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House Republicans warn the U.S. Capitol is no more secure a year after the deadly Jan. 6 attack, slamming House Democrats for failing to implement proposed security reforms and instead focusing on their “partisan” investigation into the origin of the incident.
The top Republican on the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Rodney Davis, penned a memo to GOP colleagues Monday titled: “One Year Later, Little Has Changed.”
“In the coming days you are going to be hearing a lot of noise and narratives about what transpired at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and what the cause of those things may or may not be,” Davis wrote. “The most important question to answer from that day remains, why was the Capitol so unprepared?”
Davis wrote that there are “important facts that cannot be ignored about what occurred before, during, and after that day,” saying that Democrats on the Jan. 6 Committee are “no closer to finding out what led to the catastrophic security failure,” and instead are hellbent to “attack President Trump and punish anyone associated with him.”
Davis wrote that the select committee has “wasted taxpayer dollars by spending months going after their political rivals and holding them in criminal contempt when they refuse to meet every spurious demand of the committee,” and noted that the committee subpoenaed more than 50 people for depositions and subpoenaed phone and bank records.
“It is all about politics for the Select Committee,” Davis wrote.
The House Select Committee has held former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows and adviser Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for failing to fully comply with subpoenas as part of their probe.
But Davis noted that in the days following the attack on Capitol Hill, House Republicans “issued preservation and production orders” to the U.S. Capitol Police, the House Sergeant at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol and the House Chief Administrative Officer for all documents related to the Capitol’s security preparedness status on Jan. 6, and the events of that day. Davis noted those entities have “refused to comply.”
As for security measures, Davis said the Capitol Police Inspector General issued “104 recommendations for changes the department should implement post-January 6.”
“Most have not been implemented,” he wrote. “Nothing has changed to make the Capitol campus safer from future attacks. Instead, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have focused their time and attention on going after former President Trump and those associated with him – even if those associates are their own colleagues.”
Davis called the Jan. 6, 2021 attack an “avoidable security failure that we can never allow to happen again.”
“We will not give up in our efforts to get to the bottom of those failures, ensure accountability, and make any necessary improvements to the security of the Capitol complex,” Davis wrote.
Nearly a year after the Capitol attack, more than 130 Capitol Police officers have left the department. The Capitol Police, at this point, is nearly 400 officers short of its authorized level.
FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. A month ago, the U.S. Capitol was besieged by Trump supporters angry about the former president’s loss. While lawmakers inside voted to affirm President Joe Biden’s win, they marched to the building and broke inside. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
USCP Chief Thomas Manger said that the COVID-19 pandemic also shut down the National Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy for 10 months in 2020, essentially putting a pause on new recruits.
“Between not being able to put any academy classes through the prior year, with the attrition, the way it’s been over the past year, we’re now really about 400 officers short of where we need to be and that’s a pretty critical issue for us,” Manger said.
Manger said that the agency has had to shift resources in order to address the increasing number of threats made against Congress in recent years.
Despite the remaining challenges, Manger said the agency now has the authority to request resources, such as the D.C. National Guard and area law enforcement agencies – improvements that the chief says could help ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.
“The fact that we have the authority to call out the National Guard, the fact that we have formal processes in place to get additional resources from area law enforcement agencies, is a big improvement, and we believe it would have prevented something like January 6 from happening,” he said.
Manger also proposed that contract security guards join the force at “secondary posts,” like garages and other areas USCP leadership believed did not require an armed Capitol Police officer.
“We think that if we are able to put contract security guards at some of those posts, that will free up a number of sworn police officers and we can assign them to where they are needed and where we require actually an armed Capitol Police officer,” Manger said on Fox News Sunday.
The proposal, though, was met with criticism from the Capitol Police Union, telling Politico it is a “recipe for disaster.”
The union chairman, Gus Papathanasiou, in a statement on Monday said that officers have “never seen a threat environment like this and given the profound division in this country, this may very well be our new normal.”
“My biggest fear right now is a lack of manpower to meet the rising threat levels,” he said. “The USCP is authorized to have 2,072 officers. On January 6th, we were 233 officers below that level.”
He added that officers are “exhausted,” and that the “lack of manpower” has increased daily mission requirements, meaning officers face “ongoing 6-7 day work weeks and constant double shifts.”
“Our officers believe in their mission, but there is a breaking point,” he said, urging Congress to “act soon.”
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell left, and U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn stand after the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik, Pool)
(AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Meanwhile, Davis noted that the USCP also has not fully implemented an intelligence priority framework, which he said would ensure a more effective analysis of Incoming threat information. He also wrote that not all physical infrastructure at the Capitol has been replaced or upgraded.
“If Democratic leadership was serious about doing everything possible to prevent another event like January 6th they would be focusing their time and energy ensuring these known identified deficiencies were being addressed,” Davis wrote. “They would be holding public hearings to ensure proper oversight of those responsible for implementing the recommendations that would make the Capitol more secure.”
A spokesperson for Pelosi did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
“Instead, their entire focus has been on settling political scores and creating a distraction that takes the institution further from answering the most important question that is: Why was the Capitol so unprepared for January 6th?” Davis added.
Davis went on to provide colleagues with a timeline, beginning on Jan. 8, 2021, of his committee’s efforts to improve Capitol security — including hearings, meetings with National Guard leaders, letters to House Speaker Pelosi, information requests, and more.
Davis, in October, also announced the launch of a whistleblower webpage for USCP and House Sergeant at Arms officers, offering a “confidential outlet to report issues.”
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