Observers note that a series of recent incidents at the US Congressional compound have left the Capitol Security Service with staffing difficulties.
Last Friday, April 2, 25-year-old Noah Green drove a car over the guards of the Capitol and crashed into obstacles. He then attacked the police with a knife, but was shot dead. Two police officers were hospitalized with injuries. One of them – William Evans – has passed away.
In the wake of the investigation that had begun, it turned out that the perpetrator showed a penchant for extremism, suffered from manic syndrome, paranoia, and was contemplating suicide. Official sources associated with the investigation told the Associated Press.
Newsweek and other publications managed to take photos of Green’s Facebook posts, which were soon deleted. In them, Green wrote that he was “in search of a spiritual path,” and declared himself a follower of the “Nation of Islam.” Many experts consider this organization to be extremist.
The Green incident, the storming of the Congress building on January 6th, and several other incidents led to a situation in the Capitol Security Service, which the Associated Press described as a “crisis”. The system of security measures adopted in the Congress complex was found to be insufficient.
“The Capitol security authorities are now trying to find an answer to the question: what is going on? We didn’t count on this, they say, we need resources, ”explained Peter Zveck, a retired general, a former intelligence officer, and now an analyst at the Wilson Center political science institute, in an interview with the Russian Voice of America service. – I did not serve in the police, but I can say that, of course, they need to have enough [финансовых и человеческих] resources. The fact that they have changed their leadership is a good start, which demonstrates the onset of change. Members of Congress need to be well protected, but not in a way that makes the Capitol look like a government complex in some police state. “
In the wake of all this, Capitol Security Chief Steven Sound was forced to resign. Moreover, many senior police officers seem to feel insufficiently protected in the service and begin to apply for transfer to another station or even early retirement. The news site Wtop-News has calculated that more than two hundred positions are already vacant in the Security Service, or about 10 percent of the total staff of two thousand. The remaining employees are now forced to work overtime, with 12-hour shifts.
Tim Ryan, a Democratic congressman from Ohio, made a statement on the matter, which said: “[Такая обстановка] creates uncertainty and makes you anxious about the situation in the workplace. For many of us, this is a very personal moment, because we are very sympathetic to the Capitol police officers and after they showed themselves on January 6, we respect them even more than before. “
A few weeks ago, the Capitol administration decided to remove the five-meter metal fence around the entire complex. Now, after the April 2 attack, the entrances and approaches to the Congress building are again reinforced with new barriers. Yogananda Pittman, the interim capitol police chief, in March demanded that she be empowered, in the event of an emergency, to involve National Guard fighters in the protection. The question now is whether the Capitol will remain open to the public as before, or will it become an armored government complex in the center of the capital?