tv Architect of the Capitol Blanton Testifies on January 6 Attack CSPAN February 26, 2021 2:35am-4:18am EST
blant on the january 6th attack and security improvements needed in the building. >> as this hearing is fully virtual, i got to address a few housekeeping matters. first, for today's meeting, the chair or staff designated by the chair may mute participants' microphones when they are not under recognition for the purposes of eliminating inadvertent background noise. second, members are responsible for muting and unmuting themselves, if i notice when you are recognized that you have not unmuted yourself, i will ask you
if you would like the staff to unmute you, if you indicate approval by nodding, staff will unmute your microphone. third, i want to remind all members and witnesses that the five-minute clock still applies, if there is a technology issue, we will move to the next member until the issue is resolved, and you will retain the balance of your time. you will notice a clock on your screen that will show how much time is remaining. at one minute remaining the clock will turn yellow and when your time has expired, the clock will turn red and i'll begin to recognize the next member. fourth in terms of the speaking order we will be following the order set forth in the house rules, beginning with the chair and the ranking member, then members present at the time, the hearing is called to order will be recognized in order of seniority. finally, house rules require me to remind you we have set up an email address to which members
it send anything they wish to submit in writing at any of our hearings or markups. the email address has been provided in advance to your staff. good morning to our panel. i'm happy to welcome brett blanton and chief administrative officer katherine spindor and house curator barar elliott. today is the second of three hearings reviewing the aftermath of the breach of the capitol by an insurrectionist mob january 6th. none of us at this hearing will soon forget that day but how we remember it determines how we move forward and collectively learn from the mistakes. if we do not adapt oare choose to only prepare for the last encounter, the capital campus will continue to be vulnerable to unknown and unexpected threats. this building, the capitol, which thomas jefferson called the first temple dedicated to
the sovereignty of the people stands for more than just us. it stands for tomorrow and the day after that. it stands for a future for all people and while it may seem to be a leap to some, this very small subcommittee is at the forefront as one of the protectors of representative democracy. we cannot militarize the capitol in response to an attempted ransacking of representative democracy. this is not what these first three hearings are about. the purpose of this hearing is to dig deeper into what we are doing to support our house employees during these turbulent times. it is to learn from the cao on the current and future security and covid-19 related needs for the house. it is to receive an update on the damages to the house, both physical and to collections because of the events of january
6 and most importantly, it is to continue the discussion on next steps to ensuring the physical safety of our campus, for members of congress to carry out our constitutional duties to provide resources to our capitol hill community and heal from the traumatic event, maintain a safe and open campus as much as possible so visitors from across the country and around the world can witness representative democracy in action. is it t is incumbent on all of us to talk to each other and i welcome our witnesses today. we are thankful for your leadership and the staff you are your organizations who worked so hard to make this house run. at this point i'd like to yield to ranking member jamie butler for any opening comments she'd like to make. miss herrera butler?
>> i was going to put my other head phone in but i've only got the one. hopefully you guys can hear me okay. thank you for that mr. chairman. mr. blanton, miss spindor, miss elliott, thank you for taking the time to be here. it was a pleasure to connect with you all before we got going. this past year with covid-19 pandemic and the capitol six riot placed a great strain on our capitol hill community, it's more important than ever that members and staff have access to resources that helped people endure the high stress work environment and access a wholistic approach in managing the, really managing everything that we've been going through. can you hear me okay? chairman ryan, i can see everybody else looks like they're kind of frozen. am i frozen? all right.
