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Inspector General Opens Investigation Into U.S. Capitol Police Following Allegations Of Spying On Members Of Congress, Staff


REPORTED BY: SEAN DAVIS | FEBRUARY 08, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/02/08/inspector-general-opens-investigation-into-u-s-capitol-police-following-allegations-of-spying-on-members-of-congress-staff/

The inspector general for the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) has opened a formal investigation into whether the law enforcement agency tasked with securing the Capitol has been inappropriately surveilling elected members of Congress, their staff, and visitors to their offices, The Federalist has learned. The opening of the investigation follows news reports and accusations from lawmakers that USCP has overstepped its bounds as it tries to recover from the January 6 riots that tarnished both the Capitol and the reputation of the law enforcement agency that was supposed to keep it safe. USCP Chief J. Thomas Manger confirmed the opening of the inspector general investigation in his response to congressional inquiries about USCP police tactics, reported in a January 24 article published by Politico, including surveilling and compiling intelligence dossiers on members of Congress, their staff, and visitors.

“While I am confident in our methods, I am asking the USCP Office of the Inspector General to review the USCP’s programs related to these security assessments to assure both this Committee, the Congress as a whole, and the public that these processes are legal, necessary, and appropriate,” Manger wrote to seven Republican lawmakers.

According to the Politico article, USCP analysts had been directed by Julie Farnam, the acting director of USCP’s Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division, to “run ‘background checks on people whom lawmakers planned to meet, including donors and associates.”

“When staff were listed as attending these meetings, Capitol Police intelligence analysts also got asked to check the social media accounts of the staffers,” the Politico article alleged.

In his letter to lawmakers, Manger denied the allegations detailed in the Politico article and claimed USCP’s activities were both appropriate and legal.

Suspicions that USCP may not be acting appropriately did not arise in a vacuum, however. In November 2021, a USCP officer entered the congressional office of Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Tex., and took a photo of a whiteboard in Nehls’ legislative office detailing various legislative plans being considered by Nehls and his staff. In a formal police report filed several days after the incident, the officer wrote that he had been conducting a routine security patrol on Saturday, November 21, and discovered that one of the doors to Nehls’ office was open. The report claimed that the officer entered Nehls’ office and found a whiteboard that contained “suspicious writings mentioning body armor[.]” The officer reportedly took a photo of the whiteboard, which was then passed around to analysts within USCP. The following Monday, USCP dispatched three plain-clothed intelligence officers to Nehls’ office and questioned a staffer who was there about the whiteboard and the legislative proposals it contained. Just days before the USCP officer entered Nehls’ office and took a picture of the whiteboard Nehls and his staff used to brainstorm and catalog legislative ideas, the Washington Post ran a story about a federal government contractor in rural Texas who defrauded the United States by supplying Chinese-made body armor instead of body armor manufactured in the United States.

“From his home in rural Texas, a would-be defense contractor spun a web of fake companies and testing reports to pass off Chinese-made body armor as American equipment that met rigorous standards for use by the State Department and U.S. law enforcement partners in Latin America,” the Washington Post wrote on November 16, 2021. “Tanner Jackson, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Alexandria federal court to one count of wire fraud, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.”

According to Nehls, who previously served as sheriff of Fort Bend County, Texas, his office whiteboard specifically called out faulty Chinese body armor. In fact, that Washington Post article was a key catalyst spurring Nehls to consider drafting legislation banning the procurement of Chinese body armor, a spokesman for Nehls told The Federalist. What the police report did not include was any reference to multiple items on Nehls’ whiteboard immediately following the words “body armor” referencing Export Administration Regulations dealing specifically with Chinese imports or U.S. Department of Justice standards for certifying body armor.

In correspondence on the matter with the House Administration Committee, USCP Chief Manger said the responding officer who investigated Nehls’ office was also concerned by “an outline of the Rayburn Building with an X marked at the C Street entrance” drawn on the whiteboard. A Nehls spokesman told The Federalist it was little more than a crude map to help an intern find an ice machine in the Rayburn House Office Building.

“If Capitol Police leadership had spent as much time preparing for January 6 as they spent investigating my white board, the January 6 riot never would have happened,” Nehls, a former law enforcement officer, told The Federalist. “When I was a patrol officer responding to a call, I didn’t have the time or authority to go rifling through someone’s personal papers. There are serious 4th Amendment, constitutional issues at play here.”

Although Manger claimed in one e-mail that USCP agents were concerned the whiteboard may have contained a “veiled threat” to Nehls’ life, USCP never personally contacted Nehls to warn him that he may have been in danger, Nehls told The Federalist.

