Who overruled the protection plan for the U.S. Capitol allowing riots and mayhem?

It is highly improbable that there was not an advance operations plan by law enforcement to protect lawmakers as they addressed the counting of Electoral College votes in Washington D.C. The question is, who overruled it and for what reason?

It is inconceivable that within the many law enforcement and government security agencies protecting the senate and congress that there was not a high-level risk analysis completed identifying the fact that all hell was about to break loose in Washington D.C., in large part aggravated by the President himself. The question is, who overruled that professional advice from seasoned analysts and why?

The issue that is only remotely addressed by the media and most commentators is The Plan. Or more accurately, rejection of same. Instead fingers are rightfully pointed at the capacity and deployment of law enforcement and the National Guard and an equally valid comparison to the past overreach by law enforcement to protests by Black Lives Matter.

Let me be clear. There indeed was an operational plan (“ops plan”) designed by not only the Capital Police but also with input from other law enforcement and national security agencies. There always is. To think that the mayhem that ensued, the occupation of the floor of democratic debate and law-making in Washington D.C. just happened as a horribly shocking and surprising event is a stretch too far for those who understand such public order (disorder) events.

Whether it is a gathering of world leaders for an international forum, the anticipation of a march of protesters no matter how small or large, the international Olympics, or the presence of a high profile “Protected Person” such as a president or Prime Minister, anticipatory actions unfold in a standardized way.

There is an intensified Risk Analysis completed weeks in advance and updated daily by seasoned critical incident police and military analysts. These professionals scour and analyze a wide ocean of information, including internet chatter on multiple platforms, the content of key publications and journals used by those intent on violence, the contents of activist meetings (even before Zoom), the volume of travel patterns directed to the target in question, and the actions of a long list of pre-identified individuals known for their violent tendencies. Evidence shows the internet was buzzing hot with groups planning to go to Washington to raise hell, with even some chatter about “bringing guns.”

The ops plan risk analysis looks for such factors as coordination of activity, organizational abilities, the nature and tone of those leading groups, the possibility of the presence of weapons, and the emotional commitment and intensity of those planning to be present to express their strong opinions. In addition, law enforcements makes use of confidential informants and feedback from undercover operatives.

Such a risk analysis provides evidence of action and the risk to those being targeted by protesters and those whose intention is far more violent than chanting and holding up placards. From this evidence an operations plan is born with very specific attention to the level of risk, the requirement for law enforcement, the number of law enforcement and security forces deployed, and the material needed for adequate protection ranging from the size, quality, and type of fencing, to the type and use of repellents to be used in extreme cases including flashbang grenades, “pepper” spray, shields, batons, and non-lethal projectiles such as rubber bullets. And in very extreme and rare cases, live ammunition.

Such an operations plan is rolled out with great precision, constant communication and coordination, and a clear command structure often termed “gold, silver, and bronze” commanders depending on the nature of the event Yes, things can go sideways as they do in most conflicts but The Plan is what brings initial stability and leadership and adjusts as required.

To think that there was no Washington D.C. High Risk Operational Plan for the rioters, insurrectionists, and lunatics who literally scaled the walls of the Capital Building, and crashed onto the floor of the chamber is just so mind-boggling as to be unbelievable.

So, here’s what I think. There indeed was a security operations plan in Washington readied for the riots. It was well designed, well researched and analyzed, based on real-time evidence and environmental scanning. But it was rejected. I submit it was rejected for purely political reasons and political optics by those in a position of political power to reject such planning. And when the rejected plan turned out to be prophetic, desperate requests by security teams for additional resources were delayed or stonewalled.

Why would anyone in their right mind reject the evidence of a highly probable riot attacking the proceedings of Congress and the Senate? Would it be to avoid the look of some third-world military dictatorship tarnishing the already ugly look of a certain president? Would it be to avoid having such an image possibly influence the razor-edge vote of two state Senate elections in Georgia?

Unless there indeed was no public order operational plan. Having been involved in the development of such plans, having being part of a team training law enforcement agencies and the National Guard in America to deal with anticipated protests and riots, I can only say that the odds of such an absence of planning is zero.

Which brings us back to who in their right mind would object? And the conclusion is that obviously such a plan was rejected by someone out of their mind.

4 thoughts on “Who overruled the protection plan for the U.S. Capitol allowing riots and mayhem?

  1. Hi Eli. Great insights. We pondered a similar question while watching the riots. Based on your expertise, do you agree that the rioters were ‘domestic terrorists’ and the actions were an attempted coup? Your postings are always thought-provoking. Rod.


  2. Hi Rod, great to hear from you. The FBI definition (https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/terrorism) of domestic terrorism is “Violent, criminal acts committed by ndividuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” S, yes indeed those yahoos invading Capitol Hill fit the bill.


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