Top Democrat Grills Capitol Police on Protecting Lawmakers After Pelosi Attack
WASHINGTON – A top House Democrat on Wednesday demanded to know why Capitol Police did not do more to prevent an attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their home in San Francisco last week, and questioned what the agency was doing to improving the safety of members of Congress and their families.
In a lengthy letter that included a series of concerns about how Capitol Police are handling threats to lawmakers, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and chairwoman of the administration committee, questioned several of the department’s policies and practices, including an apparent decision to reject an FBI subpoena for some from his staff to join terrorism task forces that investigate threats against members of Congress.
“The department previously reported to the committee that the speaker receives the most threats of any member of Congress,” Ms. Lofgren wrote to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, asking why his department had not expanded “coverage to spouses and/or other family members of congressional leaders in presidential line of succession.”
The five-page letter from Ms. Lofgren, whose council oversees Capitol security, came a day after reports that the review highlighted several lapses in police protection of the Pelosi household. Capitol Police surveillance cameras caught the burglary, but precious minutes passed before any officers reviewed the footage. The security review also found that San Francisco police stopped stationing a car outside the Pelosi household 24 hours a day, as the agency had after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Mr. Pelosi was seriously injured in the attack, suffering a fractured skull. A 42-year-old man, David DePape, was accused with the attempted kidnapping of Mrs. Pelosi and the attack on a relative of a federal official. Mr. DePape, who embraced far-right conspiracy theories, told investigators that he wanted to break Ms. Pelosi’s kneecaps and see her “take it to Congress” as a lesson to other members.
Law enforcement leaders on Capitol Hill said Tuesday they plan to beef up protections for members of Congress, after the attack highlighted a turbulent threat environment that threatens not only lawmakers, but their families as well.
“We believe today’s political climate requires more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for members of Congress,” Chief Manger said in a statement Tuesday, adding that he could not disclose the security upgrades he plans to implement. “This plan would include an emphasis on adding redundancy to measures already in place for congressional leadership.”
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