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Opinion: The truly shocking failures on the day rioters stormed the Capitol

February 24, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 26.3%. 1 min read.

TOPSHOT - Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Tuesday's testimony about the US Capitol riots was disturbing and enlightening, says Jill Filipovic. While no huge new revelations emerged, the hearing sharpened the contours of the story, bringing into focus staggering security, defense and leadership failures.

(CNN)On Tuesday, three of the Capitol police's former top leaders and the acting chief of the Washington, DC police testified before the Senate about the cascading law enforcement failures that occurred on January 6 as rioters stormed the Capitol complex.

"These criminals came prepared for war," said former Capitol Police Chief Steven A.

Sund and other law enforcement officials noted that the rioters seemed to have a basic understanding of how they could strike when law enforcement was at their thinnest, that they came equipped with items that one would not expect to find at a peaceful protest == bear mace, climbing equipment, tactical gear -- and that the attackers appeared to use coordinated hand gestures to communicate.

Two explosives, Sund said, had been placed near the Capitol perimeter, and he believes those may have been intentional distractions to divert law enforcement attention away from the Capitol building as rioters attempted to sack it.

Carneysha Mendoza of the Capitol Police testified that she was gassed with what she believes to be military-grade tear gas that was "mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by the rioters. " Rioters nearly broke her arm, and she sustained chemical burns to the face which still have not healed.

To hear these four men tell it, they were left unprepared and in the dark -- which is not an excuse coming from the Capitol's top law enforcement brass, but certainly raises questions about who else contributed to this deadly ignorance.

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