The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Transcript: Steven A. Sund, Former Capitol Police Chief, Author, “Courage Under Fire”

MR. DAVIS: Hello, and welcome to Washington Post Live. My name is Aaron Davis, I’m an investigative reporter here at The Washington Post.

And my guest today is Steven Sund, the former Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police. Chief Sund is the author of, "Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1." This is a book recounting in great detail the lead-up to, the day of, and aftermath of January 6th.

Welcome, Chief Sund.

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MR. DAVIS: Chief Sund, you burst into public view in rather dramatic fashion in the immediate aftermath of January 6th for two reasons. Well, first, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for your resignation, making you the face of law enforcement failures to head off the attack on the Capitol.

And then, secondly, very shortly after, my colleague, Carol Leonnig and I reported that, days before the attack, you requested the National Guard be deployed to the Capitol and that that request was rebuffed. And that became the first of what would become a very complex and disturbing picture of law enforcement and government failures.

Following President Trump's call to have supporters to come to the Capitol on January 6th--and that happened on December 19th. He said in that now-infamous tweet, "Be there. It will be wild."

In the vein of lots of good Washington Post reporting over the years, I guess I'd like to start there with the age-old question: What did law enforcement know and when did you know it? Did the threat change on that December 19th timeframe?

MR. SUND: So, the threat was coming up very similar to what we'd been seeing before. The information we were getting from our intelligence unit, and also the partner federal intelligence agencies were giving us the same level of intelligence that we'd seen--I call it MAGA one and MAGA two. It was the November MAGA rally, the Stop the Steal rally, that happened in November. The same one that happened in December--I think it was the 11th or 12th of December--where we were seeing indications that, you know, Proud Boys, some of the militia groups would be there. There were expectations some people would be armed. MPD had some armed people before with some of the demonstrations.

So, coming into the 6th, we were seeing the very same type of intelligence that was coming up, even to where my intelligence bulletins that we were getting were saying it is going to be similar to the previous two MAGA rallies coming up. So, we expected a large group. The big difference we had was that for the 6th--you know, the previous events, they'd been going up and protesting the Supreme Court; so, the target was the Supreme Court. For the 6th, their target would be Congress. They were trying to get Congress to sway--to dispute the certification of the Electoral College, and we knew the protests were coming up to us. So, with a joint session, joint session of Congress, going on, I had a lot of personnel that I needed to put inside of the Capitol to staff a lot of the posts there. So, that's what made me go and ask for the National Guard on January 3rd.

MR. DAVIS: Before we get to that National Guard part of the thing, which is so important, can you talk about--you said the intelligence looked the same that was coming from other agencies and your partners. We now know that there was such a flood of intelligence that had come into the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and others, can you talk specifically about the posture that law enforcement was in leading up to January 6th, and how much of that was because of the way that the--you know, the FBI being the lead law enforcement agency for domestic threats, were people taking their cues in D.C. from the FBI and from them saying a lot of these things they weren't quite worried about, that were being said online?

MR. SUND: So, as a law enforcement agency, your viewers will want to know I'm the only law enforcement agency for the Legislative Branch. But we base all our operations on whatever information--what is called intelligence information that we have at the time, and what was interesting, coming into January 6th, you know, I've been a police officer in Washington, D.C. for almost 30 years. I've handled a number of major events, events that had far lesser of a threat stream that I now know existed on January 6th where the FBI would have done a number of things. They would have done a conference call with partner agencies, a joint intelligence bulletin with the Department of Homeland Security, or even an executive briefing for chiefs of police. We got none of that.

And then, when I started looking into the intelligence, you know, I was seeing that they were really getting a lot of tips and weren't taking proactive steps to start gathering intelligence for an event that we now know had significant threats being directed toward the Capitol, members of Congress, and elected officials.

MR. DAVIS: Specifically on that Department of Homeland Security part, a bulletin, which is kind of this red flag that goes up from DHS when they see something, was there anything that would have been triggered--would have changed in your world and at the Capitol Police if they had issued a bulletin, or if FBI had said, we're really concerned about this?

MR. SUND: Yes, it would have had--or even my own unit, if we had clearly outlined and provided the intelligence that I now know existed, when I went and asked for the National Guard on January 3rd, it was denied in part by Paul Irving because the intelligence didn't support it. He didn't like the optics of the National Guard, but the intelligence didn't support it.

