A US Capitol Police patrol car drives past the fence on the east side of the US Capitol before President Joe Biden addresses the joint congressional session on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
The threats to federal lawmakers have more than doubled this year compared to last year, the U.S. Capitol Police said on Friday.
The law enforcement agency tasked with defending Congress reported a 107% increase in threats against members of the legislature compared to the same point in 2020.
“Given the unique threat environment we currently live in, the department is confident that the number of cases will continue to increase,” the agency said in a press release published online.
The report comes months after a crowd of former President Donald Trump supporters overwhelmed the police department and stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s victory.
The Justice Department has estimated that around 800 people were involved in the January 6 attack. More than 400 suspected rioters are currently being prosecuted and arrests continue. Steven Sund, who was in charge of police at the time of the riot, resigned on January 7th.
The release on Friday is in line with comments from lawmakers that the political atmosphere makes their security more vulnerable.
In January, members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And other congressional leaders requesting greater approval to use a Congressional Fund for security measures, citing heightened risks.
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Several lawmakers who backed the Trump indictment have also increased their own security spending since the Jan. 6 attack, financial data show.
Police have previously said the threats are increasing.
In March, incumbent USCP chief Yogananda Pittman told Congress that threats against lawmakers had increased by more than 90% in the first two months of the year. Between 2017 and 2020 there was a 118.66% increase in threats and “directions of interest”.
The January 6 attack prompted the Capitol Police to seek further funding from Congress. The police department has requested an increase in its budget for 2022 by 107 million US dollars over the budget for fiscal 2021.
This call reflects changes to the post-uprising budget request. The original application before Jan. 6 called for a $ 36 million increase in funding from 2021.
In its press release, the police department continued its efforts to get more funding. It agreed to the recommendations published in an April report by the Agency’s Inspector General to increase its threat assessment staff and to set up a stand-alone vigilance body. Both proposals, the police department said, would “require resources and approval”.
“In her report, the [inspector general] suggests that the Department’s Threat Assessment Division resemble the United States Intelligence Service (USSS). In 2020, the USSS had approximately 8,000 cases with more than 100 agents and analysts. During the same period, the USCP, which has just over 30 agents and analysts, had approximately 9,000 cases, “the department said.
The law enforcement agency added, “USCP agrees that a standalone CCU would be valuable. However, to fully implement this recommendation, the department would need additional resources for new hires, training and vehicles, as well as approval from Congressional stakeholders.”
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