By Duncan Smith
You may remember earlier this month when Nancy Pelosi announced that she was authorizing the Capitol Police to establish field offices in Florida and California.
'The USCP has enhanced our staffing within our Dignitary Protection Division as well as coordinated for enhanced security for Members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region,' Pittman's statement said. 'The Department is also in the process of opening Regional Field Offices in California and Florida with additional regions in the near future to investigate threats to Members of Congress.'
'The USCP has enhanced our staffing within our Dignitary Protection Division as well as coordinated for enhanced security for Members of Congress outside of the National Capitol Region,' Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement at the time. 'The Department is also in the process of opening Regional Field Offices in California and Florida with additional regions in the near future to investigate threats to Members of Congress.'
Trending Politics outlines the problem with this branch office concept:
The issue with the Capitol Police opening branches around the United States is that the agency is exempt from normal mechanisms of public accountability. It essentially acts as the U.S. Congress's staff of bodyguards. A June 2020 article in Roll Call about the Capitol Police's 'secrecy' is relevant.
'Democrats and Republicans in Congress have called for an overhaul of law enforcement practices following the police killing of George Floyd, but those same lawmakers who want accountability and transparency nationwide aren't taking a stance on whether their own department, the Capitol Police, should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act,' the report said. 'As a part of the legislative branch, the department remains exempt from the law.'
'Despite the public outcry for more transparency, none of the lawmakers who serve on committees whose jurisdiction includes the Capitol Police said the force charged with protecting and securing Congress should be subject to the 1966 Freedom of Information Act that requires federal agencies to disclose a large amount of government information to the public,' the report added.
Now, apparently, the agency is being handed military-grade surveillance gear used by our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Breitbart News:
The United States Capitol Police (USCP) is poised to begin using the same military surveillance systems that American troops used against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, as it moves into a 'new path towards an intelligence based protective agency' after the January 6 Capitol breach.
The USCP released a statement last week that said through a loan from the Department of Defense (DOD), it will have access to 'state-of-the-art campus surveillance technology, which will enhance the ability to detect and monitor threat activity.'
The USCP notes further:
Under this arrangement, the DoD will provide eight Persistent Surveillance Systems Ground – Medium (PSSG-M) units, on a reimbursable basis, for a period of one year. The Army will install the units and will train USCP personnel or authorized contractors to operate the systems. Except for required maintenance of the systems, no DoD personnel will operate the PSSG-M units.
The PSSG-M provides high-definition surveillance video, including night vision. This technology will be integrated with existing USCP camera infrastructure, providing greater high definition surveillance capacity to meet steady-state mission requirements and help identify emerging threats. The PSSG-M system does not include facial recognition.
Now, here is what this gear is capable of, according to the Army's Program Executive Office (PEO) for Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors (IEW&S) website described a similarly named system, the Persistent Ground Surveillance Systems (PGSS):
The PGSS provides day/night, 360-degree detection, surveillance, and target marking capability with an ability to stay aloft for up to 30 days. It is capable of detecting hostile fire, providing target coordinates to appropriate command and control centers, fire control centers, and is capable of marking ground targets for rapid reaction forces for engagement.
So, we’ve got a law enforcement agency that is supposed to be limited to protecting lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol Complex suddenly being transformed and expanded into yet another government intelligence agency to go along with the 17 others we already have.
Sorry — where in the statutes or the Constitution is this authorized?
Breitbart News adds:
It is not clear who would store the Capitol surveillance data or where the data would go — which could present privacy and civil liberties concerns.
Indeed, a federal appeals court ruled last month that the Baltimore Police Department's use of persistent surveillance technology was unconstitutional and violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure…
The impetus for all of this, of course, is the lie that the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol was an “insurrection.”
We have a dramatic expanse of the federal government’s power taking place and We the People, through our representatives, have not authorized it.
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