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The Latest Device Given to 50 Senators Is Bound to Gin Up Conspiracy Theories

Gustavo Valcarcel

I’m not saying that I disagree with the thought of a conspiracy theory. This country has free speech, meaning people can generally think and say whatever they want, including holding abysmal opinions. From believing in Bigfoot to thinking that pedophiles are a discriminated class, many opinions exist. Some are interesting; some JFK assassination theories could be arguably plausible. No, I don’t think Ted Cruz’s father was involved. There are scores of conspiracy theories involving Area 51, UFOs, and aliens. Some believe George S. Patton wasn’t killed in an automobile accident in 1945 but assassinated. In the social media age, it takes just one tweet, and I’m sure more than a few will be drafted after what Capitol Hill security gave 50 members of the US Senate: Satellite phones. It was offered to all 100 members, but only 50 took them so far. These are meant for emergency communications in a “disruptive event.” The last phrase is what could lead to some far-out theories (via CBS News): 


Amid growing concerns of security risks to members of Congress, more than 50 senators have been issued satellite phones for emergency communication, people familiar with the measures told CBS News. The devices are part of a series of new security measures being offered to senators by the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who took over shortly after the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. 

The satellite phone technology has been offered to all 100 senators. CBS News has learned at least 50 have accepted the phones, which Senate administrative staff recommend senators keep in close proximity during their travels. 

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson said satellite communication is being deployed "to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event."   

Gibson said the phones are a security backstop in the case of an emergency that "takes out communications" in part of America. Federal funding will pay for the satellite airtime needed to utilize the phone devices. 

A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a "man-made" or natural disaster that wipes out communication.   

Is this a protocol drummed up post-January 6 because it’s a tad late, no? Was this considered after the district office of Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) was attacked by a man armed with a baseball ball? The suspect was later discovered to be mentally ill, suffering from schizophrenia. The lack of security preparation falls on the heads of multiple individuals, including congressional Democrats who reportedly lollygagged regarding establishing a means to deploy federal resources or the National Guard in case things got out of hand in January of 2021.


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