U.S. Capitol should be secured with ‘mobile fencing,’ other steps recommended

FILE PHOTO: National Guard soldiers stand guard near the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An expert report unveiled on Monday recommended using “mobile fencing” to protect the U.S. Capitol and urged the creation of a rapid-reaction response force in Washington, while calling the U.S. Capitol Police poorly prepared for the Jan. 6 attack on the building.

The 15-page report, compiled by a group headed by retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, also recommended an upgrade to U.S. Capitol Police intelligence capabilities. The report was requested by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the aftermath of the rampage by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters that left five people dead including a police officer.

The report was broadly critical of the U.S. Capitol Police department’s preparedness in the run-up to the attack.

“The USCP were understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and members” of Congress, the report stated.

One recommendation called for eventually replacing the fencing erected around the Capitol after the attack with a “mobile fencing” option.

Other recommendations included beefed-up intelligence operations and training within Capitol Police, and the creation of a new “quick-reaction force” covering the entire city of Washington under the command of the District of Columbia National Guard and using military police from across the United States on temporary rotations.

The report noted that the city is a “prominent tourist destination, venue for many peaceful First Amendment activities, and a high-value target for foreign terrorists or domestic extremists, yet it has no dedicated QRF (quick-reaction force) for response to crises.”

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Will Dunham)

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