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Capitol Security Report: Leaving Front Door Key Under Doormat a Mistake

Ransacking of Capitol marred by security flaws

Photo by Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

The much-anticipated report on the security failures that allowed a mob of insurrectionists to invade the US Capital Building on January 6th, 2021, is scathingly critical of protective measures such as leaving the key to the front door of the building under the mat.

Says the report:

Leaving the front door key under the mat is a well-established security measure, which makes it all the more egregious. Given the seriousness of the invasion and the fact that the authorities knew it was coming, they should have tightened security. For example, the key could have been left in a safer location such as in a nearby plant pot or under a convenient rock.

There is some confusion over how the mob located the key. A note found in the debris after the attack offers some clues, the report says. The note was written by a Republican lawmaker, and video footage indicates it was pinned to the front door of the Capitol Building prior to the insurrection. Apparently, the lawmaker was expecting an Amazon package, and the note asked the driver to leave the package inside the door after opening it with the key under the mat.

The report rebukes the senator for leaving the note.

The lawmaker should be disciplined in the harshest possible way. We recommend confiscating the senator’s notepaper.

Democrats agree with the recommendation, but it has caused outrage among Republicans for being misguided. Republicans argue that the lawmaker was upholding the building’s safety code because visitors can trip over packages left on the doorstep. They want the senator to receive a medal of commendation.

The report cites several other security breaches that left the Capitol vulnerable to attack. For example, it recommends that the practice of leaving floor maps of the building at the entrance should be reviewed. At the very least, the report says, the maps should be revised. It questions the need to provide colored arrows leading visitors to where lawmakers sit, their office locations, where they park, and where they hang out. Highlighting places where lawmakers keep valuables such as laptops and confidential information may be ill-advised, the report suggests.

Some of the report’s ideas are more controversial. It suggests that a Seditionists Registry be established; a registry of all US citizens who plan to commit seditious acts. In the future, only registered seditionists would be allowed to storm the Capitol Building.

Requiring seditionists to register in this way would make future ransackings more orderly and easier to manage, says the report.

However, the idea has little chance of being implemented. Republications object to such a registry on the grounds that it victimizes citizens engaged in overthrowing the government and “violates their constitutional rights.”

Still, the report has triggered some meaningful change. The Capitol Building’s front door key will now be kept in a heavy-duty, bullet-proof plant pot somewhere near the main entrance.

K. B. Cottrill writes fiction, non-fiction, and things in-between. Ken@cottrillcom.com.

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K. B. Cottrill

K. B. Cottrill

Constantly losing the main plot while finding quirkier ones to write about for print, stage, and screen.