Is Capitol Police Spying on Certain Folks Who Meet With Members of Congress?

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Posted: Jan 25, 2022 2:30 PM
Is Capitol Police Spying on Certain Folks Who Meet With Members of Congress?

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

You might want to rethink your next visit to Congress. If meeting with your local representatives is your thing, have at it. This isn’t a life-or-death warning. You won’t be black bagged by some secret police unit. If you work there or need to meet with members of Congress often, then you have no choice. You’re just going to have to deal with what the Capitol Police is reportedly doing to some folks who meet their lawmakers. 

After the January 6 riot, the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit is perusing the social media activity of some guests and doing what appears to be soft background checks. For those who are civil liberties-minded, this might be problematic. Granted, the Capitol Police say they’re only looking at information that’s already public akin to what journalists do when researching a story, but the practice has raised some eyebrows. Congressional staffers are also put under the microscope. Is it creepy? Is it the norm now? whatever its intention, there’s no doubt that it will have a chilling effect on normal Americans who want to meet with their representatives to air out grievances or just outright meet who is looking out for their interests (supposedly) on Capitol Hill. Even members of Capitol Police have voiced their concerns (via Politico):

After the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit quietly started scrutinizing the backgrounds of people who meet with lawmakers, according to three people familiar with the matter.

POLITICO also viewed written communications describing the new approach, part of a host of changes that the department implemented after the Capitol attack. Examining the social media feeds of people who aren’t suspected of crimes, however, is a controversial move for law enforcement and intelligence officials given the civil liberties concerns it raises.

Among those who have been subject to new Capitol Police scrutiny are Hill staffers, the three people said. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said in an interview that he is unaware of any members who know about the “very, very bad” practice.

“Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters,” said Armstrong, a former criminal defense attorney.

[…]

Several Capitol Police intelligence analysts have already raised concerns about the practice to the department’s inspector general, according to one of the people who spoke for this story.

The Capitol Police, in a statement, defended the practice of searching for public information about people meeting with lawmakers and said the department coordinates the work with members’ offices.

“The more public information we have, the better we can understand what kind and how much security is necessary,” the statement said.

[…]

The Capitol Police, in a statement, described the practice of seeking public information about people meeting with lawmakers as part of the department’s mission.

“It is our duty to protect Members of Congress wherever they are,” the statement said. “Just like journalists, we do research with public information.”

Yeah, not the best pivot there on the ‘we’re just like journalists’ line there, Capitol Police. Journalists are liars. The Democrat-media complex is the biggest, most well-oiled fake news machine out there whose sole goal is to protect their Democratic Party allies at all costs. Since 2016, they’ve become more brazen with their lies and gaslighting. Is that what we should expect from this little intelligence-gathering operation? A clown show—because I can see this whole program going off the rails.