Capitol Police Board to upgrade windows as part of security overhaul following Jan. 6 attack
Authorities are planning to upgrade windows at the U.S. Capitol in coming months as part of a larger effort to enhance the building’s security in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The action follows a Los Angeles Times report last year that found rioters exploited several unreinforced windows to enter the complex and attempt to stop certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.
Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said Tuesday that installations for window upgrades would begin in the spring.
“The windows are under design right now,” Manger told reporters at a news conference. “The reason it’s starting then is because it’s weather-dependent. When you do it, you need to have it above freezing temperatures.”
Two windows and two doors used by Jan. 6 rioters were among only a few that weren’t reinforced during a Capitol security upgrade that started in 2017.
The window vulnerability was revealed in a Times investigation published in October that found four major access points that a pro-Trump mob used to overtake the Capitol — including ground-floor windows and glass-paned doors — had not been reinforced during a 2017-2019 renovation.
During that renovation, most of the building’s original wooden frames and glass were covered with a second metal frame containing bomb-resistant glass, designed to reduce injuries in the event of a terrorist attack.
But planners skipped about a dozen ground-floor windows, including some located in doors, because they were deemed to be low risk in the event of implosion due to their discreet or shielded location. In some cases, it was decided the structure could not handle the load of the heavier frames.
Those more vulnerable windows and doors were quickly penetrated by rioters, The Times reported, while the reinforced windows remained largely intact, even when damaged.
Until Tuesday, it was unclear whether officials would upgrade windows as part of the larger security overhaul approved after the attack. Officials on Tuesday did not specify which windows would be upgraded or whether they included those identified by The Times.
Manger said his department has spent the last year seeking to implement improvements in response to more than 100 recommendations made in various oversight reports.
“To date, we have completed or addressed over 90 of those recommendations,” he said. “When I say completed, that means we’ve implemented the recommendations. When I say we’ve addressed them, that is that we have a detailed plan in place to implement, but we’re not fully completed yet with that recommendation, so the work continues.”
Asked if there were any security concerns heading into Thursday’s anniversary of the insurrection, Manger said his department has received no intelligence indicating the Capitol faced any serious threats.
“As we approach one year since January 6th and continue our work to defeat the pandemic, it is essential that we protect the Capitol, which is a beacon of our democracy, and all who work within it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said in a statement. “We must ensure that families and children can visit the Capitol, lawmakers can do our jobs, press can report and the Congress can serve the American people — all with safety and security.”
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