If we did have intelligence that clearly showed now we know groups were planning to attack the Capitol and groups that had already surveilled some of my entry points. They knew the number of officers that were staffed in some of these entry points. They knew our tunnel system. They knew our garages. If we knew that existed, that would have given me the ammunition I needed on January 3rd or even earlier, because we knew--like you said, some of this intelligence existed all the way back to December 19th, December 20th. That would have given me the opportunity to go and ask for mutual aid from our partner law enforcement agencies, National Guard and the support to get it--not only that, a bigger fence.

You know, my intelligence unit, the protection and intelligence division or bureau has security services in it specifically so they can base the level of physical security, which would be the fencing. We had the bike racks out for this one based on the intelligence. If the intelligence had clearly indicated that there was a pending attack on the Capitol, we would have put up probably the eight-foot anti-scale fencing that we do for the inauguration.

MR. DAVIS: You've led me right to this point about three days before January 6th where you--as you said, you requested help from the National Guard, or requested from your bosses the--you know, to ask the National Guard, and that was rebuffed. That is such a fascinating day, we've now learned, with all the things that were going on. At the White House, you had the president that day putting pressure on Mike Pence. You had, you know, cabinet members meeting and talking--and leaders in the Pentagon questioning in other private meetings if the permits should even be pulled for January 6th.

And then, what is that specifically that's in your head that day that's making you say, I'm not quite comfortable with this; I want to ask the National Guard; I want more forces outside the Capitol that day?

MR. SUND: So, I'd done a lot of major events in Washington, D.C. Again, I knew--we had put a large ring of the bike rack around the Capitol grounds, which is a large area of the Capitol grounds--the Capitol Square is a large area. And I knew I had a limited number of officers that'd be available to kind of staff that, to keep, you know, any of the protesters from trying to jump over it, or just trying to try our perimeter.

So, when I went and asked, it was specifically because all I wanted was unarmed National Guard to help stand that perimeter and to keep anybody from trying to jump over the bike rack. It was just based on my experience. It was Sunday morning that I went and asked--I think it was about 9:34 that I went and asked Paul Irving first and got denied because he didn't like the look or the optics of the National Guard on Capitol grounds and the intelligence didn't support it.

MR. DAVIS: And later that day, we now know that your assistant chiefs, that there was that fuller security bulletin put together by your intelligence division and that they wrote at the end of that, in clear language that hadn't been done before, that Congress--they saw it as the target.

If you had even your own intelligence briefing a few hours earlier to take back to Irving, do you think that would have changed anything--and that being the Sergeant-at-Arms, there, one of your bosses at the Capitol?

MR. SUND: So, when you look at it again, there's been a lot of discussion about that final paragraph at the end of that 15-page intelligence report that said, you know, Congress is the target. Every protest comes up to the Capitol, Congress is the target. But there were so many qualifiers, that it may be dangerous. Now--may--you know, people may come armed. Militia may be there--that a number of qualifiers in it that we now know if it had effectively provided the level of intelligence that we now know existed, that would have been a game changer.

MR. DAVIS: Let's move on to the actual day, because of course that's still burned in everyone's mind, you had been the Capitol Police Chief for about a year-and-a-half that point, and for a quarter-century had been with D.C. Police leading up to that. So, you're certainly, as you said, familiar with large gatherings.

That morning, can you walk us through what felt right, what felt off, what felt any different than you had expected heading into work that day?

MR. SUND: Absolutely. I talk about it in the book in detail because I get up that morning. You know, I talk about the night before, going home, driving through the city, seeing the number of people in the city, the large Trump flags on cars driving around the city.

So, I come home. Next morning, I get up and get my cup of coffee, and I'm driving in and, as usual, I'll call and talk to some of my partner agencies. I called and talked to Robert Glover, who happened to be down by the Ellipse at the time, and you know, he gave me a rundown of what it looked like, large crowds. I believe he described it kind of as a mom-and-pop type of group. Didn't expect any issues right then.

So, as I pulled into the command center--pulled over into my headquarters and went up to the command center, for me, it was looking like just another major event. We knew it was going to go long into the next morning, because we knew there were going to be some objections to various certifications of the vote. So, we anticipated going until probably 9:00-10:00 the next morning, but didn't anticipate what we ended up with that day.

MR. DAVIS: Yeah. You wrote in the book, and there is a great detailed timeline of events of that day in that book, one of the first things you mention there is a tweet sent by then President Trump at 6:00 a.m. where he says, "If Vice President Mike Pence comes through for us, we will win the presidency."

