House lawmakers are bracing for scathing testimony Thursday about the intelligence failures and operational lapses that left Capitol Police woefully underprepared for the deadly pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6, after preliminary internal reviews exposed several glaring concerns.

Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton is leading an ongoing investigation into why campus law enforcement failed to contain and ultimately was overwhelmed by a mob seeking to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. He has disclosed his initial findings and recommendations to lawmakers in two confidential reports, the summaries and findings of which were obtained by The Washington Post ahead of Bolton’s appearance before the House Administration Committee on Thursday morning.

To date, Bolton’s investigation has uncovered an alarming level of disorganization within the Capitol Police — such that officials tasked with analyzing intelligence warnings leading up to the riot lacked the training to do so effectively, and that the units designated to respond to civil disturbances at the Capitol were operating with outdated rosters and inadequate equipment, according to the summaries.

During a House hearing, Inspector General Michael Bolton on April 15 called for a “cultural change” of Capitol Police to prevent events like the Jan. 6 riot. (The Washington Post)

Neither the inspector general’s preliminary reports nor the summaries have been made public. The documents obtained by The Post say the material is “law-enforcement sensitive,” an indication its authors intended for it to remain closely guarded ahead of Thursday’s hearing.

The inspector general, whose early findings were first reported by CNN earlier this month, told lawmakers he expects to produce a third preliminary report soon, focusing on gaps in the agency’s counter-surveillance functions. His public testimony is expected to be bleak.

Bolton’s first report, from February, identified at least five major areas in which the Capitol Police had serious “deficiencies.” It noted that the force lacked appropriate training and operational planning for large-scale threats, had disorganized and haphazard methods of coordinating, analyzing and disseminating intelligence warnings, and simply did not have enough officers with proper security clearances to do the jobs they were assigned.

His second report, from March, zeroed in on the force’s Civil Disturbance Unit, or CDU — the organization tasked with, among other things, beating back riotous crowds. It detailed how specific failures caused the force to operate “at a decreased level of readiness” that cost them the security of the Capitol perimeter and, ultimately, lives. One police officer and four others died in connection with the riot.

Capitol Police were operating off “an inaccurate CDU roster,” the report summary states, and failed to conduct required quarterly audits — meaning there were too few officers overall, while those who were available had insufficient training and were supplied equipment that often did not function properly, if they could access it during the riot at all. Bolton’s report summary cites specific concerns about the temperature at which officers’ riot shields had been stored, an oversight that weakened their composition and caused them to break easily.

Inspector general investigators also found that the force lacked the “capability to effectively collect, process, and disseminate intelligence information,” resulting sometimes in conflicting and confusing information and at other times in warnings being missed. As The Post first reported in the attack’s immediate aftermath, both the FBI and the Capitol Police surfaced and circulated intelligence warnings that violence was likely.

The New York Times, citing a complete copy of Bolton’s most recent report, disclosed this week that Capitol Police officers were instructed not to use nonlethal stun grenades to disperse the rioters.

Bolton’s findings and forthcoming testimony follow a draft report from Russel Honoré, a retired three-star general whose review found the Capitol Police were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained,” and testimony from former Capitol Police chief Steven A. Sund and acting chief Yogananda D. Pittman, who addressed communication failures and the agency’s inability to secure reinforcements on the day of the riot.

Taken together, the findings paint a damning picture of a police force that fumbled its core mission and failed to protect the Capitol because of organizational errors and a lack of vigilance.

All of the authors and witnesses who have delivered reports and testimony to Congress thus far have offered recommendations for how to prevent a similar catastrophe from unfolding in the future. Bolton has urged systemic overhauls — such as bringing all intelligence functions “into a single intelligence bureau”; formalizing an intelligence training program for employees; and mandating that those tasked with such operations obtain top-secret clearances. He also recommends that within 45 days, the department devise a plan for improving intelligence gathering and dissemination.

The inspector general also encouraged the Capitol Police to invest in more less-lethal weapons, make a plan to stage them where they can be accessed during large events, and store riot shields and other equipment during downtime “in a temperature-stable area” to ensure they function properly when needed.

Bolton also recommended “incentivizing” participation in the CDU, to attract more and better participants to the high-risk job.