The Capitol security clearance recommends major changes after the riot

House legislators will be informed on Monday of a new security clearance that will bring far-reaching changes to the U.S. Capitol after the January 6 uprising. The final report calls for the recruitment of more than 1,000 Capitol Police officers, a dedicated rapid response force, and the installation of retractable fences around the complex as drafted by CBS News.

The study was led by former Hurricane Katrina Commander and retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, and a task force composed of other former senior military officials.

The 15-page document attempts to streamline the chain of command thereafter significant delays in the use of the National Guard during the uprising.

It is proposed that the US Capitol Police be given the authority to seek assistance from the National Guard and outside law enforcement agencies without prior authorization from the Capitol Police Board under “exceptional emergency” situations.

The board of directors overseeing the department consists of the NCOs of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the architect of the Capitol and the chief of police of the Capitol. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told lawmakers in a Senate hearing last month that he had requested the National Guard two days before the uprising but his request was denied by the House Sergeant at Arms. Capitol architect Brett Blanton testified in a separate hearing that he was never contacted about the request.

Another recommendation is that the Department of Defense policies be amended to allow the head of the DC National Guard to retain emergency authority to quell major civil unrest. Commanding General William Walker told a joint Senate committee last week that he had left guardsmen on buses while awaiting clearance from the Pentagon to be deployed at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“At that point, seconds mattered, minutes mattered, and I had to be ready to get them there as soon as possible,” Walker testified.

The report also cites internal communication problems between the ordinary Capitol Police officers who were on the scene during the attack.

“Without earphones, many officers were unable to hear or understand radio communications due to the overwhelming noise of the crowd,” the report said. “Each officer must be provided with earphones as part of their uniform and instructed to wear them. This should not be optional.”

US POLICE UNREST CAPITOL EXTREMISM
Members of the National Guard are seen near the U.S. Capitol Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 3, 2021

ERIC BARADAT / AFP via Getty Images


The task force recommends officers wear body cameras and suggests expanding the K9 division and restoring the horse-mounted police unit.

The group also suggests improved security for Congress members when they travel to their home districts.

When asked by CBS News if it supports the results, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi admitted that additional funding will be required.

“We will envision the fuller body and at some point make decisions about what is feasible,” she said. “It will cost more money to protect the Capitol so that people can come here.”

Pelosi commissioned the Honore Review, which primarily focuses on security on the Capitol house side. House minority chairman Kevin McCarthy and other House Republicans criticized the selection of the retired general to lead the investigation, citing earlier statements that Capitol police officers were involved in the riot.

“While there may be some worthy recommendations, General Honore’s notorious partisan bias questions the rationale of appointing him to head this important security clearance,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Honore and other members of the January 6th task force will brief members of both parties in three separate meetings on Monday.


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