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Capitol Police Missed Pelosi Attack Despite Getting Camera Feeds

Inside U.S. Capitol Police command center, officers were going through their routines last Friday, cycling through live feeds from the 1,800 cameras used to monitor the Capitol complex as well as some points beyond, when an officer noticed police flights flashing outside the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 3,000 miles away. On a recording, the officer saw a man with a hammer, breaking a glass panel and entering the speaker’s home. The struggle inside the home have led to charges of attempted homicide of the speaker’s husband, and attempted kidnapping of the speaker. The incident has illustrated the impossibility of law enforcement’s protecting 535 members of Congress amid unprecedented numbers of threats against them.

The Capitol Police first installed cameras around Pelosi’s home eight years ago; she has an around-the-clock security detail; and for many months after the attacks of Jan. 6, 2021, a San Francisco police cruiser sat outside her home day and night. After Pelosi left San Francisco last week and returned to D.C., much of the security left with her, and officers stopped continuously monitoring video feeds outside her house. The lack of full-time, active surveillance, even at the home of the member of Congress with the most death threats, reflect the competing demands facing local and federal law enforcement agencies. The Capitol Police have been working to implement more than 100 security improvements, including enhancements to officer training, equipment, protocols and staffing. The agency has faced a tenfold increase in threats to members of Congress, who regularly return to their home districts and crisscross the country. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said that while there have been improvements — the department is on track to hire 280 additional officers this year — the country’s “political climate” is going to necessitate “additional layers of physical security.”


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