The French police official detailed multiple lapses they believe were systematic.
Large crowds of protestors needed to be managed far earlier in the process by police, who instead controlled a scene at the first demonstration Trump addressed then ignored the crowd as it streamed towards the Capitol.
"It should have been surrounded, managed and directed immediately and that pressure never released." Because the crowd was not managed and directed, the official said the protestors were able to congregate unimpeded around the Capitol itself, where the next major failure took place. "It is unthinkable there was not a strong police cordon on the outskirts of the complex. Fences and barricades are useless without strong police enforcement. This is when you start making arrests, targeting key people that appear violent, anyone who attacks an officer, anyone who breaches the barricade. You have to show that crossing the line will fail and end in arrest."
"I cannot believe the failure to establish a proper cordon was a mistake. These are very skilled police officials but they are Federal and that means they ultimately report to the president. This needs to be investigated."
"When the crowd reached the steps of the building the situation was over. The police are there to protect the building from terrorist attacks, and crime, not a battalion of infantry. That had to be managed from hundreds of meters away unless the police were willing to completely open fire and I can respect why they were not."
'Thank god it didn't work because I can't imagine how hard it would be to sanction the US financial system'
The third official, who works in counter-intelligence for a NATO member, agreed that the situation could only be seen as a coup attempt, no matter how poorly considered and likely to fail, and that its implications might be too huge to immediately fathom.
"Thank god it didn't work because I can't imagine how hard it would be to sanction the US financial system," said the official. By sanctions, he means the imposition of the usual diplomatic, military, and trade blockages that democratic nations usually reserve for dictatorships.
"The broader damage around the world will be extensive in terms of reputation and that's why Putin doesn't mind at all that Trump lost. He's got to be happy to take his chips and count his winnings, which from the Trump-era will be a shockingly quick decline in American prestige and moral high ground."
"Every moment the Americans spend on their own self-inflicted chaos helps China, it helps Putin and to a lesser extent it helps the mini-dictators like [Turkish President Tayyip] Erdogan and [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban, who breathe cynicism about politics, human rights and democracy as their air," said the official. "They won't miss Trump, they'll be glad to see his drama leave so they can enjoy the poisoned political climate."