Congress Expands “Intelligence-Based” Capitol Police Presence

Since January 6, the United States Capitol Police has been collaborating with Democratic members of Congress and the Biden administration to broaden the agency’s scope of operations. For the first time, plans to relocate some operations outside of the Capitol grounds within the District of Columbia.

Apparent to a press release issued by the U.S. Capitol Police on July 6, “The United States Capitol Police has been working around the clock with our Congressional stakeholders to pivot towards an intelligence-based protective agency” and “has coordinated for enhanced security for Members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region. The Department is also in the process of opening Regional Field Offices in California and Florida with additional regions in the near future to investigate threats to Members of Congress.”

The Washington Examiner reported on July 6 that the Capitol Police had tracked threats against members of Congress that have increased 107% since last year. Some legislators have asked for additional protection not only inside D.C. but also back in their home districts.

The Capitol Police also plans on new purchases of riot gear, armor, weapons, and surveillance equipment. Further personnel training has begun with the National Guard at locations including Virginia Beach and Seattle.

Some observers have expressed concern that expanding intelligence gathering around the country will dilute the Capitol Police’s primary mission of protecting the Capitol grounds. Others are concerned that opening the door for the sort of mission creep that has occurred with other agencies that focus on intelligence work.

Glenn Greenwald recently wrote, “perhaps even more significantly, and they are turning themselves into a preventative intelligence-based private police force for Congress which, by definition, will monitor and spy on Americans beyond what the FBI, NSA, and CIA already do.”

Fox News reported on July 6 that there is some GOP support for the Capital Police’s move out to the home states of some members of Congress. Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) states: “As we continue serving our districts, it’s reassuring to know they’ll continue working with local police departments and sheriffs to keep lawmakers and our communities as safe as possible.”