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Sunday, July 11, 2021

UPDATED: On The Capitol Police Going National

Nick Arama at Red State has written an article expressing serious concerns about recent developments concerning the United States Capitol Police. Arama is especially concerned with the planned use by the USCP of military supplied surveillance equipment:


That Troubling Expansion of Capitol Police Gets Even Worse With Tech They Plan to Use


We previously reported on the troubling expansion of satellite offices of the Capitol Police being planned across the country.

Unlike other federal government-related police which are subject to FOIA and part of the executive branch, the Capitol Police are under the control of Congress and not subject to FOIA. So, basically you have a police force controlled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spreading out across the country.

I’m not a conspiracy fan, but you don’t have to be to find that problematic.

Now, there’s more that is setting off the alarm bells in my head.

Not only will they be setting up across the country, starting first with offices in California and Florida, but they will have military surveillance equipment as they become “an intelligence based protective agency,” ...


I'll readily admit that I found this problematic enough to do a bit of research on the USCP--pretty minimal research, actually. First off, I looked the organization up in Wikipedia, wanting to know the origins of this agency. I learned this:


The history of the United States Capitol Police dates back to 1801 when Congress moved from the city of Philadelphia to the newly constructed Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. At the time, Congress appointed one watchman to protect the building and Congressional property.

The police were formally created by Congress in 1828 following the assault on John Adams II, the son of John Quincy Adams, in the Capitol rotunda. The United States Capitol Police had as its original duty the provision of security for the United States Capitol.

Its mission has expanded to provide the congressional community and its visitors with a variety of security services. These services are provided through the use of a variety of specialty support units, a network of foot and vehicular patrols, fixed posts, a full-time Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT), K-9, a Patrol/Mobile Response Division and a full-time Hazardous Devices and Hazardous Materials Sections.


I also learned that the USCP has its own Office of Inspector General ()OIG--a "legislative agency", which reports to the Capitol Police Board, the governing body for the USCP. Again, all this was totally new to me. 

Next I looked up the Capitol Police Board, to learn more about its governing structure. I reproduce here the entire entry, because it pertains directly to Arama's statement that the USCP is "a police force controlled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi". It appears that that assertion is simplistic at best:


The Capitol Police Board is the body that governs the United States Capitol Police. It was established in 1873, and today consists of three voting members: the Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives, the Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol. Additionally, the chief of the Capitol Police serves ex officio as a non-voting member. The chairmanship of the board alternates annually between the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms.


All of this was news to me, I freely confess. I've never had any reason to learn about this previously. Finally, with regard to the jurisdiction of the USCP, I looked up the enabling statute, which I reproduce in its entirety:


2 U.S. Code § 1966 - Protection of Members of Congress, officers of Congress, and members of their families

(a) Authority of the Capitol Police

Subject to the direction of the Capitol Police Board, the United States Capitol Police is authorized to protect, in any area of the United States, the person of any Member of Congress, officer of the Congress, as defined in section 4101(b) of this title, and any member of the immediate family of any such Member or officer, if the Capitol Police Board determines such protection to be necessary.

(b) Detail of police

In carrying out its authority under this section, the Capitol Police Board, or its designee, is authorized, in accordance with regulations issued by the Board pursuant to this section, to detail, on a case-by-case basis, members of the United States Capitol Police to provide such protection as the Board may determine necessary under this section.

(c) Arrest of suspects

In the performance of their protective duties under this section, members of the United States Capitol Police are authorized (1) to make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony; and (2) to utilize equipment and property of the Capitol Police.

(d) Fines and penalties

Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs, resists, or interferes with a member of the Capitol Police engaged in the performance of the protective functions authorized by this section, shall be fined not more than $300 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(e) Construction of provisions

Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to imply that the authority, duty, and function conferred on the Capitol Police Board and the United States Capitol Police are in lieu of or intended to supersede any authority, duty, or function imposed on any Federal department, agency, bureau, or other entity, or the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, involving the protection of any such Member, officer, or family member.