How aware were you of that kind of information that was coming out that day, the president's tweets and other things that were being said that seemed to, later on, we know egged on the crowd?

MR. SUND: Yeah, so, when I started researching the book and started writing the book, that's when I started looking at some of the tweets. At the time, I wasn't getting any of the real-time tweets coming in from the president. And I just thought it was really interesting, the way it kind of fed into the timeline about what the thought process was down at the Executive Branch, 6800 Pennsylvania Avenue, down at the other end of Penn, as we're coming up on the attack, even during the attack.

So, I interlaced a number of tweets from the president throughout the day, throughout my timeline as I do the tick-tock through the attack, because I just think it tells a very interesting story about, you know, kind of what some of the thought processes were down at the White House still trying to pressure the election.

MR. DAVIS: Did you have any insight into what other law enforcement agencies were encountering, you know, stuff that's even taken until the recent few weeks to come out through the January 6th Committee in Congress, that being that the Secret Service was spotting piles of bags at magnetometers that people were leaving behind and that the park police, that radio communication that shows they were being overrun at the Washington Monument hours earlier.

Did you have any of that in real time?

MR. SUND: Yeah, I didn't have that. I did have that--I think it was MPD or park police, one of the two, had gotten somebody with a weapon that may have been in a tree. I did hear something about that, but nothing about the park police being overrun.

Later on, I heard about people leaving bags or having issues at some of the magnetometers going into the Ellipse, or some people not even wanting to go through screening.

MR. DAVIS: And so, when was it really that you felt things were turning, that the tide was turning? There was obviously the--you know, more like the 1:00-2:00 p.m. hour that was so critical, there. Was it that late when things--when they really saw the crowd coming at the Capitol and you realized--take me--walk us through that hour and kind of the key moments for you.

MR. SUND: Yeah, the key moment for me was 12:53 p.m. You know, we were working with a pipe bomb that we had found over at the Republican National Committee just less--right around 10 minutes earlier. So, all that's going on at the time.

You know, and picture this: I'm sitting in the command center. I have kind of a front desk. I have a couple of assistant chiefs to my right, assistant chiefs to my left, and a couple other command staff around. And up at the front of me is probably about a dozen large video screens, all showing different parts of the Capitol grounds. So, I'm sitting there, I'm kind of watching, looking down, listening to the radio. My watch commander walked over a picture of the pipe bomb, which I was looking at. It had the wires, the endcaps and metal pipe and the timer.

And then, somebody yells, there's a large crowd approaching our west front. 12:53 p.m., I will never forget that. I looked up and I saw this large crowd coming from the west across P Circle and Garfield Circle toward our officers on the bike racks that we had talked about being around our perimeter. Within minutes of hitting those officers on the bike rack, it became violent very quickly. I've never seen a protest get that violent, that quickly with officers on a barrier. They immediately started yelling at them, punching at them, pulling the barrier away, dragging officers down the stairs. And at that moment, I knew this was going to be bad.

MR. DAVIS: What was the first thing that you did?

MR. SUND: So, when I saw that, the very first thing I did is I had Chief Thomas, who was in charge of operations, to my right. I looked down, I noticed the officers on the barrier were all wearing kind of soft gear. It wasn't the big helmets, the turtle gear, the vest protectors that we usually receive at CDU. And I turned to him and I said, Chad, where's our CDU? Get our CDU down there, now.

And then, the next thing I did was pick up the phone and call Jeff Carroll with Washington, D.C. Police. I talked to him a little bit earlier about maybe staging some of their CDU in the area. So, I called him at 12:55, and when you remember watching the attack that was occurring as the crowd was coming up the west front, fighting with our officers, you'll see pictures of these bike officers, the MPD officers with the green jackets and the green and black jackets and the bicycle helmets come flooding into the picture, those are the bike units that they had staged over on Constitution Avenue, and thank God they got there. I called Jeff. Within the first two minutes, they came flooding in. And I honestly believe, if those officers hadn't been there, this group would have gotten up to the Capitol much faster and breached it much quicker, possibly trapping members of Congress in their chambers.

Then, my next call, 12:58, went to Paul Irving requesting the assistance, the approval of the National Guard, and this is where it gets important. It gets important that your viewers realize that I am the only chief of police in the United States that has a federal law, a federal law, that prevents me from calling in federal resources, either before an event, like I tried to do on January 3rd, or during an attack like was happening on January 6th, without getting the board, the Capitol Police Board's approval. So, that was my next call.

