Retired general who led Katrina response tapped for immediate review of Capitol security
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has been tapped to lead an immediate review of the security of the Capitol complex, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.
Honoré, who led the military’s response to Hurricane Katrina, will review “the Capitol’s security infrastructure, interagency processes and procedures, and command and control,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. His investigation will follow the deadly insurrection at the Capitol Jan. 6, which has led to concerns among lawmakers about security failures and that rioters may have had inside help ahead to their assault.
“Last week, we suffered a devastating attack on the Capitol that threatened the lives of and traumatized members of Congress, staff and support workers,” Pelosi said. “To protect our democracy, we must now subject the security of the U.S. Capitol complex to rigorous scrutiny.”
Pelosi praised Honoré as a “respected leader with experience dealing with crises,” including as a former vice director for operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, focusing on military support to civil authorities.
Honoré’s investigation will focus on immediate security concerns, while “members of Congress are moving forward inside the Congress with strong oversight from their committees, and there is strong support for an outside commission to conduct an after action review,” Pelosi said.
This review’s announcement also comes amid still swirling security concerns ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday. An inauguration rehearsal planned for Sunday was pushed back a day due to security concerns, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.
Although lawmakers generally praised the actions of Capitol Police on the day of the riot, some have taken issue after videos surfaced of a small number of Capitol Police members removing barricades for rioters to pass through and, in one instance, stopping to take a photo with a rioter.
Three top security officials in Congress — the Capitol Police chief, as well as the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms — have resigned as a result of the embarrassing and deadly security breach at the Capitol.
Democratic lawmakers have also been vocal about their concerns over the ease with which rioters moved about the sprawling Capitol complex, which can be difficult to navigate for even those who work inside the building.
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) said Tuesday she witnessed colleagues giving “reconnaissance” tours through the Capitol the day before the riots. On Wednesday, 34 members of Congress requested an investigation into the matter, citing the fact that it was unusual to have outside groups in the Capitol, which has not held public tours since March due to the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said on The View that “there’s no trust” among members of the House due to these concerns.