>> you're fine. >> last week we heard from the directorless of office of employee assistance and wellness center to provide mental health resources to the ledge branch. these offices were well prepared and well equipped to give the appropriate support to staff and capital officers in the aftermath of the january 6th riot and i look forward to hearing about the services and how they continue to grow and to adapt. for the architect of the capital and aoc team you all deserve credit for your hard work in cleaning and repairing the capitol grounds immediately after the building was cleared by the capitol police and we've already talked about the costs associated with some of those things and repairing basically getting the grounds ready again in such short order. this includes the front line
workers who also kept this place running and sanitized even over the last year, throughout the pandemic, something i remember last year talking about what were the enhanced cleaning procedures going to be. it took monumental effort to restore the capitol and inaugural stands two weeks after the attack. it's been a lot that you guys have been inundated with. the aoc is charged with the stewardship of the capitol complex and grounds, the capitol functions not only as a monument and museum, a living museum but it also is an office building where we do the people's work. with that in mind it's important to balance the need of repairing the damages made from the riot with preserving marks from that day to mark the historical reminder of the riot, something we should not forget. the aoc and the senator have the challenge of determining what to
restore and preserve so future generations can view and understand the historical significance of january 6th. it's my hope the aoc will work with the cuators and house community making decisions. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> without objection your written tmz will be made part of the record. summarize your statements as we move to mr. blanton. we want you to begin and after your statement miss spindor and then to the house curator. once the statements are complete we will move to question and answers. please begin, we'll start with you, build blanton. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member. members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today about the architect of the capitol response efforts following the january 6th, 2021 u.s. capitol
breaching. the events of this january 6 were difficult for the american people and extremely hard for us on campus to witness. as we continue to deal with the shock and disappointment over the actions of those who attacked the capital building i remain proud of and encouraged by the professionalism displayed by the aoc team in the face of this dangerous and stressful event. on the morning of january 6, my team were preparing the ground in the inauguration stage. our artists were pantding the stands a bright white with a deep blue edge on the stage of the platform. midday as crowds began to appear on the west front our staff secured our equipment and was moved indoors. over the course of a couple hours the hard work of the team was destroyed. the platform was wrecked. there's broken glass and debris everywhere, the sound system and photography equipment was stolen
or damaged beyond repair. two were ripped from the ground and wet blue paint was tracked across the historic stone balistrades and hallways of the capitol. as the crowd began crashing through windows and prying open doors my staff undertook several unheralded actions in support of congress. aoc employees identified and sheltered congressional staff to protect them from the roving mob. other members raced to the roof to reverse the air flow within the building to clear the air of chemical irritants such as bear spray repellant and pepper spray. while other team members rushed bottles of water and eye wash stations to capitol police officers in need of assistance. in my opinion we served as a light of hope that day and in the days following insurrection. as soon as the security
officials cleared the building, aoc employees worked tirelessly to clean up and begin repair work, carpenters covered broken windows and doors with plywood to secure the building, laborers began sweeping up glass and broken furniture to enable congress to continue its work. our groundskeepers cleared a small mountain of debris left on the west and east fronts and our painters carefully repainted the platform. we were committed to and ensured the electoral college certification process would continue on january 6th, furthermore we were sharply focused on ensuring the campus was prepared for the presidential inauguration without interruption to signal our nation's determination to support the ballot. my team has worked nonstop. as an experienced combat veteran i am mindful of the stress that such an event has on employees.
i know next several weeks and months my team will need counseling and support to process this event. the safety and personal health of aoc employees is my highest priority. the agency provides support services through our employee assistance program which is free, voluntary and confidential. employees have access to trained staff counselors through our eap. they can also use talk now, which offers aoc employees immediate employees immediate, 24/7 telephonic access to confidential in the moment counseling support, delivered by quality behavioral health professionals with no appointment necessary. in addition to these services, many resources are available to aoc employees. in the weeks following the building breach, we also hosted
an office-hours employee session to provide a venue to all employees to share concerns, ask questions and hear directly from our director of eap and the agency's om budsman. we're providing counseling for our tradesmen and artists who were directly affected by he events of january 6th. we have been in pandemic operations for nearly a year. we supported three lying in state honor ceremonies and prepared for a presidential inauguration, all during the pandemic. i'm honored to lead a team whose extraordinary efforts on january 6th and the days that followed help americans of all walks of like to see order renewed at the
u.s. capitol. we're prepared to address ongoing future needs. thank you, and i'm prepared to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, mr. blanton. we appreciate you've had quite the first year here. we appreciate what you've done. next, ms. pandora. >> thank you. as you know my appointment began on sunday, january 3rd. just three days later, the capitol was under siege. i was sheltered in place as
chaos ensued just outside our office in the capitol. although i'll never forget those harrowing hours, i'm tremendously grateful for the dedication and rapid response of so many of my colleagues and professionals including, members, staff and the capitol police. they were shining examples of the commitment we all share. as the insurrection was occurring, our office of cyber security took several critical actions to secure the house network, equipment and infrastructure remained secure. over the following several weeks we provided guidance to the house community and responded to various membering inquiries about the house's cyber security
posture. please know the house's chief information security officer and his staff are prepared to brief any member interested in discussing the current state of cyber security at the house. in response to the mental and emotional well-being of the community, we handled over 1,350 individual interactions since january 6th. at the peak of their work load oea has seven additional counselors to support the staff. the contracting staff including four on site crisis counselors dedicated specifically to the u.s. capitol police. be assured we'll continue to coordinate with the capitol police to determine future consulting services and how we can best support them.
