This story is multiple parts frightening and bizarre. In newly released court documents, it was discovered that a man was arrested in early March for secretly taping Republican Senators during their lunch break within the Capitol chambers.
From NBC News:
Senate security officials have taken new steps to protect the secrecy of senators’ weekly closed-door lunches in the U.S. Capitol after a contract employee was arrested and accused of recording audio of a Republican lunch meeting in early March, four sources said.
There are celebrities who do not allow any contractors or unvetted workers in their presence with a phone, for fear of unauthorized photos or video being taken or conversations being leaked. Why did it require this to happen before our governing bodies got a clue?
“It’s really concerning,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., said of the incident, which has not previously been made public. “Those conversations are an opportunity for senators to talk candidly about issues. So to have people on record and easily identifiable by their voices is problematic.”
Sen. Lummis is soft-peddling. It is less about the identifiable voices, and more about government secrets being exposed to outside sources. Sens. Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz have been bringing incredible fire in the Oversight hearings. So, imagine them holding any conversations over lunch that could be misconstrued—or intel discussions being taped and used against them or the parties involved in testifying before their investigative committees. We see the damage a leaked Supreme Court decision draft caused. Imagine more of the same, only worse.
Capitol Police arrested and charged a 25-year-old Maryland man with a misdemeanor, “interception/use of wire tap,” which was later dismissed, according to court documents. The employee told police he set his phone to record “for multiple hours” during the Senate Republican lunch on March 7 and left it behind, court documents say. When the employee went back with a police escort to retrieve the phone, he was told it was not there. A senator had spotted the phone and handed it over to police, two sources said.
NBC News is not identifying the employee because the charges have been dropped. An attorney for the person did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Had this been Democrat Senators being taped, I doubt that NBC News would have held back. That man’s name would already be shared by every progressive account on social media. Occupy Democrats and Media Matters would be having a field day. The man’s home would probably have Antifa and the FBI raiding it.
The arrest prompted security officials to institute new protocols for contractors and service staff members, including a requirement for workers to leave cellphones in cabinets outside the party meeting rooms before they enter Senate lunches.
As I said above, this should have been in place ages ago.
According to court documents, the employee told police before he was arrested that he had been recording the meeting “for multiple hours.” He also claimed that he was married to the vice president of Liberia and “wanted to provide his ‘wife’ the Vice President of Liberia with American political information.”
There is no record that the employee is married to the vice president of Liberia. The Liberian Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the document, the employee also possessed “gathered trash” from the Senate Republican lunch meeting, including “a slideshow of information that was talked about in the event.”
Liberia obviously has a “you ask, won’t tell” policy. If he was indeed a spy, he’s been burned anyway.
This seemingly “concerning” incident reflects how short-sighted and ignorant our elected leaders are in regard to technology and its use in undermining governments and upending lives. They fail to understand the tenuous link between staying up to date with knowledge and maintaining a technological edge in order to protect our nation’s security. That includes banning TikTok, not having our technological hardware and software made and distributed through China, and maybe ensuring that even contractors and contracting agencies are staffed by vetted American citizens.
This could have been much worse, and with the way things are going, it could be much worse than what is being stated or reported.
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