CBS NEWS, INTELLIGENCE MATTERS
In this episode of Intelligence Matters, Michael Morell speaks with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operations officer now representing Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Spanberger takes us inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the day it was stormed by a mob of insurrectionists. Spanberger recounts the incursion into the Capitol by Trump supporters and weighs in on who should be held accountable for the riots that day.
The invasion: “There was kind of a frenzied call: “Everybody, put your gas masks on, put your gas masks on.” Then there was a bit of another frenzied call: “OK, in fact, whatever the irritant they’ve put out is not reaching this far.” Take your gas mask off. There were people who were pretty upset making sure that people weren’t going to risk hyperventilation…that’s when these insurrectionists had reached the Capitol floor, the chamber door. So we are there and there are Capitol police officers on the floor barricading up the door to enter the House chamber. With benches and tables and just standing as people on the other side are banging the door, breaking the glass in the door, the doors, a mix of decorative metal and glass and wood breaking through that glass.”
Capitol Police preparedness: “There was a breakdown of communication, there was mass confusion among the things that was notable to me, as there was no accounting of who was who and where people were. You know, there was nobody keeping a roster of where different members of Congress were and where they were holed up. There was no accounting of where, of course, I confirmed where my staff was. But staff members or members of the media, anyone who was in the building to confirm that they were safe and that they were accounted for, none of that happened. I think that that’s an absolute failure, particularly when we were witnessing the mob demonstrating violence, evidently erecting a gallows on the lawn of the Capitol.”
Who should be held accountable? “It is incredibly important that we call the insurrectionist attacks on the United States Capitol at a time when a joint session of Congress was certifying an election exactly what it was — which is a real attempt to undermine our democracy. That it was set forth by the President of the United States or provoked by the President of the United States and supported by the violent and angry and live filled rhetoric of many of my colleagues in the House and in the Senate. We must make note of that because it is important to recognize how these things occur. It didn’t happen in a day. It happened over weeks and weeks when we saw people begin to accept and push conspiracy theories, push conspiracy theories that state after state said, no, this is wrong.”