Capitol Police Ordered to Spy on Congressional Member and Private Citizens Alike

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As you well know, the Capitol Police are tasked with keeping the Capitol complex and its grounds, as well as all those who work on the premises, safe from harm. And for the most part, they do an exceptional job. However, we all know that things changed on January 6, 2021.

Some would say the Capitol Police failed at their jobs. And because of that supposed failure, new regulations and ways of doing things within that law enforcement unit have been implemented.

Naturally, for weeks and even months after the event, security was heightened. The force likely brought on new recruits, in addition to having the National Guard present, and policies on certain security measures were scrutinized to overcome errors and make the likelihood of a similar incursion less possible.

But one of those new regulations may not be all that lawful, if not downright unconstitutional, and it involves the Capitol Police basically spying on American citizens and congressional members.

According to a Politico report on Tuesday, the law enforcement unit has begun screening all those who plan to meet with congressional members and their staff. And by screening, I mean looking through their social media accounts, drumming up real estate records, and even sifting through tax documents.

Now, to be clear, the Capitol Police have always “screened” congressional events on the Capitol complex to some degree, especially when larger events such as parades, concerts, and such were to take place. And I totally get that. During those events, taking place so near to our nation’s governing bodies, it’s key to know as much as possible about what’s going on and to mitigate any potential security threats.

However, this is far different.

As the outlet reported, this isn’t so much looking at possible security threats as much as doing a deep dive into anyone meeting “privately or publicly with (congressional) members.”

One Politico source even said that the unit was searching for “any information about event attendees, including donors and staff, ‘that would cast a member in a negative light.’”

Naturally, quite a few both in Congress and in the private sector are concerned about this type of “scrutiny.”

Take North Dakota Republican and Representative Kelly Armstrong, for example.

Like many of you, he believes that “Secret surveillance of American citizens without probable cause is never OK,” even if it’s supposedly for Congress’ safety. Armstrong is also of the mind that anyone involved in putting these surveillance measures into place should resign immediately.

Of course, a statement from the Capitol Police says they aren’t doing anything wrong. In fact, they have likened themselves to “journalists,” who only use “public information” to find out what they need/want to know.

Naturally, given the atmosphere of the media in today’s age and how utterly biased it can be, that isn’t likely to give anyone, especially not conservatives, any reassurances.

This is even more disturbing when we consider that the Capitol Police, unlike many law enforcement units or agencies, are subject to very little oversight. As Rachel Bovard of The Federalist recently explained, the team is only really subject to congressional oversight, “not to public records request.”

And that means that we really have no idea what they are doing with all of this information they are getting about everyday Americans they are meeting. Bovard says they have “provided no detailed justification. Nor have they said what they are doing the records, how long those records are being stored, or what other purposes they have.”

The possibilities are a bit frightening, to say the least.

I mean, what prevents them from at any certain point leaking some of this information, as “public” as it supposedly is, to the media, congressional opponents, or partisan players? What stops them from using these facts to their preferred party’s advantage later down the line?

The answer at the moment is nothing. And that’s a major problem.

Of course, nothing about these practices is likely to change while the Democrats still hold power in Congress. Luckily for us, there is an expected large red wave coming in November, bringing with it the possibility that the Senate Rules Committee could and should begin an investigation into the matter.