(f) “United States” defined

As used in this section, the term “United States” means each of the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and territories and possessions of the United States.

(July 31, 1946, ch. 707, § 9A, as added Pub. L. 97–143, § 1(a)Dec. 29, 198195 Stat. 1723.)


So, I conclude that the expansion of the USCP to satellite offices throughout the United States is authorized, more or less in the same way that the protective function of the US Secret Service is. Designating the USCP as "intelligence based" seems to accord with the responsibility of the Capitol Police Board to "provide such protection as the Board may determine necessary"

On the other hand, I would express the concern that the governing structure of the USCP appears to me to be antiquated and entirely inadequate to the new and expanded functions of the agency. These developments do, or so I would argue, threaten a politicization of the USCP that it has hitherto avoided.

UPDATE: It seems that I'm getting pushback on this post--although no commenters really take issue with the substance of what I wrote.

Just to be clear--I'm not saying the expansion of the USCP to opening offices in the states and acquiring surveillance equipment is a good idea. The House GOP, at least, is on record as considering it a bad idea--they voted unanimously against this development, but without (as far as I know) suggesting that these developments are unlawful. And that's what I'm saying: nothing that's being done appears to be unlawful.

Please note in that regard: The USCP was formed long ago, in 1828. The governing statute dates back to 1946. It presumes some degree of intelligence gathering, such as any LE organization undertakes, in order to decide if any members of Congress require protection.

Further, the law specifies a nationwide jurisdiction, even though the establishment of satellite offices is a new thing.

The huge enlarging of the USCP budget does not involve any expansion of its authority. That is still limited by the law that I've included above in full. That's why I pasted the entire law into this post.

The GOP can remedy any part or all of this if they regain control. I recommend not holding your breath, however.

Commenter Bebe has pasted in lengthy excerpts of articles that allege that Congress has set up "another unaccountable intelligence agency." This is not correct. There is no intelligence agency in the United States that is "unaccountable." All are accountable to Congress through the normal oversight process and, to some extent, to the Courts. If these agencies are not held accountable in this manner, our Constitution specifies elections as the only recourse. I'm sorry--I didn't write the Constitution and have no influence when it comes to possible amendments to the Constitution. Unlike me, We The People seem not to see any need for reform. Nevertheless, I repeat: It is simply not correct to say that a new and unaccountable intelligence agency has been formed. The USCP is still subject to the same law as cited above. As long as the voting public is apathetic about such matters or continues in thrall to romantic notions of "American exceptionalism," I see no likelihood of reform.

Commenter Daddy29 maintains that the USCP has been politicized for "quite some time"--which by his accounting seems to mean: since January 6, 2021. IMO, six months or so doesn't qualify as "quite some time", especially with regard to an organization that has been in existence since 1828. 


38 comments:

  1. Please keep in mind that the sergeant at arms is assigned that role by the Speakers of the House and Senate. In other words, they owe their position to Pelosi and Schumer. Given this fact, this move to expand should scare the hell out of everyone! If you want to keep your job and power, do as I say....nothing could possibly go wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can find a list of the Sergeants at Arms of the Senate here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_at_Arms_of_the_United_States_Senate

      Please note that very few have served for more than two years. The one recent SaA who served for an extended period, 7 years, was Terrance Gainer. He was a former GOP candidate for Cook County States Attorney. He was appointed by arch-Dem Harry Reid, not known for his bi-partisan instincts. Read about Gainer here:


      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrance_W._Gainer

      Read about the House SaA here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_at_Arms_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives

      In the House the SaA is elected. They tend to be former pro LE and/or military.

      Delete
  2. Umnnhhh....the USCP has been "politicized" for quite some time. How do I know?

    Easy! No punishment for executing US citizens without cause or warrant.

    NOW they are "politicized."

