Dear Colleague on Member Security

February 2, 2021
Press Release

Dear Democratic Colleague,

This letter is about you.  It is about your safety as you serve in Congress, your safety in your district and your safety when traveling to and from Washington.  Your safety is the charge that I gave Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, who is leading an immediate and collaborative security review to protect the safety of Members, the Capitol Complex and our Democracy. 

Last Thursday, I had a preliminary briefing with General Honoré.  Respected experts are reviewing the current security posture of the Capitol and House Office Buildings in light of both the January 6 attack and the threat immediately following the Inauguration, according to concerning intelligence reports.  This report covers command and control, operational readiness, interagency cooperation, security infrastructure and the morale and readiness of institutional staff.  The General’s review will run through at least March 5 and updates will be forthcoming.

The insurrectionist attack on January 6 was not only an attack on the Capitol, but was a traumatic assault targeting Members.  Earlier, I asked Members to write their impressions of the day and now am further establishing an opportunity for Members to tape their recollections through a video, especially those who were in the Chamber.  It may be difficult for Members to share their stories, but it is important to facilitate an accurate personal record and for the healing process for our Congress and indeed, Country.  If you are interested in participating in a video session to memorialize your experiences on January 6th, please contact in my office to schedule a taping session in the Capitol. 

I once again urge you to take advantage of the trauma and resilience resources provided by the Office of Employee Assistance.  Members have told me that they have found these resources to be beneficial.  During this challenging time, it is imperative that we take all steps to ensure the safety, security, health and well-being of our Congressional community.  I also encourage you to consult the letter from the Sergeant at Arms regarding security measures.

At this time, to ensure Member security, the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) are partnering with the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Air Marshal Service and Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority to increase security for Members while traveling to and from Washington.  Among other steps, USCP will be stationed at BWI, IAD, DCA and Union Station to provide extra security on days with increased Member travel.  Additionally, the SAA encourages all Members and staff to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities and to the U.S. Capitol Police Threats Division. 

Given the serious and ongoing security threats facing Members and the Congress, it is clear that there is a need for an emergency supplemental funding bill to meet institutional security needs.  It is also clear that we will need to establish a 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack on January 6.

The security of the U.S. Capitol Complex and all who serve and work in it is of the highest priority.  Protecting the Capitol, which is the heart of our Democracy, is essential to upholding our Constitutional duty to serve those whom we are privileged to represent.  It is also essential for honoring the service and sacrifice of the Capitol Police, who demonstrated extraordinary valor in saving lives during the insurrection against the Capitol. 

Solemnly, tonight, Officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life following the attack on January 6, will return to the U.S. Capitol Rotunda to lie in honor.  Members can pay their respects starting 7 a.m. tomorrow, before the Congressional tribute and his internment at Arlington National Cemetery.  Officer Sicknick’s sacrifice, and the heroism of the Capitol Police force that day, bring honor to our Constitution and our Democracy.

Thank you for your patriotism, courage and leadership.