MR. DAVIS: I'm glad that's one thing that's been changed in the aftermath, here.

Fast forward just a little bit, you're deep into it, then, an hour-and-a-half or so later, and there's this call that my colleagues and I spent a lot of time trying to figure what happened on this call which became kind of this crucible moment of the day, especially with regard to getting the National Guard, getting any other federal resources to the Capitol, other than the FBI, which kind of came in on their own.

But can you tell us about this call. Did you begin it, and what were kind of the key moments going on, here?

MR. SUND: I definitely want to set that call up, because you had mentioned something earlier about the military being so concerned about violence at the Capitol that they talked about locking down the Capitol city and revoking permits on the Hill.

What's interesting about that is the military makes up 9 of the 18 intelligence agencies. They seem to have such level of concern or level of intelligence that they wanted to revoke the permits. But guess what? I'm the one that issues those permits. And guess who they never told? Me.

So, here I am on the day of, 1:50, I call General Walker because I still, from 12:58 through 2:09, you know, I'd been repeatedly calling the Sergeant-at-Arms 11 times trying to find out where we were on my approval while I'm calling--I made 32 calls and I'm bringing in support from other law enforcement agencies. When I called General Walker at 1:50, he said, send me anything you got. I'm waiting for the Capitol Police Board to give me approval. Needless to say, they got approval at 2:09. At 2:34 p.m., I get a notification that the Pentagon wants me on a call. I finally get on the call after a couple of times trying to call in, and on the call is Lieutenant General Walter Piatt, Lieutenant General Charles Flynn, brother of Mike Flynn, is on for part of the time. A number of other military brass, including a Colonel Earl Matthews that'll later become pivotal as he writes a scathing letter endorsing my story and dis--not the general story. And then, the mayor, the mayor's chief of staff, and Robert Contee, the Chief of the Washington, D.C. Police Department.

When I get on the phone, Dr. Rodriguez from D.C. Homeland Security asked me, are you requesting the National Guard? And I will never forget this to this day, I said, yes, this is an urgent, urgent plea for the National Guard. We need them up here immediately. My men and women are getting--you know, getting beat into a pulp. We need them. They had just breached the Capitol at that point.

And I'll never forget this, to this day, Lieutenant General Piatt says, you know, I just don't like the optics of the National Guard on Capitol Hill. I would much rather relieve your personnel from traffic posts and let them get in the fight and we'll take the traffic posts.

I said, I don't have that option. Every officer, every man and woman of the department is in this fight. I need assistance now. This is an urgent, urgent plea.

And again, he keeps going back, well, I just don't like the optics. He keeps referring to the optics of the National Guard or the look of the National Guard on Capitol grounds. And this keeps going in a circle and he keeps wanting to relieve my officers. I said, I don't have that option. I'm pleading, I'm begging--I'm literally almost in tears begging for assistance, knowing the visuals I'm seeing up on the front of this command center, my officers being beaten to a pulp, being dragged around, being hit with bats, being hit with pipes is the same images they're seeing in the Pentagon. They've got large screen TVs. They're watching the national news.

And I'll never forget it. After going in circles a couple of times, he turns and he says to me, my recommendation is not to support your request. I was dumbfounded. Contee then steps in and says, hold on a second, are you denying the Capitol Police request? And again, he goes back to, I just don't like the look of the optics on Capital grounds or the military on Capitol grounds. I'd much rather relieve these people from traffic posts. I said, I don't have that option. I need National Guard assistance now.

I couldn't believe the delay I was facing, and this went on and on and on. And at 2:34--I'm sorry, 2:43, I heard over the radio inside the command center, shots fired in the Capitol; shots fired in the Capitol. At that point, I was infuriated, picked up the phone--you know, I was still on the phone and I said, you know, there's shots fired in the Capitol. Is that urgent enough for you now?

I ended the call because I had to get on the call with the Sergeant-at-Arms and tell them about the shooting that we had and didn't know if the National Guard was coming. They didn't arrive until 5:40 p.m. 5:40 p.m., they finally arrived, 150 of them. And you got to keep in mind, we had 150 National Guard soldiers right down the street from the Capitol, some of them within eyesight. It turns out they had their riot gear with them, and they didn't move from that location.