    ReplyDelete
  3. From American Thinker:

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/07/nationalizing_the_capitol_police.html

    Article writer winds up with this:

    Tayler Hansen went on to say, “With a Nancy Pelosi commission, I can only imagine what a politically weaponized police force will do.” Unfortunately, we don’t have to use our imaginations. The Nazi Party came into power in Germany in January of 1933. By the following summer, it was illegal to belong to any other political party. Without the newly nationalized German police force, it wouldn’t have been possible.

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  4. From Clarice Feldman’s Sunday column:

    Another Unaccountable Intelligence Agency was Just Created

    In a press release, the Capitol Police, a largely patronage operation designed to protect the Capitol, just received a large boost in its already substantial budget to build regional offices in California and Florida and then in other regions “to investigate threats to members of Congress.

    Reason shares my concern about yet another spying operation:

    "The department does not need to become yet another unaccountable intelligence agency involved in the dubious and often nakedly political project of conducting widespread surveillance on the American people. Opening field agencies and monitoring "threats to members of Congress" are actions that dilute the Capitol Police's very clear mandate to guard the Capitol building. The FBI, National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Homeland Security, and CIA are already empowered to investigate threats to political leaders; the federal government does not need to hire additional spymasters for this purpose, especially given that the agencies burdened with doing so have tended to violate the rights of innocent Americans."

    But make no mistake: The Capitol Police has every intention of becoming just like the FBI and the NSA.

    Even worse, as the Capitol Police force is considered part of Congress, it is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act which means its operations are not transparent or accountable. That’s what has so far kept it from having to divulge the name of the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt.


    Scroll down at this url:

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/07/you_are_now_in_the_totalitarian_zone.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Capitol Police, a department shrouded in secrecy
    The police entity charged with protecting and securing Congress is not subject to FOIA requests


    https://www.rollcall.com/2020/06/15/capitol-police-a-department-shrouded-in-secrecy/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bebe, are you disagreeing with anything I said? If so, please specify.

      Delete
    2. No. Just articles from fairly well-known sources with the writers’ takes on this planned expansion of the Capitol Police. Posted for whatever informative value they might offer. No pushback intended. The accountability issue seems to be a sticking point as the CP are run by the Capitol Police Board which could certainly be politicized. It’s also pretty clear that anything Nancy Pelosi produces is suspect. She has earned that.

      Delete
    3. None of these sources appear to have done much homework. Re USCP being "shrouded in secrecy", I don't like it either, but the law that governs the agency does spell out exactly what their jurisdiction is. One doesn't see articles about the Congress, "a Legislative Branch shrouded in secrecy," but that IS very much the case. USCP is very much small potatoes compared to that.

      Delete

  6. I'm no lawyer so my remarks are probably naive, but needs to be said anyway.

    Police power is constitutionally reserved to the states, not the federal government (10th Amendment). So the capitol police are probably unconstitutional in the first place. It was my impression that Washington D.C.'s unique status as not-a-state served as the loophole allowing the formation capitol police.

    The capitol police operating outside of D.C., if allowed at all, should be fully subservient to the local authorities. That the people cannot directly choose the Speaker of the House nor the Senate Majority Leader means that the people have no control whatever over this police force.

    We've seen how the FBI operates under the supervision of the President and we've seen how the House and Senate operate under their self-selected leaders, imagining the capitol police operating without local supervision is frightening as well as abhorrent.

    mso

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    1. "Police power is constitutionally reserved to the states, not the federal government (10th Amendment)."

      That's simply untrue.

      "Police power"--for purposes of US law--is a technical term that refers to the overall authority of any government to regulate behavior and enforce order. As such, the "police power" is not confined to criminal law. It includes wide areas of general regulation, such as land use.

      Tenth Amendment:

      "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

      Article II "The Presidency" states that the president exercises "the executive power" as that power was understood at the time--which includes the "police power" for matters that fall within the purview of the federal government.

      Thus, Article II, Section 3 states:

      "[the president] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed".

