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Did you know the U.S. Capitol Police have an intelligence unit?

They sure do, and, unknown to almost everyone, they’ve been stepping up their activities. This is yet another “security measure” put in place after January 6 on the pretext that America is under threat from domestic terrorism. POLITICO broke the story after speaking with people familiar with the new policies; they’ve also examined correspondence describing the new approach.

The intel unit is now quietly investigating the backgrounds of people who meet with lawmakers, including their social media accounts. They’re apparently doing the same to Hill staffers. The concept of “civil liberties” becomes more and more nebulous every day.

North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican and former criminal defense attorney, compared these new activities to spying. “Whatever they think that sounds like for security,” he said, “it sounds dangerously close --- if not already over the line --- to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters. Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately. And I’m not big on calling for resignations.”

“We need to know everything,” he said. I want to know where it goes, how high it goes, and why all of this exists.”

According to POLITICO, the Capitol Police brought on former Department of Homeland Security official Julie Farnam in the fall of 2020, and she changed a lot of protocols in the weeks leading up to January 6, apparently causing “internal confusion” about priorities. After January 6, she went further, changing the template for what they call Congressional Event Assessments, which are done to anticipate the risks of meetings and events held away from the Capitol. (That would now be all of them, as the Capitol building itself remains closed to visitors.) Farnam is directing her analysts to look very closely at the people who would be meeting both publicly and privately with lawmakers.

If this doesn’t seem like a big deal at first glance, or maybe just something that needs to be done in the name of risk mitigation, let me assure you it gets much worse. The new template tells intel agents to examine the social media of attendees, asking, “...is there anything that may impact the event itself or any of the participants [including not just members of Congress but other attendees]?” And here’s where we really enter a danger zone: Analysts are also supposed to search for information about lawmakers’ opponents and their opponents’ supporters: “List and search all political opponents to see if they or their followers intend to attend or disrupt the event.”

What a great excuse to dig into all kinds of private information on one’s political opponents! Sounds like an idea worthy of Hillary Clinton, and you know I don’t mean that in a complimentary way. Perhaps you’re old enough to recall the mysterious White House staffer Craig Livingstone and the FBI files the First Lady was amassing on political opponents. This sounds like just her style.

It’s outright spying by the Capitol Police. With the pretext of trying to head off danger and disruption, as in the movie MINORITY REPORT, they are delving into people’s private lives. As POLITICO reports: “One Capitol Police official noted that Farnam directed analysts to run ‘background checks’ on people whom lawmakers planned to meet, including donors and associates. When staff were listed as attending these meetings, Capitol Police intelligence analysts also got asked to check the social media accounts of the staffers.”

They were even told to “probe the ownership” of the buildings in which lawmakers held their meetings, sifting through tax and real estate records (!!!). Incredibly, this applies to people’s private homes; they scrutinized one such home used by Florida Sen. Rick Scott for a meeting with donors. The social media accounts of both the homeowner and the attendees were scrutinized, and their foreign contacts were assessed.

Sen. Scott was not pleased. “These reports are incredibly disturbing,” he said through a spokesperson. “It is unthinkable that any government entity would conduct secret investigations to build political dossiers on private Americans. The American people deserve to know what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi knew and directed, and when. Sen. Scott believes the Senate Rules Committee should immediately investigate.”

Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was surprised to hear that he and his donors had been similarly scrutinized by the Capitol Police. The department, meanwhile, speaks of this as simply part of their job of protecting people, and they say it’s all coordinated with members of Congress. So why is it that when lawmakers learn the extent of this scrutiny, they are surprised?

Individuals are essentially being spied on, simply for exercising their right to petition members of Congress. Their “protected” speech ends up in police files, even when there is no reason to suspect they’re involved in anything criminal. This is just one more way in which the January 6 Capitol Hill riot has been used as a pretext to violate people’s civil liberties.

Here’s the original story from POLITICO.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/24/capitol-police-social-media-00000948

The story hasn’t received much media attention but continues to percolate. In an update, a group of seven House Republicans sent a letter to the Capitol Police this week demanding answers. Perhaps the biggest question is this: By what authority does the Capitol Police “intel unit” extensively surveil (SPY ON) private citizens? Congress didn’t give it to them.

The letter states, “A decision to expand background checks and intelligence-gathering to a previously unsurveilled group of individuals constitutes a dramatic and troubling expansion of the USCP’s authority.”

A story in The Federalist brings up the resources needed to conduct this type of program, when only three weeks ago, Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger testified to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the severe staffing shortages on his security force. What does this say about priorities?

To us, it suggests that the REAL priority among those REALLY in charge of the Capitol Police isn’t security at all, but the ability to spy at will.

https://thefederalist.com/2022/01/25/exclusive-house-republicans-demand-records-over-capitol-police-surveillance-of-constituents/

LEAVE ME A COMMENT, I READ THEM!


Thanks to Robert S. for this thought-provoking idea...

Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will run for another term of office. I can see her making this announcement so as not to be a lame duck Speaker of the House. But I wonder if there isn't more afoot here. If Pelosi runs for another term, and wins, she can still retire after the first of the year. If she retires, then Governor Newsom, her nephew, would be able to appoint Nancy's replacement. So he would be able to appoint another Pelosi family member to fill the seat. Or maybe himself. Just a wild thought from Texas.

From the Gov.

