Politics

Review Of Capitol Riot Urges More Police, Mobile Fencing


The Jan. 6 insurrection exposed major Capitol security failures, and a review by a task force led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré is urging Congress to revamp its security apparatus by adding hundreds of new police officers, creating a quick reaction force and installing a new fencing system.

Honoré and other members of the task force will host three bipartisan briefing sessions for lawmakers on Monday at the Capitol to discuss their findings and draft recommendations.

The six-week review, which ran through Friday, also highlighted the vast shortfalls that Capitol Police faced during the siege. Officers were understaffed and under-resourced, left without earpieces or riot gear in many cases as they fought the Capitol attackers, the report said.

The report also highlighted that the force is not equipped to track intelligence at the scale of the attack seen on Jan. 6, the report said.

"The USCP is not postured to track, assess, plan against, or respond to this plethora of threats due to significant capacity shortfalls, inadequate training, immature processes, and an operating culture that is not intelligence-driven," the report said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., directed the review on Jan. 22 and tapped Honoré, citing his expertise responding to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and knowledge of the Washington region. She directed him to "subject this whole complex to scrutiny."

The task force said it met with federal, state and local law enforcement officials, including military officials, and congressional members and staff.

The 13-page report recommended that the Capitol Police should hire 854 more officers — adding to their current total of more than 2,000 law enforcement personnel.

Other recommendations include:

The plan to expand member protection comes after acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman told lawmakers in a hearing last week that the first two moths of 2021 saw a 94% increase in threats to members compared to the same period a year ago. Also, Pittman said from 2017 to 2020, there has been a 119% increase in overall threats, with the majority of suspects from outside the Washington area.

The report highlighted weak spots for the U.S. Capitol Police, which has only a narrow group responsible for intelligence concerns. And it goes on to urge the increase of trained analysts to support the agency's threat intelligence requirements.

This larger team must standardize its intelligence processes and will require regular training, modern analytic tools, secure workstations and classified workspace to function capably, the report said.

"Only a handful of people in the USCP have significant intelligence training," it said. "The understaffed Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division (IICD) lacks the experience, knowledge, and processes to provide intelligence support against emerging domestic threats."

Read the full report below.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California has raised concerns regarding the report, and Honoré. The two had met last Wednesday after the report was completed, McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy called his appointment "partisan," and said Honoré had made past statements that signaled he was biased against Capitol Police and raised questions on why Pelosi appointed him. Honoré told McCarthy any such statement was made prior to his appointment, McCarthy said.

"What I communicated to the Task Force is that the main problem with Capitol Police is its management structure. Structure dictates behavior, and a Capitol Police Board dominated by political appointees is no way to maintain the security of the Capitol," McCarthy said. "While there may be some worthy recommendations forthcoming, General Honoré's notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead this important security review. It also raises the unacceptable possibility that the Speaker desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress."

Pelosi had previously told her colleagues in a February letter earlier this year that Honoré was assessing the Capitol's security needs by reviewing what happened on Jan. 6 and "how we must ensure that it does not happen again."

Pelosi had received an interim update on Jan. 28 that covered operational readiness, interagency cooperation and security infrastructure to consider the need for an emergency supplemental funding bill to address new efforts.

"As we prepare for the Commission, it is also clear from General Honoré's interim reporting that we must put forth a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol," Pelosi wrote her colleagues in the Feb. 15 letter.

This comes as several congressional committees have launched probes as well, completing about half dozen hearings so far looking into the Capitol attack and responses by the Capitol Police, the Defense Department and others to the insurrection.

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