The kicker is, they finally show up. We put them out on post. The fighting is over, our perimeter is already resecured, we put them out on post, and what do they do? They line up and take a picture with the Capitol in the background, the very optic they didn't want to see.

MR. DAVIS: If those National Guard soldiers had been able to get there in short order, what could they have done at that point in time with the protesters, the rioters kind of mixed in all the way through the Capitol?

There wasn't a line, necessarily, to defend except for eventually trying to push them down the stairs and back out. So, had you thought about--

MR. SUND: So, we had--yeah, so we had set up a lot, Lot 16, which is right across the street from Capitol Police Headquarters, and I talked about how we set up because I've dealt with major events before and critical incidents like active shooters. So, I knew we had resources coming in. I talked to Dave Bowdich over at the FBI about getting some of his personnel in, as well. So, we had a place where we had the resources to respond and we had a system to set up to move them to where they need to be so we can start methodically clearing the Capitol.

We had established three criteria: Secure the Capitol; clear the Capitol; and reestablish our perimeter. So, as the resources came in, that's what we were doing. We were first trying to get inside, push the protesters out, and resecure the building and then resecure the Capitol grounds. So, they were the next-largest cadre of personnel that we had close by, besides the Washington, D.C. Police Department, that could have been a critical resource for us. Think about that, 150--they had 340 National Guard troops activated, but 150 could have been there in short order. That would have been--that would have helped out considerably.

MR. DAVIS: Was there ever a moment where you thought that you might not be able to regain control that day, or that this could become incredibly deadly? Was there a moment perhaps around that first shots fired--but is there one moment that you look back at that is the low point, the nadir, of that day?

MR. SUND: You know, when I first saw them hit the west front at 12:53, I knew it was bad. But as they got up--and people don't realize, it wasn't until 2:11 that the first window of the Capitol got broken. So, 12:53 to 2:11, that's 80 minutes, approximately, that my officers defended every inch of ground. But as that group got closer and closer and closer to the Capitol, I started getting extremely concerned.

And when we saw the big group on the east front that had been forming up then all of a sudden started becoming agitated and violent with my officers and break through and sort of flooding toward the base of the Capitol, that is when I knew things were extremely bad.

MR. DAVIS: So, in the days afterward, basically, you resign. The House Speaker starts that process, kind of calling out you and the Sergeant-at-Arms, saying that we need to start fresh.

Resigning doesn't always happen these days. You know, we've seen a lot of politicians, a lot of folks try to work through scandal and stay in their positions. I know you write that, looking back, you're not sure you should have resigned. But what--I'm curious, what was in your mind when you did resign? There must have been some sense of, I could have done better.

And what do you look at as something that you wish you had done differently heading into January 6th, or on that day? I mean, in addition to the Guard, I suppose one thing we've seen in the inspector-general report and others there were 150-some officers on scheduled leave at the time. There was some old equipment that didn't function that day. Not everything was in the right spots. Not everything could be accessed.

What was going through your head when you said, yeah, I'll step aside? What--

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MR. SUND: Yeah--I was going to say, that's a big, big question. So, when you talk about the equipment--and I talk about the equipment in the book, about my attempts, you know, to get my men and women new equipment when I came on as their assistant chief, going through and identifying it, because their CDU equipment was aging. Everyone didn't have what they call an air purifying respirator. Everyone wasn't issued a helmet.

And I'd been pushing to get budget. And think about it, from--I came in in 2017, January 2017. In 2020, I think it was September or October, we were able to identify $300,000 to buy everybody a riot helmet. Those riot helmets just happened to be coming in on January 6th, ahead of time. Now, post January 6, the department got $106 million influx of money and a budget that--you know, my budget was $464 million. It's now 750, approximately. So, they're not running short on money, which was an issue for me. You'll see it was an issue for the Architect of the Capitol with the physical security. So, I was trying to get those resources in for my men and women.

When Speaker Pelosi went up and called for my resignation, I went through a lot of thought. They gave me a nice two-minute head's up before it, and I talk about that. I had enough time to call my wife, warn her that she was going on it--calling and going on national TV and calling for my resignation. But you know, I had talked to a couple of people that have significant experience on the Hill. I did not want to leave and I'll tell you my men and women were upset. I still have people contact me after reading the book and saying, wow, I finally got to read the book and understand a little bit more about why you resigned. I felt I was being torn away from a department that I truly loved and I developed a lot of comradery with and the morale was starting to improve. So, I thought it was really bad timing.

