Sergeant-at-Arms

Downloadable Guns Would Pose Unique Risk to Capitol, Gainer Says
‘Even the most technologically advanced security cannot neutralize all possible threats,’ Ex-Senate sergeant-at-arms writes

Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer says not permanently stopping downloadable plastic guns “will increase the challenges of protecting the security of members of Congress, their staffs and visitors to the Capitol.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | The only person to hold both top law enforcement roles at the Capitol says downloadable plastic guns would pose an added challenge of “detection and defense” for those who protect Capitol Hill.

Terrance W. Gainer, who served as Senate sergeant-at-arms for seven years and before that as the chief of the Capitol Police, said he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but elected officials must recognize the “unique threat downloadable firearms pose to public safety.”

Senators Working to Reinstate Mandatory Cyber Training
House mandated all staff training in 2015, while Senate lapsed in requirements

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt and his colleagues on the panel are working to reinstate mandatory cybersecurity training for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate staffers are not required to undergo information security or cybersecurity training, even as hackers target Congress.

“The cybersecurity threat is very real, and frankly we haven’t stepped up and done what I think we should do to deal with it — which should be an all government response,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said when asked Tuesday about attempted hacks of Senate networks.

McCaskill Staff Dodges Hack but Hill Security Still Lags
Staff thwarted the hack, but training isn’t mandatory

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks at a press conference in the Capitol Thursday July 19, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Russian hackers targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, staffers did not take the bait.

That could mean the money Congress poured into improved training and a more robust information security posture for staff is working. But the legislative branch is still playing catch up to get ahead of threats.