Skip to Content

Former FBI agent reacts to law enforcement at Capitol riots, imminent investigations

Rioters walk through Statuary Hall
CBS News

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Former FBI special agent and current Allan Hancock College political science professor Dan Payne knows law enforcement and Washington, D.C. well.

He was once a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, or "The Old Guard," providing security on the streets of D.C. during protests and riots in 1960s.

He reacted to Wednesday's attack on the Capitol with dismay, labeling the pro-Trump rioters as "anarchists" and "domestic terrorists."

Despite widespread criticism of Capitol Police, Payne did not blame them for the massive infiltration of the building. He compared law enforcement's task of handling a riot to "corralling smoke on a windy day."

"The Capitol Police did everything they could, they were just overwhelmed," Payne said Thursday. "They fought valiantly with what they had available to them to protect the building. They’re not a military force.”

Payne believes the Capitol Police were caught by surprise when the president called on his supporters to march on the Capitol building in his speech earlier Wednesday.

“I don’t think anybody expected the President of the United States to say ‘Let’s march on the Capitol… Once we get there, a peaceful confrontation is a sign of cowardice,’” he said.

Payne also speculates the Trump administration did not deploy militarized National Guard troops earlier in the day because they

Unlike states in the union, deploying the National Guard in Washington D.C. requires action from the Trump administration.

"The administration felt that Black Lives Matter were a direct threat to them," Payne said. "They wanted a military presence out there, they wanted a show of force [then]... Yesterday, it was their people that were rioting. The people that carried their cause. The followers of the president. And [the administration] didn't want to show that they were putting them down with the military."

Payne also spoke about the directions the FBI and other agencies could take in prosecuting those who breached the Capitol. He references security cameras throughout the building, as well as a plethora of videos taken by civilians, media members and the rioters themselves.

Those involved in the riots face misdemeanors like breaking and entering up to serious charges like sedition.

Payne predicts a "tumultuous" final two weeks of Trump's presidency, but is doubtful that there will be enough support from the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, or from Congress to successfully impeach the president.

Payne said he "would not be surprised" if Trump attempts to pardon those who participated in the Capitol attack, though later Thursday the president spoke out against the violence.

Crime / Politics / Santa Barbara - South County / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
Author Profile Photo

Ryan Fish

Ryan Fish is a reporter, sports anchor and forecaster for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

Skip to content