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Former House sergeant-at-arms provided testimony to Jan. 6 panel

Paul Irving was one of four top security officials on the Capitol Police Board

Former Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives Paul Irving, left, and former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund (center) arrive for the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
Former Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives Paul Irving, left, and former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund (center) arrive for the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Paul D. Irving, the former House sergeant-at-arms who resigned the day after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, recently provided testimony to the select committee investigating the Capitol attack, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Irving was one of four top security officials on the Capitol Police Board responsible for protecting the Capitol and has been heavily criticized for not adequately preparing for Jan. 6. 

There was a substantial delay in the National Guard being deployed to quell the pro-Donald Trump rioters, a problem that drew particular scrutiny on the inefficient way the board functioned in that scenario. That problem played out last year in a Senate hearing reviewing the attack when Irving and Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief during the insurrection, gave conflicting accounts on when Sund asked Irving — and Irving’s counterpart in the Senate, Michael Stenger — for the National Guard to help during the attack. 

Sund testified to the Senate panel that by 1:09 p.m. on the afternoon of the riot, he notified both Irving and Stenger of the department’s need for a state of emergency declaration and National Guard troops, which was not approved by the Capitol Police Board until after 2 p.m. Irving said he did not recall getting a request for the National Guard until shortly after 2 p.m.

“I’m not gonna, you know, guess why he doesn’t remember,” Sund said of Irving at the hearing. 

In late 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that lets the Capitol Police chief ask for National Guard help without the approval of the Capitol Police Board. 

Intelligence failures have been examined at length in reviews of the Capitol attack. Irving’s written testimony from the Senate hearing focused heavily on them. 

“The intelligence was not that there would be a coordinated assault on the Capitol, nor was that contemplated in any of the interagency discussions that I attended in the days before the attack,” Irving said.

The panel is continuing to interview witnesses and could have hearings in public by May.

“Sometime in May,” the panel’s chairman, Bennie Thompson said in an interview. When asked if that date is subject to change, he responded, “always.”

Tim Mulvey, a spokesperson for the committee, did not respond to a request for comment.

Irving, a former U.S. Secret Service special agent, was sworn in as House sergeant-at-arms in January 2012. Irving was nominated by then-Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

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