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Review says Capitol Police ill-equipped to deal with threats, more security measures needed

The Capitol Police force "is not postured to track, assess, plan against, or respond to this plethora of threats" facing the complex, the report found.
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A report commissioned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol calls for increased staffing and intelligence for the Capitol Police, a permanent quick reaction force and "mobile" fencing.

The final draft of the report by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré on Capitol Hill security will be briefed to House members in three separate sessions Monday. NBC News was provided a copy by a senior Democratic aide.

The report says the force is currently ill-equipped to deal with the "volume and nature" of the threats facing the Capitol complex, many of which are coming from "domestic elements," vulnerabilities that were put on display Jan. 6.

"The USCP were understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and Members when violently attacked by a large mob," the report says, and is still vulnerable over two months later.

"The USCP is not postured to track, assess, plan against, or respond to this plethora of threats due to significant capacity shortfalls, inadequate training, immature processes, and an operating culture that is not intelligence-driven," the report says.

The report recommends Capitol Police fill all open positions — there are currently 233 job openings — while beefing up the staffing and strengthening its own intelligence-gathering operations. It calls for adding a total of 874 positions "to fill assessed capability gaps, which includes intelligence specialists, operational planners, supervisors, Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) personnel and trainers, and dignitary protection agents, to name just a few."

In a hearing before the Senate last week, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commander of the District of Columbia National Guard, testified that he had troops ready to deploy immediately to the Capitol on Jan. 6 as soon as the situation turned violent, but it took more than three hours for the Department of Defense to give the green light.

The report proposes an "augmentation" of the current rules to give the commanding general of the National Guard "emergency authority" in situations similar to the attack on the Capitol.

The task force also calls for the establishment of a permanent D.C.-area quick reaction force and developing "mobile" fencing that can be quickly deployed, in place of the current fence and in lieu of a permanent one.

Enacting the recommendations would mean boosting the Capitol Police budget, which is an already-sizable $460 million a year. The report does not give an estimate of the added costs.

In a statement, the Capitol Police said it "looks forward to reviewing the detailed recommendations" in the report. "We believe enhancements to the Capitol complex’s physical infrastructure are required. We also agree we need to increase our manpower and overall response capabilities," the statement said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday he was skeptical of the report because of Honoré's involvement, citing negative comments the retired lieutenant general made about Republicans.

“While there may be some worthy recommendations forthcoming, General Honoré's notorious partisan bias calls into question the rationality of appointing him to lead this important security review. It also raises the unacceptable possibility that the Speaker desired a certain result: turning the Capitol into a fortress,” McCarthy said.