There remain many questions about the U.S. Capitol Police and how its officers acted during the riot there on Jan. 6, 2021. One officer shot and killed an unarmed protester, likely without issuing any warning, even though her most offensive offense likely was trespassing.
There also are video clips of officers opening the doors for protesters who entered and took selfies, and then were charged with crimes. Others, a relatively small group, broke windows and did other vandalism.
But now a report in the Federalist reveals that in the wake of the violence, the police department may have been "inappropriately surveilling elected members of Congress, their staff, and visitors to their offices."
The publication explained it has learned the inspector general for the USCP has opened a formal investigation into the behavior of "the law enforcement agency tasked with security the Capitol."
The review, the report said, follows "news reports and accusations from lawmakers that USCP has overstepped its bounds as it tries to recover from the January 6 riots that tarnished both the Capitol and the reputation of the law enforcement agency that was supposed to keep it safe."
The department's chief, J. Thomas Manger, confirmed the investigation in comments to members of Congress.
"While I am confident in our methods, I am asking the USCP Office of the Inspector General to review the USCP’s programs related to these security assessments to assure both this committee, the Congress as a whole, and the public that these processes are legal, necessary, and appropriate," he said in a written response to GOP lawmakers who raised questions about the actions.
Politico had explained in a report that one Capitol Police official, Julie Farnam, had insisted that officers do "background checks" on people that were meeting with lawmakers, including donors.
"When staff were listed as attending these meetings, Capitol Police intelligence analysts also got asked to check the social media accounts of the staffers," Politico had charged.
While Manger said the department's actions are all just fine, there are reasons for the concern, the report explained.
"Suspicions that USCP may not be acting appropriately did not arise in a vacuum, however. In November 2021, a USCP officer entered the congressional office of Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Tex., and took a photo of a whiteboard in Nehls’ legislative office detailing various legislative plans being considered by Nehls and his staff. In a formal police report filed several days after the incident, the officer wrote that he had been conducting a routine security patrol on Saturday, November 21, and discovered that one of the doors to Nehls’ office was open."
The officer apparently saw a whiteboard that contained mention of a federal government contractor who defrauded the government by supplying Chinese-made body armor.
The case included a guilty plea from a 32-year-old who admitted wire fraud, the report said.
But the mention on the whiteboard ended up being the focal point of a discussion in the Capitol Police agency, the report said.
Manger said officers also were concerned by an "outline of the Rayburn Building with an X marked at the C Street entrance," which Nehls' office spokesman said was a crude map to help an intern find an ice machine.
"If Capitol Police leadership had spent as much time preparing for January 6 as they spent investigating my white board, the January 6 riot never would have happened," Nehls, a former law enforcement officer, said in the Federalist report. "When I was a patrol officer responding to a call, I didn’t have the time or authority to go rifling through someone’s personal papers. There are serious 4th Amendment, constitutional issues at play here."
While Manger claimed the cops were worried the references were a "veiled threat" to the member of Congress, that essentially was debunked when Nehls confirmed they never contacted him with any warning.
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and dozens of others wrote to Pelosi about the issue.
The letter said, "According to the [Politico] report, Capitol Police is monitoring the online activity of congressional staff and individuals who meet with members of Congress. … If true, these allegations are serious violations of Americans’ civil rights and civil liberties. Our constituents have the right to petition Congress and they should exercise this right without fear that the Capitol Police will scrutinize their property taxes, social media, or relationships."
Nehls had noted a staff member caught police officers, in plain clothes, inside his office without the congressman's knowledge and they were photographing "confidential legislative produces."
The officers returned later, while Congress was in recess, to try to enter his office again, he said.
The Federalist reported a source confirmed "that rather than addressing the massive security and intelligence failures by USCP that allowed the post-election protests to spiral into riots, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead doubled down on failure and used the uproar as a pretext for turning the Capitol Police into her own force of political mercenaries."
The suspicions, the report said, are that "Pelosi is using the January 6 proceedings to justify increased surveillance of her political enemies in Congress."
Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., pointed out there remain "too many unanswered questions. The Capitol Police have a lot of explaining to do."
He said, "My main concern is that the entire Capitol Police board structure is dependent on political leadership to make security decisions. Security decisions are being made based on politics, not on real data."
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., warned that Pelosi is using the House's January 6 committee as a political weapon.
"It’s painfully clear to all of us that the sham January 6 commission is not at all interested in making the Capitol safer or preventing something like January 6 from ever happening again,” Banks said. “It’s clear that the January 6 commission is just a witch hunt against the political enemies of Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney."
It was a former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, who has pointed out that as Pelosi's job was "to ensure that there was adequate police" on duty that day.
And if there's weren't enough officers, it was her job as speaker to "ensure that the National Guard was there."
So logically, she should be testifying about those failures in any review of that day's events, he said.
The Associated Press reported Jan. 7 that three days before the breach of the Capitol, the Pentagon asked Capitol Police, who report to Pelosi and others, if the department needed National Guard manpower. Further, amid the riot, Justice Department leaders offered FBI agents.
But police turned them down both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter who spoke to the AP.
In February, one-time White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said President Trump had offered ahead of the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress "as many as 10,000 National Guard troops," which were declined.
The riot developed when a few dozens or hundreds from a crowd of thousands broke windows to enter the building, take selfies, and vandalize.
Some 700 people have been charged, mostly with crimes like trespassing.
They were protesting Congress' schedule that day to vote to accept Joe Biden as president, following an election that two analyses have concluded was impacted by Democrat activism.
First, a study revealed that Mark Zuckerberg's $420 million, handed over to leftists in key positions in elections offices with instructions often to recruit Democrat voters, essentially bought the election for Biden.
Further, the Media Research Center found in an analysis that enough people would have changed their vote away from Biden had legacy and social media not suppressed accurate reporting about scandals involving the Biden family that he would have lost the vote and President Donald Trump would be in office today.
Gingrinch said, "So a lot of this, I think, is a dance by the Democrats, who don’t want us to look very closely at what actually happened.
"If you’ll notice, the political committee they’ve created is, in fact, only looking at political things. They’re not looking at the various ringleaders who’ve not been arrested. They’re not looking at a lot of the details about whether or not the FBI was as involved as provocateurs.
"We know, for example, in Michigan that the FBI was deeply involved in creating an entire project to kidnap the governor, and then pretend it was being done by White nationalists, when in fact all the leading figures were FBI activists.
"So there’s reason to question everything about what happened on Jan. 6.
"Again, as a former speaker, I was deeply offended that anybody would do what they did on the Capitol grounds, but as a former speaker I was also really offended that the current speaker, Pelosi, failed so totally in her job, which was to make sure this didn’t happen."
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