House Taps Military Official to Lead Security

“That number could have made a difference,” General Walker said of the possibility of deploying his troops earlier.

“Seconds mattered,” he added. “Minutes mattered.”

The restrictions were put in place because of the widely criticized crackdown by the National Guard on protesters in Washington in June. But General Walker said he believed that a double standard existed in the military’s decision-making, pointing out differences between the quick and aggressive tactics he was authorized to use last spring and summer during protests over police killings of Black men and the slower response to the violence of Trump supporters. He said military officials had expressed concerns about the “optics” of sending troops to the Capitol.

“The word I kept hearing was the ‘optics’ of it,” he testified.

In the aftermath, all three top Capitol security officials resigned under pressure and subsequently blamed intelligence and communication breakdowns for their failure to prevent the breach.

General Walker’s hiring would give the House its own former military leader as sergeant-at-arms after the Senate tapped the retired Army Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson, who took office this week.

“We have one of the great experts in America on intelligence right now serving as the sergeant-at-arms,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said of the appointment of General Gibson, who was previously a deputy director of national intelligence.

Together, with the architect of the Capitol, the two sergeants-at-arms form the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the 2,300-employee police force and its acting chief.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

Source link