i recognize the gravity of the moment we find ourselves in. as such, i encourage any member or staffer of the house community who is struggling with a personal issue to please reach out to the office of employee assistance. they are poised and positioned to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. the house wellness center has been another integral component in promoting the health and well-being of the members. as a champion of this program, mr. chairman, we can't thank you enough. we take a stance to ensure well-being to the entire house community. their solutions are offered on a variety of platforms, ensuring every member has the same level of access and care and includes support for personal issues that may impact an individual's
overall mental and physical well-being. the growth and popularity of the wellness center in just two years is highly impressive. i would like to take this opportunity to highlight the aoc's response to the covid-19 pandemic. less than a year ago today, the cao rapidly responded to prepare offices for maximum work. this daunting and unprecedented challenge required coordination with no prior road map to replicate. fortunately the unwavering support to house leadership made this possible. while we couldn't have understood the full impact of the pandemic, it's important to highlight our migration to microsoft office 365 in the summer of 2019 was critical to our successful ability to tell
tellwork. we have supported 425,000 virtual meetings and an average of more than 6,000 house staffers who were able to connect on a -- excuse me -- daily basis to do their work. as the nation continues to cope with the covid-19 pandemic, the cao stands ready to assist and execute critical initiatives in support of ongoing operations for the house of representatives. thank you, chairman ryan, ranking member herrera beutler and members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to participate in today's hearing. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. thank you. >> thank you. we appreciate you and your team.
mr. blanton had an interesting first year. you had an interesting first couple months. we appreciate you rising to the occasion. next, ms. elliot. >> chairperson ryan, ranking member herrera beutler, thank you for your ongoing support for the office of the clerks work and for the opportunity to testify today about the clerk's response to the damage of the fine arts in the house on january 6th and our budget request related to that damage. the house collection of fine art encompasses the sweep of the institutions history. 13,000 objects tell the story of the people's house as provided in u.s. code and under the direction of the house collections oversight body, the clerk is responsible for care of this collection.
219 objects from the house collection were on display in the capitol on january 6th. on january 7th i and the rest of the clerk's staff made a preliminary inspection of every object on display. the senator curator and i undertook a walk-through of the building. our preliminary inspection identified eight objects with potential damage, six sculptures and two paintings. all are adjacent to the chambers north doors and they were covered in a fine powder. the smithsonian identify and analyzed that powder as fire extinguisher particulate containing an oily yellow dye. in the coming weeks we will begin conservation treatment to remove chemicals and dye before
they cause permanent discoloration and harm. conservation of those eight objects is significantly more than the unexpected damage that we plan for every year. our entire conservation plan for this fiscal year is only six projects. annual treatment for delicate treasures like the silver ink stand in the chamber. scheduled treatment for other pieces that are stable, but eventually need work, and a plan to address one instance of emergency intervention. to enable us to conserve eight objects as emergency interventions, as well as continue the sound care of the entire collection, we respectfully request the subcommittee's support for a supplemental appropriation of $25,000. thank you again for the
subcommittee's continued support of the clerk's role as a steward of the house's heritage. thank you for the opportunity to meet to testify about that. i look forward to answering any questions the committee has. >> thanks, ms. elliot. we appreciate it. thanks for all the good work you do behind the scenes. we work in such a special place and i know, like most members, we sometimes take it for granted. we're always hustling to go get a vet in or run to a meeting, but we really appreciate the work. it's such a magnificent space you help preserve. we'll move to the question and answers. we will start with the ranking member, ms. herrera beutler. >> thank you so much.
