Congressional Security Questioned Following Attack
Members of Congress spoke out about needing more security following the shooting rampage that injured five people.
The security of members of Congress is drawing scrutiny after a shooting that wounded a top Republican lawmaker who had protection that isn’t typically afforded to Capitol Hill’s rank and file.
Capitol Police officers were at the congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., as part of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise’s security detail when 66-year-old James Hodgkinson began to open fire into the diamond.
Many Republicans who were attending the practice have hailed the Capitol police officers, identified as Crystal Griner and David Bailey, as heroes for tackling the shooter and risking their lives to stop more injures. Sen. Rand Paul said the event would have been an all-out massacre had the two police officers not been in attendance at the baseball team’s practice.
A former Secret Service agent told the Boston Herald that it is a numbers game when it comes down to protecting the lawmakers on the Hill.
“A very, very limited number of these guys have protection at all — it’s mostly just leadership,” said Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent. “The problem you run into is: Even if they had a threat tomorrow morning against 20 or 30 members, they’re resource-constrained. If you remove someone from a door and put them on a congressman, there’s no one at the door.”
Many lawmakers have asked if they can use funds from their campaigns or out of the pockets to pay for personal protection.
In addition to the attack on Republican congressional members, many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are seeing an influx of threating emails and letters. Several Democratic representatives said they had received threats saying, “You guys are next” following the shooting in Alexandria.
The Capitol Police has told representatives that they will follow up on “leads” but some are uncertain based on the amount of threats coming into several members daily.
Increased officers could be seen on the Hill for hours after the shooting on June 14, but only time will tell if this was just out of “an abundance of caution” given the mornings events, or if the security is there to stay.