Top officials within U.S. Capitol security testified on Tuesday that they are currently focused on investigating police officers with alleged “extremist” views who could potentially be an “insider threat.”
The Hill reports that Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger and House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker said before the House Appropriations Committee that Capitol Police are developing an “insider threat awareness program,” which will serve the purpose of identifying “insider threats and employees who do lose their compass,” without specifying what such terminology even means.
“The strategic objective is to have police officers trained as insider threat specialists,” said Walker, “so we can recognize the signs and symptoms, the indicators, of someone whose allegiance has changed.” Manger added that “it all begins with the hiring process,” and thus they will begin more heavily scrutinizing the backgrounds of potential applicants, including polygraph tests and investigating social media feeds.
Walker also requested that Congress spend even more money on protecting themselves, saying that “we need to understand where our members live and what level of protection they need to be afforded. So we do need to throw funding at protecting members.”
These and other measures follow the mostly peaceful protests that took place at the Capitol on January 6th, when a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump protested against widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. A large group of them peacefully entered the Capitol building and did not harm anybody, although many protesters were beaten by police officers, and one of them, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol Police despite being unarmed.
Some officers have been accused of assisting the protesters and showing solidarity with their cause. Democrats have accused these officers of harboring sympathies for “insurrectionists,” while some on the Right have claimed that any officers who allowed protesters into the building were part of a federal plot to entrap the protesters.