      That's an express grant of "police power" for the enforcement of federal law.

      The question is: How far does the authority of Congress to legislate extend? To the extent that Congress can legislate, the Executive has the authority and the responsibility--i.e., the "police power"--to see that those laws are faithfully executed. That includes laws for the protection of federal officers, judges, and legislators.

      Your impression that DC's legal status "served as the loophole allowing the formation [of the] capitol police" is completely mistaken.

      Delete
  7. AmericanCardiganJuly 11, 2021 at 1:41 PM

    Here’s a follow up article too.

    https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jul/10/capitol-police-use-army-surveillance-system-americ/

    ReplyDelete
  8. T"he huge enlarging of the USCP budget does not involve any expansion of its authority"

    The amount of money allocated would equip an infantry division in the armies of most nations. You don't need that kind of money to open a couple of satellite offices. I honestly wonder if this whole project isn't cover for some sort of slush fund to dole out money to pro Democrat groups.

    ReplyDelete
  9. As the status of the Cap. Hill cops is all up to Congress, and it falls to the people (and media) to hold Congress to account, the Paul Sperry piece days ago at RCP Investigations is of interest:

    "Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within *days* of a fatal shooting. Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress, and answers "only" to Congress."

    As long as Congresscritters can hide key data in the cops they controls, it's no mystery why they want to fund it to the hilt, while bellowing "defund the cops" a=vs. all forces they don't control.

    Sperry claims with virtual certainty, that a specific officer is seen as the perp:
    "while USCP Communications Director Eva Malecki won’t confirm he is the shooter, in this case she isn’t denying it."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's also necessary to maintain some perspective. One bad cop. What percentage of the USCP's time do you think involves dealing with tourists? How many GOPers are demanding that the cop's name be released?

      Delete
  10. "There is no intelligence agency in the United States that is 'unaccountable.' All are accountable to Congress through the normal oversight process and, to some extent, to the Courts. If these agencies are not held accountable in this manner, our Constitution specifies elections as the only recourse."

    IMO, those are the key words of the entire update. I would only add the office of President should maybe also be mentioned here, though Congress rightly deserves pride (shame) of place here, since only that body can put the needed fixes into law and therefore make them transcend any given presidency.

    This doesn't mean for a second I don't agree these developments are every bit as scandalous and scary as others see them - I do. But like Mark says, they're unaccountable to us primarily because Congress, to whom they absolutely are accountable, consciously chooses to make them so.

    Feature, not bug. Symptom, not disease.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only an informed and involved citizenry can hold our rulers accountable.

      Delete
    2. Totally. To complain is human. To act is divine.

      Every one of us who (like me) is complaining now needs to act on midterm election day, obviously, but before then, also - doing whatever we can to educate first ourselves and then others so that as many voters as possible have sufficient factual basis to see what's going on and how to vote to stop it.

      Delete
    3. It's one thing to give lip service and another thing to organize. That has been the secret of Obama's success. He began "Organizing For Action" the minute he first took office and began creating his network for when this day alas came.

      It's not too difficult to connect the dots now knowing who ultimately planned January 6th.

      God is in charge. "And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." - Mark 13:37

      https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-devil-will-hang-on-his-own-gallows

      Delete
  11. I'm wondering if they've reached their the end goal of defunding the police? The police is now so powerless in many cities and states, therefore we need a federal police force to take control.

    Frank

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    Replies
    1. It's not that easy. One of the key 10th amendment cases--as recently as 2000--struck down a federal law that tried to involve federal LE in strictly local matters:

      "The regulation and punishment of intrastate violence that is not directed at the instrumentalities, channels, or goods involved in interstate commerce has always been the province of the States...[W]e can think of no better example of the police power, which the Founders denied the National Government and reposed in the States, than the suppression of violent crime..."

      That was a 5-4 decision. The only majority justice still on the Court is Thomas. The only dissenting justice still on the Court is Breyer.

