Several House Republicans complained about the “troubling expansion” of the authority of the United States Capitol Police after the Capitol Police Board requested intelligence about members of Congress, visitors to the Capitol, and other groups that had previously been unmonitored.
While the statutory authority granted to the USCP is broad, we are unaware of any direct statutory authorization for such a dramatic expansion of intelligence collection,” the lawmakers wrote, expressing concerns about the “insider threat awareness program” that would require direct statutory authorization and the implementation of a vigorous oversight system.”
You can read their letter HERE.
The letter comes after Politico reported that the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit recently began investigating the backgrounds of people who met with lawmakers, part of changes the department put in place after the Capitol riot, which took place after a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the United States Capitol on the false premise that the 2020 general election had been stolen.
Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D), one of the lawmakers who signed the letter expressing concerns about the Capitol Police’s practice, said the practices are akin to “spying” on members of Congress.
“Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters,” Armstrong said. “Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately. And I’m not big on calling for resignations.”
The Capitol Police has defended its practices, noting that access to more information will help its employees better understand “what kind and how much security is necessary.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.