EXCLUSIVE: The government should create an around-the-clock “quick reaction force” of federal law enforcement officers or members of the National Guard at the U.S. Capitol, a six-week security review of the Jan. 6 riot led by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has recommended.
A draft copy of the task force’s recommendations, exclusively obtained by Fox News, also calls for U.S. Capitol police reforms, an increased National Guard presence and stocking up on mobile fencing that could be deployed in response to a crisis in the future, then quickly packed up when it’s over.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had asked Honoré to lead a team of experts, dubbed Task Force 1-6, in a “nonpartisan” security review of the Capitol after the riot.
The QRF, as proposed, would be manned 24/7, 365 days a year, and cost taxpayers between $40 and $130 million annually.
“[W]e recommend establishment of a robust, dedicated QRF, not only for the USCP, but to serve the nation’s capital writ large,” the report from Task Force 1-6 says.
Members of the force would either be recruited from existing federal law enforcement, established under the D.C. National Guard or from Guard units from all over the U.S. for three to six month stints, or reestablishing a military police battalion from troops “who live in or near the city year-round, perpetually on active duty.”
Other recommendations include hiring nearly 900 more USCP officers, a 40% increase to the force. The department put in about 720,000 overtime hours in the last fiscal year, and currently has more than 200 vacant positions.
“Not only is this model unsustainable, it leaves the force with no ability to pull officers from the line to train,” the report says.
The documents also recommend that Capitol Police leadership be freed from bureaucratic red tape that slowed down the response on Jan. 6. The report accused the U.S. Capitol Police of being “understaffed, insufficiently equipped, and inadequately trained” to handle the violent mob that stormed the Capitol.
Notably absent from the report is any indication the Pentagon slowed requests for the National Guard to respond. The report says only a “handful” of Capitol Police officers “have significant intelligence training.”
“The [Capitol Police Board’s] deliberate decision-making process proved too slow and cumbersome to respond to the crisis in January, delaying requests for critical supplemental resources,” the task force concluded. “Specifically, the USCP Chief should not require CPB approval to request assistance from external agencies or the National Guard in an emergency.”
The task force called for the USCP to invest more in intelligence capabilities, improve internal communications and equip officers with earpiece radio receivers.
“Without earpieces, many officers were also unable to hear or understand radio communications due to overwhelming noise from the crowd,” the task force found.
Not only are earpieces needed, but younger K-9 police dogs as well. The report cited “aging dogs” as hampering security and recommended “retirements” for some of the K-9s to increase security at the Capitol. Bringing back a mounted police unit on horseback would also be a “force multiplier.”
Questions have been raised by lawmakers who say the Task Force appointed by Pelosi was not bipartisan.
Told about Honore’s recommendations’, Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., said in a statement to Fox News: “Speaker Pelosi continues to play politics behind closed doors regarding our security on Capitol Hill and lawmakers have been left in the dark for too long. Before any extension for National Guard presence is finalized, lawmakers should be briefed on the latest intelligence threat assessments to determine the necessity of keeping our servicemembers away from their families and full-time jobs. If more security is needed, it should by our Capitol Police with better planning and intelligence, not drawing from National Guardsmen and women that are needed for other missions such as vaccine distribution, natural disaster and overseas deployments.”
Honoré’s review has not been without controversy. He drew criticism from GOP lawmakers and a former Capitol police official for his blunt assessment of the riot.
Honoré, who also led the military’s relief response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of the Gulf Coast in 2005, referred to USCP officers as “a–hats” for asking him to follow security protocols during a visit to the Capitol, claimed that officers “allowed their buddies in” to the building — and that rioters had help from those inside the force. He also claimed that 30 to 40% of officers on the USCP are “Trumpsters.”
“Although we are grateful for his service to our country, [Lt. Gen.] Honoré has made many comments critical of U.S. Capitol Police officers and certain Members of Congress — statements that call into question the supposed impartiality of his review,” a group of House Republicans wrote in a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday.
And last month, Honoré claimed the USCP and the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms were “complicit” in the Capitol riot.
“It’s disrespectful to myself and the members of the Capitol Police department,” said former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned in the wake of the chaos.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
Draft recommendations from Capitol riot task force led by Lt. Gen. Russel Honore released, Fox learns