just hearing that last piece -- hearing from all of you was important, but it just -- just what the chairman said you stop and think about the fact that we are -- we get to work in this place, the people's house. it's the most amazing thing ever. we do scurry around a lot, and thank you all. that's your job to think about it all the time to preserve for the american people. i so appreciate it. i'm going to start with mr. blanton. as a member of the capitol police board, you have insight into the decisions made on january 6th. i'm particularly interested in the statement you released in response to acting u.s. capitol police chief pitman's testimony where she said the capitol police made a request of the
board prior to january 6th. you said there were verbal or written requests prior to january 6th. i think the question is, why do you feel compelled to release that statement and explain on the assessor tags you made in the statement? could you detail any formal or informal meetings that were held by the board prior to january 6th and what those meetings entailed? then i have a follow up if there's time. thank you. >> yes, i'm happy to answer. there were two points that i refute. one was my attendance at a meeting on january 3rd. in that meeting no individual from the architect or the capitol staff nor i was at that meeting. it was later learned that meeting had been with a smaller audience, but did not include my staff. the second point was that she
mentioned that chief sund asked the police board for additional resources. the chief, as he stated in his testimony yesterday, went directly to both sergeants at arms and asked for that. i was refuting the point that i was not asked specifically for those -- for additional resources. there was a meeting on january 5th that was hosted by chief sund regarding the inauguration planning. it was an interagency meeting with police officers throughout the washington, d.c. area. during that, there was -- most of it was introduction of what the roles and responsibilities were at the inauguration. there was a little discussion about january 6th, most of it centered around -- at that time
there was no credible evident, although there was chatter for events that may occur on january 6th. >> thank you. with regard to the board specifically -- i know you just detailed the meetings that took place. i apologize if you hear a baby screaming in the background. are you aware of any discussion by the actual board members showing the possible disturbance on the 6th? >> as an entity we did not have that. i understand there was an intelligence assessment released on the 4th by the capitol police. it went to the sergeants at arms and from what i've learned later is that that assessment said it was improbable or not likely that there would be violence on the 6th. >> are you aware of any
requested changes by the former house sergeant at arms, paul irving, to the physical security plan prior to january 6th? >> there was requested changes and chief sund alluded to it by expanding the security perimeter. he alluded to that in his letter and his testimony yesterday in front of the senate. >> so was your office asked to modify positioning of any perimeter barricades? if so, did you find the request consistent with the direction given ahead of previously planned protests? >> yes, my staff was asked to move barricades and that was a different footprint than we had in previous -- whether it was the maga or the protests that occurred during the summer
months. it was a different footprint. >> thank you very much. yield back, mr. chairman. >> thanks, ms. herrera beutler. i want to follow up on one of those. so the committee is clear on this, when the chief was asking the sergeant at arms for more support, that wasn't necessarily a clear ask of the board, correct? was it an ask of the board? if it was, does the board have to vote on that or how does that process work? >> yes. so it was portrayed -- i'm only speaking from what i've seen in the media. it was portrayed by chief sund or my interpretation was he was asking for support from the sergeant at arms. in order to have gotten an
emergency declaration there would have to be a board vote. there was not an official ask at that time. i can't go into his mind whether he was asking because he wanted to see if there was an appetite for it or he was saying, okay, i'm going to ask for this in the future. >> i want the committee -- we committee and the american people to know how this works. if the chief -- is it two different things for the chief to say to the sergeant at arms, hey, we need you to declare an emergency, we need more help? that's one way of doing it. is that separate from an official ask for the board? does he have to have a written ask for the board, or written ask for the sergeant at arms? if the sergeant at arms gets a request from the chief of
police, is he required to bring it to the board? >> so, what i would -- any conversations with the sergeant at arms and chief of police when it comes to a board matter, it's just a conversation. in order for it to be official, we would have an official request. those don't necessarily have to be in writing. we could follow it up with paperwork should it be an actual emergency. in this case it seemed like he was, at least from his testimony, was having conversations and feeling out the need for additional resources because, if there was a need for it, he could have submitted an official thing when we had a board vote. >> that's some of our -- moving forward, we need to completely understand the operation of the board and how the board works and what that process is.