But you know, with everything that was going on and the speaker going on national TV, one, calling for my resignation and saying there's a failure at the top; but then, going on and saying I haven't even called her, painting me as callous, disrespectful, possibly even complicit in the attack. That bothered me, knowing that I talked to her three times. So, I talked to my wife a little bit more. I talked to some of the people up on the Hill and determined--you know, I'll go ahead and submit my resignation. I didn't feel like I'd done anything wrong. It wasn't that I didn't want the department to linger on anything that may have lingered with the transition or anything. If that's what the speaker wanted, and she's a very powerful person on the Hill, then so be it.

What people don't realize is my separation date was actually supposed to be the 16th so we can work out a transition, you know, get everybody up to speed, you know, do an orderly exit. The very next day on January 8, the acting Senate Sergeant-at-Arms then called me and made my separation effective immediately.

MR. DAVIS: Yeah, I remember reading that part. Happened a little faster than I think you expected.

Is there a--you also write about, you know, looking back, better communication with some of your chiefs on some of these issues, is there a lesson that you would make sure that other law enforcement are hearing about complacency, about even things that, on the face of it, don't necessarily seem any different intelligence-wise than the last thing.

And obviously, you've seen a lot of big protests and other events coming through D.C., looking back, I mean, is there one thing that you would say to other chiefs, you know, in the years to come about that very issue of staying closer to the intelligence, staying closer to your command staff. Is there something there that we should be looking forward--pushing forward?

MR. SUND: You know, when you talk about staying close to my intelligence, you've got to understand, I even had one of the deputy chiefs from my intelligence briefing members of Congress on that Tuesday indicating it was going to be similar to the previous two MAGA events. So, you know, it was tough when the intelligence wasn't portraying exactly what we now know it should have, how bad it was actually going to be.

I would say if I was to give advice to anyone going in, one, if you're going into a position where it could be politically aligned or political oversight for your agency, make sure you know exactly the chain of command, what restrictions you may face in bringing in things. I do think having the right people with the right capabilities in the right places always helps, whether it's intelligence, that may be one. But just, I look back on it, I think the intelligence agencies, mine included, could have done a better job. I think the Department of Defense--and you see that clearly in the book--I was extremely disappointed in their response. And then, when we talk about the oversight structure, you know, any time you have people that aren't experts in security directing you how to handle security, that's a recipe for disaster, especially when it's influenced with politics.

MR. DAVIS: Well, you led me to my last question, because we're almost out of time, but you also write that you're concerned that this could happen again. And I look at just the other day Capitol Police removing the magnetometers from around the House chamber and that being a decision--of course, it's more about politics and the rules that the lawmakers make for any given session.

And there still is this construct with the Capitol Police Board and the Sergeants-at-Arms and others, and Architect of the Capitol involved with making decisions about security. Do you fear that this could happen again, that enough has been done to change the structure? Obviously, we know there has been this law passed now that your successors could call in the National Guard themselves.

But what else, if there's one or two recommendations, do you think should be done?

MR. SUND: Yeah, I think it's interesting you bring up the magnetometers on the House floor. You know, what a lot of people don't realize is that there's magnetometers at every entrance to the Capitol and every one of those entrances, the members of Congress bypass those magnetometers. So, you know, I think, like you'd said, it was politics when they were put in and it was politics when they were pulled out. I don't think it's an impact on security.

Let's see. I think--I'm sorry, what was the other part of that question?

MR. DAVIS: No, that's about it. Just going forward, could it happen again?

MR. SUND: Yeah, going forward, yeah, absolutely, the oversight, you need to work on that. I think the department is finally getting the equipment. You know, getting the training is going to be tough because he's short on personnel, but getting the oversight to where that chief can make a decision. Yes, they passed a law; I'm glad they did. They made it revokable, which is interesting, but they passed that law so it's a step in the right direction. But politics need to get out of security and you need to let the chief make--you know, he's an experienced person. He needs to make security decisions on his own.

And the intelligence, whether it's FBI, DHS, or my own intelligence, needs to portray the level of intelligence that they have much clearer.

MR. DAVIS: Well, thank you so much. Unfortunately, that is all the time that we have. And if you would like to check out what other interviews that we have coming up on Washington Post Live, go to and find out all about our upcoming programs.

Again, I'm Aaron Davis, a reporter here at The Washington Post. Thank you so much for joining us today.

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