Ex-Capitol Police chief blasts Pelosi for distracting Jan. 6 evacuation with daughter filming

Steven Sund, others reacts to Just the News release of Capitol security footage of Pelosi evacuation.

Published: June 1, 2023 11:01pm

Steven Sund, the ex -Capitol Police chief fired after the Jan. 6 tragedy, is blasting former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for hampering   her evacuation from the U.S. Capitol that day by letting her daughter Alexandra film her exit, saying it proved a "distraction" that put unnecessary strain on her security detail.

"When you look at the footage, what you need to realize is a protective detail is specifically for the protectee. You're there, you're protecting the protectee," Sund said on the Just the News Not Noise TV show Thursday night. "Now, Capitol Police statutorily do have the authority to protect family members. And it's my understanding the person holding the camera was Pelosi's daughter. But she's there in the position of being media.

"The protective detail isn't there to protect media and whoever else was there with her for the sole purpose of videotaping creates a major distraction for the protective detail," he added. "You know, they don't train to protect those additional people."

Sund was reacting to newly released Capitol Police security footage obtained by Just the News showing Pelosi's evacuation from the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 where her daughter can be seen filming her for an HBO documentary.

Sund said the filming operation also likely created consequences for the specialized vehicle that was sent to whisk Pelosi to a safe location at Fort McNair, a secretive Army base.

"There's a limited number of seats in the armored vehicles that, you know, if you're going to put one of those additional people into the armored personnel carrier, or the armored vehicle, you're going to lose one of your security detail. And that's not what's meant to happen so it creates a distraction."

There are special rules that members of the press must follow in the U.S. Capitol complex. Members of the press are generally not permitted to film inside most of the U.S. Capitol building aside from areas designated for formal news conferences. However, videotaping is allowed in most of the office buildings.

The footage showed three different camera angles of Pelosi's evacuation the afternoon of Jan. 6. Her daughter Alexandra can be seen roving around her mother's delegation with a camera as they moved briskly through corridors led by members of the U.S. Capitol Police protective detail. Capitol Police confirmed to Congress the woman holding the camera in the footage was Pelosi's daughter, Alexandra.

"They use that situation to film it so that their family can make millions of dollars later by selling the video footage and a documentary," said Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, reacting to the footage of Pelosi. "I believe that is one of the most abusive things."

Former Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee when the riot took place, argued that a Republican congressional leader being filmed by a family member on Jan. 6, 2021 during the evacuation would be treated differently.

"If they had somebody, even a family member, filming them, they would have gotten a subpoena in front of the January 6th select committee," he said.

Spokespersons for Pelosi and her daughter did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Alexandra Pelosi has acknowledged filming her mother that day and using some of the footage in a documentary about her mother that was released on HBO last December called, "Pelosi in the House." 

In January of this year, Alexandra Pelosi said her mother never formally gave her permission to film her for the HBO documentary.

"A lot of it was filmed without her consent. She never gave me permission to film her. A lot of it's filmed on an iPhone. This is what you call vérité, so it's in the moment," she said. "It's just that over the course of many years, I saw interesting things happening and I turned my phone on."

She joked that her mom would not sue her over the documentary.  "She likes me enough that she wouldn't sue me," she said.

On Jan. 7, 2021, Pelosi said that many Capitol Hill staff members were traumatized by the riot a day earlier.

"What's sad about it is, of course, as members of Congress we sign up for the exposure that we have, but to see in the eyes of so many of the staff people especially the younger ones the trauma, the fright that it was for them to be locked into rooms with terrorists banging on the doors, hiding under desks, under tables and the rest of that. They did not sign up for that. We did not sign them up for that," she said at a news conference the day after the riot.

"It's a blessing to be interested in public service, to learn from it here, perhaps to go on into public service but to carry that important value into whatever they do in life but to see, to meet with them and to see how frightened they were, how traumatized they were, because these thugs, these Trump thugs, decided they would desecrate the Capitol with no thought of what harm they might do physically, psychologically or any other way. And they will be prosecuted. Justice will be done," she added.

Kash Patel, an attorney who served as chief of staff to the acting U.S. secretary of defense, said the footage that Pelosi's daughter used in her documentary from Jan. 6, including the video taken at Fort McNair, was not appropriate. 

"Their judgment is based on what their judgment has always been and that is the Hollywoodization and the politicization of the national security apparatus and politics when it suits them," he said. "This video, had it been done by me or say Devin Nunes or Donald Trump would have been excoriated for exposing national security secrets, safe passage exits and entry points."

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., said the security footage captured more evidence of Pelosi and Democrats trying to politicize tragedy and security.

“It’s all about creating a movie script. It’s all about power, abuse of power,” Tenney said.

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