It was only after the attack that the intelligence agencies issued a JIB about potential future attacks inspired by the Jan. 6 events. 

The GAO put together a timeline of open source data that government agencies collected concerning planned attacks on the Capitol months prior to Jan. 6. 

On Jan. 5, the day before the attack, Sund said he had a conference call with then-chief of police at the Metropolitan Police Department, Robert Contee; then-assistant director of the FBI Washington Field Office, Steve D’Antuono; then-commander of the Army Military District of Washington, Omar Jones; then-commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, William Walker. Sund said not one person on the call expressed concerns about any threats of violence at the Capitol. DHS was absent from the call. 

A Senate committee report released in July revealed that intelligence agencies repeatedly ignored planned threats of violence concerning Jan. 6. Some of those threats were addressed in emails to D’Antuono leading up to the attack. Yet, Sund said D’Antuono said nothing about those warnings. 

Sund said that he wasn’t the only police chief in the dark, citing Contee as another leader who didn’t receive notifications on potential dangers, like the Norfolk memo. That Situational Information Report (SIR) from the Norfolk division of the FBI warned of the potential for violence in connection to the planned Jan. 6 rally. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he never read the memo. 

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller discussed locking down the city and revoking permits on Capitol Hill, according to Sund. Sund said he never received requests to revoke the permits, though that was under his purview. 

“Instead, on Jan. 4, what does Miller do? He puts out a memo restricting the National Guard from carrying various weapons, any weapons, any civil disobedience equipment that would be utilized for the very demonstrations or violence that he sees coming. It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Sund. “When I was calling begging for assistance on Jan. 6, they weren’t allowed to respond at first.”

Sund said the CPB denied him federal resources twice due to “optics” and “because the intelligence didn’t support” his requests. The CPB included Paul Irving, House Sergeant of Arms, who responded directly to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Mike Stenger, Senate Sergeant of Arms, who responded directly to Minority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, at the time. 

“Even when we’re under attack, I have to go to those same two people to request the National Guard to be brought in,” said Sund. 

The third and final member of the CPB is the Architect of the Capitol. From 2020 until February, that was Brett Blanton. President Joe Biden fired Blanton in February over extensive allegations of misconduct detailed in an inspector general report last year. Blanton told investigators that wasn’t at the Capitol on Jan. 6 because he was working remotely that day; Blanton further stated that neither he nor his staff spoke with Capitol Police about a request for an emergency declaration or National Guard support in advance of the Capitol breach. 

Sund recounted the key timeline of that fateful day. 

According to Sund, there were at least 150-180 National Guard members in the Capitol at law enforcement’s disposal, many within eyesight of the Capitol. The Capitol was breached at 12:53; by 12:55, Sundcalled the Washington, D.C. police department and spoke with Jeff Carroll for help. At 12:58, he called Sergeant Arms asking for additional assistance from the military. Irving said he would “run it up the chain,” implying Pelosi. The law allows Irving to make the decision himself in an emergency situation, such as that which occurred Jan. 6.

Stenger also deferred to Irving when Sund called. Over the next 71 minutes, Sund reported calling 32 people for help, including 17 police agencies. 11 of those calls were follow-up calls to Irving. After all that time, Irving finally issued approval for federal assistance.

Irving testified to the Senate in 2021 that he disagreed with Sund’s recollection. Sund said that testimony almost didn’t happen. When the Senate initially issued its call for testimony, it reportedly asked for only current security employees — which would’ve excluded Irving, Stenger, and Sund. Those three men were at the top of the security apparatus on Jan. 6. It wasn’t until Sund contacted the rules committee to ask to testify that the three men were included.

To date, Irving has never explained why it took him 71 minutes to obtain permission to deploy federal assistance that day. He resigned promptly after Jan. 6, and he is retired according to his LinkedIn, where he was last active at least seven months ago. Stenger passed away last June. 

Pelosi, the head of Irving’s chain of command, was exempted from congressional inquiries into Jan. 6; Rep. Bennie Thompson effectively said that there was no need to look into Pelosi.

The day after the Jan. 6 incident, there appeared to be a lockstep effort to assign blame for the Capitol invasion on Sund.

Pelosi called for Sund’s resignation, and falsely claimed that Sund hadn’t contacted her since the Capitol invasion. Yet, Sund spoke with Pelosi on the evening of Jan. 6. 

Then, the intelligence agencies told mainstream media outlets through anonymous sources that Capitol Police turned down federal resources in the days leading up to Jan. 6.

Sund resigned after the Jan. 6 incident; in January, Sund released a memoir, “Courage Under fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6,” detailing the events of that day.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Get FREE News Delivered to Your Inbox!

Corporate media seeks stories that serve its own interests. But you deserve to know what’s really going on in your community. Stay up to date on the latest in Arizona by signing up to get FREE news delivered to your inbox.

You May Also Like …

Connect with us!


A project of the Arizona Freedom Foundation  |  All Rights Reserved 2023  |  Code of Ethics  |  Privacy Policy

Share This