An increase in threats to US lawmakers over the last two years has also extended to their family members, according to federal law enforcement officials, and a lack of federal protection for family members has frustrated some members of Congress.
The security detail for lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, does not protect their family members, including spouses, when the members of Congress are not with them, according to multiple sources. Some lawmakers have received additional security in their home districts from local police departments and private contractors.
After the attack on Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger told CNN that the threats against his own family included one that mentioned killing his young child. But when he asked US Capitol Police for additional security, they essentially told him to “get in line,” Kinzinger said.
Like other lawmakers, Kinzinger’s security detail does not protect his family when he is not with them, and the lack of assistance provided by Capitol Police has meant his campaign would have to foot the bill for any additional security.
Calls for violence against lawmakers online and elsewhere have referenced both elected officials and their families, according to sources familiar with the threat environment who told CNN that law enforcement agencies have been grappling with how to address those threats in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
In the months following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies worked to increase protection for members of Congress when they are in Washington, DC, and traveling back to their home districts.
Capitol Police declined to comment when asked Friday about security for the families of lawmakers.
A senior aide on Capitol Hill tells CNN that Capitol Police are now assessing additional security options for the protection of families of congressional leadership.
Federal law enforcement agencies have consistently warned about the increasing threat of politically motivated violence after Jan. 6, raising specific concerns about the likelihood that online calls for violence result in real-world attacks.
According to the most recent statistics, Capitol Police tracked roughly 9,600 threats in 2021 against the people and places the department is charged with protecting. It’s unclear how many threats were made against family members.
Several lawmakers have sought additional protection from US Capitol Police after receiving threats to their families, but the agency largely lacks the resources and training to fill those requests, according to one source familiar with the matter.
Read the original article