National Guard Commander Reveals Hours-Long Delay To Approve Backup On Jan. 6

March 3, 2021
Members of the National Guard are seen on the East Front of the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill March 2, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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March 3, 2021

In the sequel to a hearing with Capitol security leaders last week, Senators today will grill officials from the FBI, National Guard, Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security on security failures during the January 6 insurrection.

It’ll be the first chance for intelligence officials to combat the theme that’s emerged from the other Capitol attack hearings so far: that the security breakdown was primarily to blame on intelligence lapses.

While the witnesses are mostly civilians, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard Major General William J. Walker was added to the list last-minute. Walker may be able to explain the delays in the authorization and deployment of the Guard, one of the biggest mysteries still shrouding the attack. Questions about the Guard in other hearings have resulted mostly in finger-pointing and conflicting information.

This hearing is part two to one held before these two committees — Senate Rules and Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs — featuring the former heads of the Capitol police and sergeants at arms last Tuesday.

Watch Live

What To Expect

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and include testimony from:

  • Melissa Smislova, senior official performing the duties of the under secretary at the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  • Jill Sanborn, assistant director of the FBI counterterrorism division
  • Robert Salesses, senior official performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security at DOD
  • Major General William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard

Things We're Listening For

  • Clarifying details on the National Guard authorization and deployment timeline
  • Insight from intelligence agencies on how much they knew leading up to January 6
  • GOP conspiracy theorizing (looking at you, Sen. Johnson)
More Less

In the sequel to a hearing with Capitol security leaders last week, Senators today will grill officials from the FBI, National Guard, Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security on security failures during the January 6 insurrection.

It’ll be the first chance for intelligence officials to combat the theme that’s emerged from the other Capitol attack hearings so far: that the security breakdown was primarily to blame on intelligence lapses.

While the witnesses are mostly civilians, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard Major General William J. Walker was added to the list last-minute. Walker may be able to explain the delays in the authorization and deployment of the Guard, one of the biggest mysteries still shrouding the attack. Questions about the Guard in other hearings have resulted mostly in finger-pointing and conflicting information.

This hearing is part two to one held before these two committees — Senate Rules and Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs — featuring the former heads of the Capitol police and sergeants at arms last Tuesday.

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