Senators Invite Past and Present Security Heads to Testify at Hearing on Capitol Breach

February 16, 2021 Updated: February 16, 2021

Three former top security officials in Congress who resigned in the immediate wake of the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol have been invited to testify over their responsibilities in the incident before a panel of Senators next week.

Following a failed effort from Congress to link former President Donald Trump’s speech to the breach of the Capitol building, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees on Tuesday announced plans to “examine the security failures” that led to the breach. The first joint hearings will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 23, and are expected to feature testimonies from former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving.

The committees also want to hear from Robert Contee, the chief of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. It is not immediately clear if the officials will accept the invitation to testify.

Sund, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, resigned from his post on Jan. 7. His resignation took effect on Jan. 16. Stenger and Irving’s resignation came the same day, just hours after they were called to step down by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), respectively.

The announcement of the hearing comes after Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.), ranking member Rob Portman (R-Ohio), House Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and ranking member Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) requested 22 agencies and departments to provide information about how the Congress’ security forces prepared and responded to the violence which resulted in the deaths of five individuals.

“The January 6, 2021 attack on our Capitol, one of the great symbols of American democracy, will forever be a stain on our Nation’s history,” the Democratic and Republican Senate Committee leaders wrote in their Feb. 8th letter. “The attackers failed to disrupt the work of Congress, due in large part to the heroic acts of many officers and congressional staff. Nevertheless, the security failures that led to the breach endangered not just the Vice President and the Congress, but the peaceful, democratic transfer of power itself. The American people deserve a complete accounting of those failures.”