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Former chief to back more power for Capitol Police to get federal backup

Department still requires approval from the Capitol Police Board and congressional leadership in advance of an event, Steven Sund plans to testify

Then-Chief Steven A. Sund testifies during a House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing on the Capitol Police budget in 2020.
Then-Chief Steven A. Sund testifies during a House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing on the Capitol Police budget in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A former Capitol Police chief plans to tell a House subcommittee Tuesday that Congress should give the position more power to request help from federal law enforcement agencies.

The House Administration Committee’s oversight panel has set a meeting to hear testimony from Steven A. Sund, who resigned from the department’s top spot shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

In prepared remarks, Sund recounts how he waited over an hour for the Capitol Police Board to approve his request for the National Guard as the Capitol was under siege in 2021.

Congress made a change in December 2021 that gives a Capitol Police chief the power to request D.C. National Guard and federal law enforcement agencies during emergencies, Sund wrote.

But that “does not grant the Chief the authority to request federal assistance in advance of an event, which means the request can still be denied,” Sund wrote. “In other words, the law still requires the Chief to seek advance approval from the Capitol Police Board and congressional leadership. This is exactly what I faced on January 3.”

Sund says in the prepared testimony that was the day he requested the assistance of the National Guard to support the Capitol Police perimeter “and was denied by the two Sergeants at Arms over the concerns for politics and optics.”

Sund’s prepared remarks also state the attack was “preventable” and blames the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI for intelligence failures, noting that if those agencies “followed their policies and established practices, I wouldn’t be sitting here today.”

A Senate report released in June was highly critical of both DHS and FBI for not acting on information about the potential violence leading up to the riot.

Sund’s scheduled testimony before the subcommittee follows his appearance with Tucker Carlson on X, formerly Twitter, in August, in which he similarly defends his role as chief of the department.

Since the House flipped to the GOP, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee, has spent time rebutting or criticizing work completed by the now-disbanded House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.

That select committee released footage of Loudermilk giving a tour in the House office buildings the day before the Capitol attack and video of one of those people making threats against members while marching on the Capitol that day.

In March, Loudermilk released his own report that says there was “nothing questionable” about him taking those people through the Capitol complex.

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