The Capitol Police’s treatment of Nehls and his office only fueled the fire of suspicion between lawmakers and USCP leadership that had been smoldering following the January 6 riot. One Republican congressional aide told The Federalist that rather than addressing the massive security and intelligence failures by USCP that allowed the post-election protests to spiral into riots, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead doubled down on failure and used the uproar as a pretext for turning the Capitol Police into her own force of political mercenaries.

“Instead of fixing the obvious problems with Capitol security, Pelosi used January 6 as an excuse to create her own personal Praetorian Guard,” the aide said.

Comments and recommendations for mandatory background checks on staff by Pelosi’s hand-picked Capitol security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, have also done little to quell suspicions that Pelosi is using the January 6 proceedings to justify increased surveillance of her political enemies in Congress.

“We made recommendations that everyone coming into the Capitol get background checks, the entire congressional staff,” Honore told CNN last April. “All of them need to get background checks is what we recommended.”

Those recommendations found their way into the formal report compiled by the January 6 response task force that Honore ran, leading several lawmakers to question the USCP denial that it is surveilling and profiling members, staff, and visitors.

“There are way too many unanswered questions,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the top Republican on the congressional committee with oversight over the Capitol Police, told The Federalist. “The Capitol Police have a lot of explaining to do.”

“My main concern is that the entire Capitol Police board structure is dependent on political leadership to make security decisions,” Davis said. “Security decisions are being made based on politics, not on real data.”

“I’m not convinced we’re in any better security position today than we were on January 6,” he added, blaming Pelosi’s control of the process for the lack of real progress or improvements.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., echoed Davis’s concerns about the Capitol’s security posture.

“The Capitol is no more prepared today than it was on January 6,” Banks, who is heading up an ad hoc committee of Republicans to make security improvement recommendations, told The Federalist. “There is a lot of work to do to restore trust in the leadership of the Capitol Police.”

He cited a vote in February 2021 in which more than 90 percent of rank-and-file USCP officers said they had no confidence in their department’s leadership. Banks also blasted Pelosi and said she is using the House’s January 6 commission as a weapon against her political opponents.

“It’s painfully clear to all of us that the sham January 6 commission is not at all interested in making the Capitol safer or preventing something like January 6 from ever happening again,” Banks said. “It’s clear that the January 6 commission is just a witch hunt against the political enemies of Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney.”

In a statement provided to The Federalist, USCP categorically denied that it had surveilled lawmakers or their staff and claimed the January 24 Politico article was inaccurate.

“We do not conduct surveillance on Members, their staff, or their offices,” a spokesman for the Capitol Police told The Federalist. “The USCP does not conduct any ‘insider threats’ related surveillance of intelligence gathering on Members, staff, or visitors to the Capitol Complex.”

The spokesman said that Manger, the USCP chief, had specifically asked the inspector general to conduct a full review of the agency’s operations in light of the allegations of improper profiling and surveillance.

“The inspector general is independent, so we cannot comment on his behalf,” a USCP spokesman told The Federalist. “But the chief has requested such a review as he is confident the USCP security assessments are legal, appropriate, and strictly limited to gathering basic information about events to ensure the safety of members of Congress.”

The USCP inspector general’s office did not respond to requests for comment.


Sean Davis is a co-founder of The Federalist. He previously worked as an economic policy adviser to Gov. Rick Perry, as CFO of Daily Caller, and as chief investigator for Sen. Tom Coburn. He was named by The Hill as one of the top congressional staffers under the age of 35 for his role in spearheading the enactment of the law that created USASpending.gov. Sean received a BBA in finance from Texas Tech University and an MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School. He can be reached via e-mail at sean@thefederalist.com.

Democrats To Americans: If You Disagree With Us, You’re An Insurrectionist


Reported By Jonathan S. Tobin | NOVEMBER 1, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/11/01/according-to-democrats-expressing-political-dissent-makes-you-an-insurrectionist/

Photo Fox5/

For Democrats, Groundhog Day came nearly a month early this year. For them, like the character in the classic Bill Murray comedy, every day is Jan. 6. For them, every challenge to leftist orthodoxy, whether in the form of Biden administration policy or local school boards attempting to impose critical race theory, unreasonable COVID precautions, or transgender policies, is another day of insurrection.

