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Burglaries Raise Questions About House Security

Lewis spokesman Jim Specht added that his boss is also interested in whether additional cameras can be installed in some areas of House office buildings.

“He has urged [Capitol Police], in a non-official way at this point, to please take a look into how things stand in terms of tech security and see if there may have been failings where someone could have had a better chance of spotting what was going on,” Specht said.

But Specht and Runyan press secretary Andrew Fasoli also acknowledged that the Capitol Police force is limited in terms of what it can do given the vast area it has to cover and the resources it is given to do so.

“They’ve been doing as great a job as they can, especially given everything they have to do,” Fasoli said. “Obviously we’d love to have as much police presence as possible, and I think there is a great presence.”

Fasoli added that upon reporting the incident to the Capitol Police, officers were on the scene within 10 minutes, dusting for fingerprints and taking statements.

“In the Rayburn Building, it would be pretty much impossible to do any kind of 24-hour security that would be effective without a huge amount of manpower,” Specht said of the building in which his office is located: “There are nooks and crannies and corners and the same is true for portions of Longworth and Cannon.”

Irving, who assumed the Sergeant-at-Arms post in January, said he is looking at a variety of options for streamlining security operations across House buildings and the Capitol proper.

The House Administration Committee’s memo also included a plea to lawmakers and staffers that “all offices remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity to the USCP Criminal Investigations Section.”

Specht agreed that the offices themselves are the first line of defense.

“Mr. Lewis agrees with the Committee on House Administration that this is a wake-up call for offices to realize they are responsible for protecting their own equipment” Specht said.

Irving said he is happy with how House law enforcement has been handling the investigation.

“As you know, things take a little bit of time ... conducting interviews, talking to staff, to anyone who might have had access to those offices,” Irving said. “I feel very comfortable that [officers] are following every investigative lead possible, and I have assurances that they will do everything they possibly can to get to the bottom of the incidents.”

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