Threats made against members of Congress have more than doubled this year compared to the one before, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) said Friday, adding that the agency has sought additional help from the FBI.
“This year alone, there has been a 107% increase in threats against Members compared to 2020,” USCP said in a press release issued in response to a report from its Office of the Inspector General.
“Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase,” USCP said in the press release.
USCP did not specify precisely how many threats have been made to members of Congress of this year, nor did it note the nature or seriousness of the reported instances.
In response to the growing threats, the agency said it supports recommendations proposed by its Office of the Inspector General, or OIG, its internal watchdog, included in its latest “flash report.”
Of the 10 recommendations, USCP said it believes the most impactful are ones specific to increasing its threat assessment manpower and establishing a stand-alone counter-surveillance entity.
“The USCP agrees a stand-alone counter-surveillance unit would be valuable,” USCP said. “However, in order to fully implement this recommendation, the Department would require additional resources for new employees, training and vehicles as well as approval from Congressional stakeholders.”
USCP also said it agrees it could be “more reliant on the FBI” for threat assessments, and it acknowledged that it has “requested additional investigative and enhanced prosecution assistance.”
The flash report that prompted the response from USCP is the third of its kind issued recently by its OIG in the aftermath of the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol building that occurred on Jan. 6.
Its contents are likely to be discussed during a hearing set for Monday before the Committee on House Administration, entitled “Oversight of the January 6th Attack: United States Capitol Police Threat Assessment and Counter-Surveillance Before and During the Attack.”
Previously, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman testified last month that threats to lawmakers had increased 93.5% during the first two months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
More recently, a report this week by the Cox Media Group said that USCP data show there had been 4,135 reported threats made against members of Congress between Jan. 1 and March 11 of this year.
Comparatively, threats made against lawmakers numbered 3,939 in 2017, 5,206 in 2018, 6,955 in 2019 and 8,613 in 2020, Cox Media Group reported Thursday.