Top GOP senators: Capitol Police failing to justify beefed-up security

A group of top Republican senators are pushing for details about the beefed-up security around the Capitol complex, arguing police have f...


A group of top Republican senators are pushing for details about the beefed-up security around the Capitol complex, arguing police have failed to justify the enhanced measures following the Jan. 6 riot.

Five GOP senators, who each hold top committee spots, sent a letter on Friday to Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the Capitol Police, saying they were “concerned” about recent security moves.

“Capitol Police has repeatedly failed to provide specific, credible threat intelligence to adequately justify the current Capitol security posture, which remains disproportionate to the available intelligence,” the senators wrote, pointing to the presence of the National Guard and perimeter fencing.

The letter was signed by Sens. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief to press for Manchin’s support on Colin Kahl | House Dems seek to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police Pentagon chief to press for Manchin’s support on key nominee Overnight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden’s Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels MORE (Okla.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Wave of Senate retirements puts GOP ranks on defense The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE (Ala.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – At 50 days in charge, Democrats hail American Rescue Plan as major win Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Fla.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGeraldo Rivera won’t run for Ohio Senate seat The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – House passes relief bill; Biden set for prime time address Geraldo Rivera says he’s considering running for Senate MORE (Ohio) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGeraldo Rivera won’t run for Ohio Senate seat The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – House passes relief bill; Biden set for prime time address Rubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent MORE (Mo.), the top Republicans on the Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence, Homeland Security and Rules committees, respectively.

The letter is the latest in growing scrutiny from lawmakers about the increased security around the Capitol. The Pentagon announced this week it would extend the presence of nearly 2,300 National Guardsmen at the Capitol through May 23, roughly half of the 5,100 currently stationed there. The deployment was initially expected to end this week. 

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Memo: Nation rallies for Biden on his COVID-19 response Schumer vows quick Senate action on House gun reforms The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – House passes relief bill; Biden set for prime time address MORE (Ky.) also railed against the National Guard presence and the fencing, saying it was “overdone.”

“I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol. With all this razor wire around the complex it reminds me of my last visit to Kabul,” he told reporters Wednesday.

The Capitol Police and top security officials have previously indicated that they are worried the Capitol could be targeted when President BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Nation rallies for Biden on his COVID-19 response Democrats debate fast-track for infrastructure package Japanese prime minister expected to be Biden’s first foreign visit at White House MORE gives a joint address, something that hasn’t yet been scheduled.

Pittman has also indicated that the Capitol’s security needs to be revamped after Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob was able to breach the building. Police have suggested having “permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol.”

The GOP senators said it was “entirely unclear” why the current fencing remains, adding it “sends a terrible message to American citizens, as well as to our allies and adversaries, and it is not a long-term security solution.”

They also said there has been a “lack of evidence” from the Capitol Police for the department’s request that the National Guard continue to maintain a presence around the complex through late May.

The GOP senators are requesting a meeting with Pittman and included several questions in their letter that they want answers to by March 19, including what intelligence the Capitol Police had ahead of Jan. 6, the justification for current fencing, what changes have been made within Capitol Police and if surveillance could replace the National Guard troops.

“We strongly believe that the future of a secure and open Capitol complex lies with internal reform, creative thinking, and improvements made by the Capitol Police, in conjunction with other federal and local civilian law enforcement agencies,” they added.



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