      Delete
  12. “ ... We The People seem not to see any need for reform.“

    And that is the crux of the matter and of the vast majority of other issues that plague the nation.

    Winning hearts and minds ... such a Vietnam era statement. Well, it is a Vietnam era statement.

    The hearts and minds of many of We The People have been changed decades over decades to the point that we are at right now.

    In outright war, it’s a tool to help give you an advantage, but not an end to if itself (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq twice are examples of how it just doesn’t work - W forgot or refused to learn the lesson of Vietnam).

    In subversion with a non-violent goal against a nation, it works effectively unless the nation it is used in confronts this each and every time. Betcha, though, that those doing this believed it would happen much sooner than now, think Obama’s birth as a political entity in Ayer’s living room.

    And, here we are.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nothing gives Satan more pleasure than to instill so much fear in humanity that God becomes obscure. Why should any of this come as surprise when we have all along been acutely aware of what has been unfolding before our eyes?

    God is in charge, not the House Speaker. That she is in control of the Capitol Police speaks volumes.

    Amen. Alleluia.

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  14. There is an Office of the Inspector General for the Capitol Police. It is described here:

    https://www.uscp.gov/the-department/office-inspector-general

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would suggest one important correction. These are not Pelosi's police. In a year and a half they will be under the control of whatever reactionary fascist is named by the deplorables after an election traditionally won by the Party out of power, aided by concerns of rising inflation and crime, and not able to be rigged by shenanigans in seven or eight Counties. As an added bonus they will probably be deployed in the 2024 election to those seven or eight Counties where in the past election there seems to have been no incentive to control irregularities.

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    1. The law does not give them any jurisdiction with regard to elections.

      Delete
    2. Would the presence of a family member in the vicinity of a place where votes are counted allow them to use sophisticated surveillance equipment and just happen to catch irregularities? How do you define a threat?

      Delete
    3. The military type equipment they're acquiring is--in my understanding--designed to pick up movements of persons. It was used in places like Afghanistan to pick up attempts to infiltrate bases or set up positions prior to an attack. They do not sound suitable for any other type of use.

      Delete
    4. FWIW, here is a description of the “military-type surveillance equipment” they will have:

      U.S. Capitol Police will begin fielding military surveillance equipment as part of sweeping security upgrades as the force becomes “an intelligence-based protective agency” after the Jan. 6 attack.

      Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently approved a Capitol Police request for eight Persistent Surveillance Systems Ground - Medium (PSSG-M) units. The system provides high-definition surveillance video and is enabled with night vision. The system does not include facial recognition capabilities, the Pentagon said.

      “This technology will be integrated with existing USCP camera infrastructure, providing greater high definition surveillance capacity to meet steady-state mission requirements and help identify emerging threats,” the Pentagon said.


      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jul/10/capitol-police-use-army-surveillance-system-americ/

      Delete
  16. They are called the "capitol" (as in building) police not capital police. They are the private police force of the Congress. If I were gov of florida i would eject them.


    rob s

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    1. If you were gov of florida you wouldn't have any authority to do so. The law specifies that they have national jurisdiction, not jurisdiction in a building.

      Delete
  17. Hey maybe the Capitol Police can investigate this:

    https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/maid-finds-cache-weapons-ammo-body-armor-hotel-room-ahead-all-star-game-denver/T2BBQ3IUX5EQLLP6IXBQWKFFOI/

    Does this seem fishy? Las Vegas shooter redux for All Star Game? FBI sure seems in a hurry to downplay. Hmmmmm

    Grip

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  18. Regarding the US Capitol police...

    Many federal executive agencies have law enforcement powers. Heck, the USDA has them.

    While it alarming that this is being expanded nationwide, it’s not a new thing within our government.

    The issue I see is what will be the effects and use of this power?



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  19. "The GOP can remedy any part or all of this if they regain control. I recommend not holding your breath, however."

    Bingo!!!

    ReplyDelete