- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

A senator with fiscal oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police said yesterday that security changes are needed after an armed man crashed his vehicle at a construction area and got into the building.

“The changes that occur will be administrative in nature, and I don’t mean anyone losing their job, but changes in the configuration of who is responsible for what and when,” said Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican.

Mr. Allard, who heads the Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch, made the comments a few hours after meeting with acting Capitol Police Chief Christopher M. McGaffin.

He said he could not divulge what was discussed.

“One thing I can tell you is that the Capitol is safer today than it was on Monday, when this happened,” Mr. Allard said.

The senator also said staffers from the flag office initially overpowered the intruder, not Capitol Police officers.

Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, confirmed his account, saying “it was a matter of seconds” before officers arrived.

Carlos Greene, 20, of Silver Spring, was tackled after a foot chase through the Capitol that began shortly before 8 a.m. on Monday. He had a loaded handgun and crack cocaine in his possession.

He is expected today in U.S. District Court for a preliminary hearing.

An Allard staffer said the senator routinely assesses security at checkpoints around the Capitol, adding that Mr. Allard already has made two test runs where Monday’s breach occurred.

Capitol Police are investigating the incident to draft a detailed report, but Mr. Allard said no deadline for the report has been established.

Mr. Allard has scheduled a Nov. 14 oversight hearing that will examine delays and rising costs of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center — now estimated to be as high as $596 million — and security issues.

“We have asked that we get more information between now and then,” the senator said.

Monday’s security breach could further set back the already delayed opening of the visitor center if the Capitol Police report on the incident indicates that more safety measures are needed.

Mr. Allard said he does not foresee any structural changes being necessary to enhance security.

The visitor center plans have been changed twice in the past eight years — once after the fatal shootings of Capitol Police Officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson in 1998 by mentally ill assailant Russell Eugene Weston Jr. and again after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide