Threats Against Congress Continues to Grow, Hill Panel Told

July 16, 2019 by Dan McCue
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies before the Committee on House Administration on July 16, 2019.

WASHINGTON — The number of threats made against members of Congress continues to grow, though most fall below the legal threshold of being considered an actual threat to cause bodily harm, a House panel was told Tuesday.

In his first appearance before lawmakers since he was appointed chief of the U.S. Capitol Police on June 13, Steve Sund told members of the House Administration Committee that the number of threat assessment cases the department opens continues to grow.

“For FY 2018, we had approximately 4,894 cases; So far this year, we have 2,502 cases. So we’re on par to probably break last year’s record,” Chief Sund said.

He made his comments in response to questioning from Representative Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., one of three Republican members of the committee who were on a baseball field in the Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia in 2017, when a gunman opened fire on their practice for the annual congressional baseball game.

“We firsthand witnessed not only the aggression toward us — the shots being fired — but also the bravery by the Capitol Police officers,” Loudermilk said.

After Sund provided him with the raw number of threats, Loudermilk asked how many the chief considered credible.

“We evaluate every threat to see whether they fall within the legal framework of what is considered to be an actual threat to do bodily harm, and what I can tell you is that a much smaller number actually meet that threshold,” the chief said.

“They’re all still very concerning. They all require us to expend resources and evaluate, but it’s a much lower percentage of that [total number],” he continued. “I don’t have the exact percentage, but it’s a much lower percentage than the total number of assessment cases we receive.”

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, who also testified before the committee, said since the attack on the baseball field, in which GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically injured and several others hurt, the changes his office have made represent a paradigm shift from the past.

Historically, he said, there was “very little if any” inter-office collaboration on the assessment of a threat.

Today, Irving said, “we provide enhanced support to [the U.S. Capitol Police] in terms of security services and we liaise very heavily with local law enforcement in members’ districts for public events and so on.

“That enhanced level of support is something that was not previously done to the extent we’re doing it today,” he added.

Sund said the police department itself has evaluated many of its resources in the aftermath of the attack, “specifically when it comes to our tactical capabilities.”

“We worked to make them a little more agile and we’re deploying them more often to provide members with protection,” he continued. “Also, in reference to what Mr. Irving just said, we work very closely with the Sergeant at Arms in evaluating requests from members and to assess the need for additional protection at their events.”

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

White House, Congress Aligned on Cybersecurity Goals
Cybersecurity
White House, Congress Aligned on Cybersecurity Goals
June 16, 2021
by Victoria Turner

WASHINGTON - As Congress edges closer to putting a final infrastructure bill on President Joe Biden’s desk, it looks like lawmakers and the White House are aligned in their commitment to bolster U.S. cybersecurity through increased federal investment, focusing on prevention and utilizing public-private partnerships to... Read More

Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Pause on New Oil, Gas Leases
Energy
Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Pause on New Oil, Gas Leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration's suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana who ordered that plans continue for lease sales that were delayed for the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska... Read More

Loan Relief Granted to Defrauded For-Profit College Students
Education
Loan Relief Granted to Defrauded For-Profit College Students

The U.S. Education Department said Wednesday it's erasing student debt for thousands of borrowers who attended a for-profit college chain that made exaggerated claims about its graduates' success in finding jobs. The Biden administration said it is approving 18,000 loan forgiveness claims from former students of... Read More

'Two Great Powers': Biden, Putin Plunge Into Hours of Talks
Geopolitics
'Two Great Powers': Biden, Putin Plunge Into Hours of Talks

GENEVA (AP) — With stern expressions and polite words before the cameras, President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin plunged into hours of face-to-face talks Wednesday at a lush lakeside Swiss mansion, a highly anticipated summit at a time when both leaders agree that relations between... Read More

Congress Begins Investigation of Alleged Justice Dept. Abuses
Political News
Congress Begins Investigation of Alleged Justice Dept. Abuses
June 15, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A powerful congressional committee is beginning an investigation into reports the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed information about members of Congress and journalists during the Trump administration. The committee’s chairman said he was concerned the Justice Department “used criminal investigations as a pretext to spy... Read More

Renewed Efforts to Address Homelessness Boon to Health Care
Health
Renewed Efforts to Address Homelessness Boon to Health Care
June 15, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

The House Committee on Financial Services met this past week to discuss how increasing Section 8 housing vouchers could reduce housing instability, overcrowding, and better prepare the nation for the next health or economic crisis.  “Providing a voucher to all eligible households would lift 9.3 million... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top