Thanks for writing, Robert. Gov. Newsom is not technically Nancy Pelosi's nephew, though the two families were once related through marriage. There's no blood tie, but certainly a political one. And it's true that if she retired after being re-elected, he would get to appoint her replacement. That might be another member of the Pelosi family, or someone else entirely.

One benefit of running again is that Pelosi will get to fundraise a giant "war chest," whether she ends up keeping her seat or not. One downside is that as a candidate, she will likely face more scrutiny over the outrageous stock market gains she and her husband have made while she's been in office. It shows in her eyes that she's uncomfortable about being in the hot seat over that, and for good reason. But ego sometimes trumps risk-avoidance. Besides, she'll manage --- because she's doing it "for the children."

....................

Here's a question about Ashli Babbitt from reader Glen G:

I have been supporting Ashli all along. Her getting shot in this manner was dreadfully wrong. But I don't understand the point of this story. Mainly speaks of her trying to stop the process she was in, and then goes through the broken window. How's is that supposed to be understood as good evidence for her?

From the Gov.

Glen, Aaron's point is that his wife was trying to stop the riot, not join in, and that when the situation got to be too intense, she tried to go through the window not to interfere with the election certification process but simply to get to what she thought would be a safer spot. Any evidence of that --- such as the videos, her law enforcement training, and the testimony of those who knew her --- would be considered exculpatory.

Iowa School Choice Week

January 26, 2022

Instapundit has a round-up of stories about Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declaring this “Iowa School Choice Week” and saying that children belong to their parents, not the government or school boards, and parents have a right to weigh on what they’re being taught. Also, on the unhinged leftwing educationist reaction to those popular, common sense statements.

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/499359/

And here’s a perfect example of why parents across the political spectrum are becoming so outraged:

https://redstate.com/alexparker/2022/01/25/oregon-elementary-school-hosts-queer-and-sexuality-alliance-club-for-nine-year-olds-n512220

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that out-of-control politicized schools have become that rare issue that’s bringing Republicans and Democrats together in agreement, and costing Democrats a lot of support (ask Virginia Not-Governor Terry McAuliffe.)

I’ve long said that the worst mistake Republicans ever made was letting the left take over the education system. But if there’s any silver lining to the pandemic, it might be that online classes allowed parents to discover to their horror what their kids were being taught, and it’s given a bipartisan jump start to the school choice movement.

https://reason.com/2022/01/24/the-biggest-education-innovation-is-growing-use-of-school-choice/

One of many reasons why most Americans no longer trust news media outlets is that so many of them make the story not about pursuing the truth but all about them: their beliefs, their political biases, the media reactions to the media reactions to the media reactions. And we got a perfect example of that yesterday.

As the Dow was plunging by a thousand points (thankfully, it did recover by the end of the day) and the world worried about Russia sparking World War III, there was a media frenzy over President Biden’s rude reaction to a question by Fox News’ Peter Doocy. During an event Monday, Doocy attempted to ask Biden if inflation was going to be a major issue in the November elections, and Biden ignored him but was heard on his open mic mocking the question and calling Doocy a “stupid son of a b----.”

https://www.westernjournal.com/thanks-hot-mic-entire-world-hears-biden-curse-fox-reporter-nailed-tough-question/

Granted, this raises legitimate concerns. One of Biden’s big campaign points in attacking Trump was to claim he would always respect the press.

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/01/24/analysis-the-real-biden-peeks-out-from-behind-the-mask-n511984

Trump sparred with the press, but reporters were often just flat-out nasty and harangued and attacked him to his face (I know, because they did it to his spokespersons, too, and I am quite close to one of those.) But Biden scolds and curses reporters just for asking legitimate questions.

It also raised alarm bells with those who worry about Biden’s mental state, as flying into rages is common among elderly people suffering cognitive decline. Biden did later call Doocy to “clear the air” (notice Doocy wouldn’t say he apologized.)

https://www.foxnews.com/media/fox-news-peter-doocy-biden-cleared-the-air

But then, this is the second time in a week that he’s attacked a reporter for asking a reasonable question.

To their credit, Doocy and most people at Fox News laughed off the incident, but the reaction at other outlets was as disturbing as Biden’s own outburst. The same outlets that would have gone ballistic over this “assault on the press” if Trump had said the same thing rushed to downplay or even celebrate Biden’s outburst. For instance, CNN’s Brian Stelter said Biden “deadpanned” the comment, as if it were a witty jest.

https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2022/01/24/cnn-has-received-the-talking-points-president-joe-biden-deadpanned-that-stupid-sob-line-about-peter-doocy/

Stelter also predicted that Fox would turn it into 48 hours of furious outrage, which is what CNN would have done had it been Trump, but the opposite of what Fox did, since conservatives still have a sense of humor.

https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2022/01/24/president-biden-caught-on-hot-mic-calling-fox-news-peter-doocy-a-stupid-son-of-a-btch/

And some liberals went into a fit of rage at the fact that Republicans still have a sense of humor and didn't go into a fit of rage.

https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2022/01/24/media-matters-deputy-director-of-rapid-response-seems-upset-peter-doocy-and-jesse-watters-dont-seem-upset/

So while the jury is still out about what Biden’s profane outbursts against the press say about Biden’s mental processes, the reaction of the media to them makes it very clear what’s going on in their heads, and it ain’t objective journalism.

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