Lawmakers on Monday urged the Capitol Police to start holding regular press conferences to update the public on threats to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 insurrection as part of efforts to increase the force’s transparency.
Reps. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanIntercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill’s momentum Ambitious House lawmakers look for promotions Billionaire Peter Thiel gives million to super PAC backing potential JD Vance Senate bid in Ohio MORE (D-Ohio), the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Capitol Police budget, and Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerHouse Republicans who backed Trump impeachment warn Democrats on Iowa election challenge Hillicon Valley: Democrats push Facebook to ‘take responsibility’ for placement of gun accessory ads | Lawmakers introduce bill allowing Americans to take foreign hackers to court | Malala Yousafzai signs content deal with Apple Lawmakers introduce legislation to allow Americans to take foreign hackers to court MORE (Wash.), the panel’s top Republican, jointly called for security officials to be more forthcoming to regain public trust following the deadly attack on the Capitol.
In a letter to members of the Capitol Police Board, which includes the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the Architect of the Capitol, along with the head of Capitol Police who serves as an ex-officio member, Ryan and Herrera Beutler specifically asked for the public release of a forthcoming Capitol Police inspector general report that’s expected to provide recommendations to avoid a repeat of Jan. 6, as well as regular press conferences to keep the public updated on the Capitol security posture.
Neither the Capitol Police nor any other members of the Capitol Police Board have held any press conferences since Jan. 6.
“[W]e write today to express frustration with your unwillingness to release information to the public or answer media questions regarding the events of January 6th, the current security posture of the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and plans to secure the Capitol Complex in the mid and long-term future,” Ryan and Herrera Beutler wrote.
The lawmakers asked that members of the Capitol Police Board hold press conferences to provide updates on any threats to Congress and progress on efforts to protect the Capitol complex and the people who work and visit there. They added a caveat that they would “fully anticipate that sensitive details would remain confidential but expect USCP to share as much information as possible.”
“In the wake of the January 6th attack that shook the confidence of so many Americans, taking a more open and transparent approach isn’t just the right thing to do, it will be the most effective as we seek to restore citizens’ confidence that the heart of America’s government is secure,” Ryan and Herrera Beutler wrote.
The Capitol Police didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
Two members of the Capitol Police Board are still serving in acting roles after their predecessors resigned in the days after the violent mob of former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden to talk infrastructure amid border, voting controversies Juan Williams: The GOP’s big lie on voting rights Schumer kicks into reelection mode MORE‘s supporters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Yogananda Pittman is still serving as the Capitol Police’s acting chief, while Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer kicks into reelection mode Democrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Panetta’s assessment of Biden’s first days MORE (D-Calif.) announced Friday that she is appointing Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the current chief of the Washington, D.C., National Guard, to serve as the new House sergeant-at-arms.
Capitol security officials last week finished removing the outer perimeter fence that had stretched blocks away from the Capitol and encompassed the House and Senate office buildings. An inner perimeter fence still remains as the Architect of the Capitol makes security repairs to the building.
Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said in a memo to lawmakers and staff before the outer fence came down that security officials determined “there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.”
Capitol security officials had publicly identified at least two potential threats in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the Capitol Police revealed that it had intelligence indicating a possible plot by members of a militia group to breach the Capitol on March 4. Some believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory had falsely identified that date as the “true Inauguration Day” when Trump would be sworn into office for a second time.
That prompted House leadership to recess a day earlier than originally scheduled so that lawmakers wouldn’t have to remain in Washington at the time.
Pittman also testified in late February before the House Appropriations subcommittee led by Ryan that there was intelligence indicating militia groups expressed desires to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible” whenever President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden to talk infrastructure amid border, voting controversies Juan Williams: The GOP’s big lie on voting rights Schumer kicks into reelection mode MORE delivers a joint address to Congress.