Gingrich Agrees to Extra Security for Trip to Work

<i> From a Times Staff Writer</i>

House Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will end his longtime practice of walking to work and, bowing to the urgings of the U.S. Capitol Police, instead will ride in a van protected by armed guards.

Gingrich’s aides said he has received several death threats. So did departing Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.).

As the person second in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president, the Speaker traditionally receives extra protection and Gingrich’s security detail will be “in line” with Foley’s, officials said.


Furthermore, law enforcement officials acknowledged that they are a bit on edge over a series of events in recent months: the crashing of a small plane into the side of the White House and three shooting incidents near the executive mansion.

But the new security measures have less to do with any particular threat than with the realities that confront all public officials, police officials say.

Earlier this month, for example, Capitol police arrested a man in the Senate office building carrying a .22-caliber revolver in his pocket, said Dan Nichols, spokesman for the Capitol police force. A search of the man’s car revealed three more handguns, an assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.

“There’s a constant reason for concern,” Nichols said.

Gingrich initially resisted accepting the security detail--mindful of the political price he paid a few years ago when an opponent chided him for riding in a government-paid limousine. His new vehicle will be a minivan.