In the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, Nancy Pelosi started pushing the idea that Republicans were to blame for the riot and that some sort of 9/11-style commission was needed to investigate the causes. If they had followed the 9/11 model, they would spend an inordinate amount of time scratching their collective ass and wondering “why do they hate us?” and blaming everyone but the people who let it happen. That idea seems to have lost a lot of its sheen in the two months after the Capitol riot, but one thing Pelosi did was establish a “Capitol Security Review” to make recommendations on how to keep such a thing from happening again knowing that “fair and transparent election procedures” would not be one of the proposals.
To lead the effort she selected retired Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore. Honore made a national name for himself unf***ing the dog’s breakfast of failure that was the Bush administration’s response to Katrina (to be fair, I think any administration would have performed the same or worse but if it happens on your watch, you own it). Why? Because everyone seems to want a general to fill traditionally civilian roles (Mattis, Kelly, McMaster, Austin, Perna) because they are perceived as more competent and ethical and less partisan than the usual yobs that get selected. You’ll note I said “perceived.” Honore had the added advantage of being, by his words and actions, a partisan Democrat who camouflaged his partisanship behind his stars, his service to the Bush administration, and his flirtation with running for the US Senate as a Republican.
He was critical of the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. But that was just a warm up. After January 6 he was en fuego or however you say that in Cajun. He accused the Capitol Police chief and the sergeants-at-arms of both the House and Senate of being “complicit” in the riot. And there was this:
Honore surrounded himself with retired military officers for his “security review,” some of whom were known anti-Trumpers, gave the operation a cute military-sounding name, “Task Force 1-6” (in the Army that would be the designation of a temporary force formed around the core of First Battalion, Sixth Infantry/Armor/Cavalry), and went to work. Now the report is out, I mean leaked.
The government should create an around-the-clock “quick reaction force” of federal law enforcement officers or members of the National Guard at the U.S. Capitol, a six-week security review of the Jan. 6 riot led by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has recommended.
Members of the force would either be recruited from existing federal law enforcement, established under the D.C. National Guard or from Guard units from all over the U.S. for three to six month stints, or reestablishing a military police battalion from troops “who live in or near the city year-round, perpetually on active duty.”
Other recommendations include hiring nearly 900 more USCP officers, a 40% increase to the force. The department put in about 720,000 overtime hours in the last fiscal year, and currently has more than 200 vacant positions.
“Not only is this model unsustainable, it leaves the force with no ability to pull officers from the line to train,” the report says.
…The report says only a “handful” of Capitol Police officers “have significant intelligence training.”
“The [Capitol Police Board’s] deliberate decision-making process proved too slow and cumbersome to respond to the crisis in January, delaying requests for critical supplemental resources,” the task force concluded. “Specifically, the USCP Chief should not require CPB approval to request assistance from external agencies or the National Guard in an emergency.”
…The report cited “aging dogs” as hampering security and recommended “retirements” for some of the K-9s to increase security at the Capitol. Bringing back a mounted police unit on horseback would also be a “force multiplier.”
In a lot of ways, the cure is much worse than the disease. The Quick Reaction Force idea is nutty. You don’t create a unit to go into high visibility, high-risk situations in the US Capitol where the troops don’t know their leaders and vice versa and training as a unit has been sporadic. The very idea that the Capitol needs a dedicated “military police battalion” on short notice to provide security is bonkers as well as being foreign to the United States. I’m more than a little unclear on why the Capitol Police need their own intelligence apparatus. I’d like to see the plan to increase the Capitol Police force by 40% when it can’t fill the positions it is currently authorized. Establishing an independent police force, responsible to no one, that can, of its own volition, call on the National Guard and, presumably, federal troops to help it keep order is not what a sane or healthy society creates.
Let’s hope this report goes to the Valhalla of all commission reports and is quickly forgotten because it is not a particularly well-thought-out effort that doesn’t make us more secure but does change the essential nature of the relationship between the People and their government.