They see insurrectionists everywhere. They see them in the media, where they demand that Fox News be canceled or demonetized because of its Trumpist heresies and refusal to treat a Capitol riot — in which the only person killed was an unarmed protester gunned down in cold blood by a police officer — as a new Civil War. They see them in Congress, where anyone who challenged the 2020 results or resists the Democrats’ bills to ban voter ID laws and make permanent pandemic-based election changes that removed guardrails against cheating are seeking to steal not just the 2020 election but the ones yet to be held in 2022 and 2024. They also see insurrectionists in state capitals, where legislatures that have passed voter integrity bills that seek to prevent future fraud without taking away anyone’s right to vote as not merely advocates of a new “Jim Crow” but the moral equivalent of the Confederates who fired on Fort Sumter to save slavery.

When Everyone Is an Insurrectionist

It also explains why U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland isn’t backing down on his outrageous effort to treat school board protests as an insurrectionist terrorist conspiracy. Despite heated questioning from furious Republican senators last Wednesday, he wouldn’t concede that his directive to the FBI and the rest of the Department of Justice to investigate school board critics around the country was based on a lie. He denied that he was targeting the free speech of parents who have protested decisions by school boards on curricula and other policies. That Garland would stand by the rash directive was all the more curious because the hearing came after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) had apologized for the letter that began this shocking episode.

Garland’s doubling down at the hearing about the need for the government to crack down on opponents does make sense. Or at least it does when placed in the context of his party’s current political obsession.

For nine months the Biden administration, its congressional allies, and its media cheerleaders have treated the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as not merely a disgraceful episode but an “insurrection” and “attempted coup” that represented an ongoing threat to the government rather than just a mob that ran amuck. At this point, it’s clear the Biden team has come to view any dissent from leftist dictums — be they national or local — as not merely unwelcome criticism but the work of Trumpist insurrectionists who must be put down rather than tolerated.

Democrats are determined to go on running against former President Donald Trump and his “deplorable” band of insurrectionists indefinitely. But they have been dismayed by the turn of events in Virginia, where resistance against the radical takeover of the schools by angry parents has transformed the gubernatorial race in what the left assumed was a securely blue state. So it was hardly surprising that the administration would seek to brand those citizens outraged by what was being done to their children as just another outbreak of the same insurrection they have been inveighing against all year.

Cornered by Republican senators, Garland asserted that his memo had not ordered investigations of angry parents as “domestic terrorists.” Yet his memo characterized criticisms of officials at public meetings as “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence.” In it, he stated plainly that Department of Justice would use its authority to “identify,” “discourage” and “prosecute” these alleged threats while maintaining “coordination and partnership with local enforcement.”

Even more disingenuously, he denied that the letter from the NSBA, which had been coordinated with the White House had prompted his directive. It labeled people like a Loudoun County parent whose daughter was allegedly raped by a boy in a girl’s bathroom then covered up by the school district as “domestic terrorists.”

‘Terrorists’ Have No Rights

Garland’s willingness to jump into that mess was predictable. Tellingly, earlier this month even after the truth had come out about the alleged rape and its coverup, Loudoun County Democratic Party Chair Lissa Savaglio called the parents “Republican insurrectionists.”

Republicans asked Garland about why the attempt to intimidate Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema into going along Biden’s spending spree when she was followed, harangued, and filmed in a bathroom wasn’t as worthy of investigation as incidents in which school board members were yelled at. Similarly, the invasion of the Department of the Interior earlier this month by a leftist mob demanding Biden adopt even more radical environmental policies didn’t make it onto his radar screen.

Nor is Garland or the mainstream media willing to admit that the hundreds of Black Lives Matter “mostly peaceful” riots in cities around the nation in the summer of 2020 were far more of a threat to public order and government authority than the misguided people who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan.6. But if we have learned anything in the last year, it should be this: Democrats will never stop talking about the insurrection.

In part, that’s because they actually believe their political foes don’t deserve constitutional rights. As we saw with their reaction to the fatal police shooting of Capitol protester Ashli Babbit and the treatment of those facing prosecution over their illegal behavior on Jan. 6, they believe insurrectionists have no rights, including those that guarantee due process.

Democrats also understand that labeling conservatives as domestic terrorists is key to their political survival as Biden’s presidency unravels in the face of domestic problems like the southern border crisis, the supply chain disaster, and feckless conduct abroad. Running on Biden’s record or defending efforts to impose woke ideology on children isn’t likely to bring them success. That means they will go on labeling anyone who questions their ideological hobby horses as Trumpist “traitors” so long as they think it will help them rally their voters to turn out and preserve their power.

Jonathan S. Tobin is a senior contributor to The Federalist, editor in chief of JNS.org, and a columnist for the New York Post. Follow him on Twitter at @jonathans_tobin.

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