you know, we're trying to really determine how that works and that will help us understand how things went down. >> mr. chairman? >> if i can be clear on one thing, we can do a verbal vote, the board. if he goes to the chairman of the police board and says i want to do this, we need to do it now, we can have a verbal vote. get it done and then follow up with written paperwork. >> not at any time did the sergeant at arms, mr. irving, say to you, hey, we need to have a vote on this? my recommendation is we don't pass an emergency order for whatever reason. i ask the chief to ask the national guard to lean in, but we're not going to do anything here. he never brought that to your attention to ask if you should do a vote on this, obviously you didn't vote on it?
>> that is correct. it never went to the board. >> because of the importance of this issue, we're going to take some liberties, not just the ranking member and i, but all members because we want to make sure we follow the line of questioning and we're able to tease out all these answers. every member of the committee will have similar leeway. ms. herrera beutler. >> i appreciate it. i know we'll be hearing from the board in different hearings, but everybody is going to be in a separate hearing. it might -- i don't know how changing this would be. it might be helpful to have everybody on the board at once in front of us. we can see how this goes. we're going to hear from the individuals. as this line unfolds, i have more of these questions. it might be nice to have them all sitting together. i don't know if we can do that. that's my thought. yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. >> you're welcome.
ms. clarke? >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member herrera beutler. thank you to all the witnesses coming forward today to talk about, not just january 6th, but how we get the citadel of democracy safe and in the state of good repair. mr. blanton, i want to return to you and this question around these meetings in advance of january 6th. my understanding is from your testimony that you were not part of the meeting on january 3rd? you weren't involved until the meeting on the 5th, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> at that meeting on the 5th was there a discussion of additional security barriers? >> no.
that meeting on the 5th's primary purpose was for law enforcement entities involved in the inauguration to brief what their planning is for the inauguration and go over the overall national security event chain of command for the inauguration. there was some discussion on the 6th, but there was no discussion about any changes to any physical infrastructure or -- it was very minor discussions about the threats. just saying there wasn't likely an event on the 6th. >> but that's very different than what chief sund testified to yesterday, that he did make the board aware of his concerns and he also said that it was a regular practice to only discuss these types of security issues
with sergeant at arms of the house and senate, not including the architect of the capitol. do you agree with his statement that it is regular practice that you would not be included and your office would not be included in these type of meetings? >> so i would say we have these discussions at police board meetings, and so then there i'm included. i don't know what conversations he had on a daily basis with the house or senate sergeant at arms. if that was his regular practice, i think we found an issue with the operational chain of command of the capitol police board frankly. >> so many understanding is that he asked for an emergency declaration. is it possible that that could have been denied without your
involvement? >> it would not -- it could not have because the police board would have to have voted on it. it never got to the point that the police board voted on the emergency declaration. >> so were you aware of that request, or were you not? >> i was not. >> you were not? >> no. >> do you think that there are reforms we need to make to the way the capitol police board operates so that you are not left out of these crucial conversations? >> i do believe reforms need to be made. i think they're broader than just what conversations occurred with the architect of the capitol. i believe as a member of the police board there needs to be more accountability and transparency on some of the actions that we vote upon. >> can you go into a little more
detail on how you would like to see that accountability and transparency improve? what are some specific things we should be looking at? >> obviously my area of expertise is in facilities. a lot of stuff that comes to security we overclassify. there's information that could be of vital importance to members, but is classified at a level that can't be shared. many of these, if you look at the executive branch agencies, declassification isn't as high or they do an unclassified version to give out information so that members have -- interested parties have the ability to digest what that it was is so they have a better understanding of what the physical constructs are in the area they're working. >> what about around
accountability? what reforms would you like to see? >> i think again it goes to more -- a lot of decisions end up being classified. there are very few individuals who actually have visibility of what decisions are made by the police board. >> do you think that's the reason that you were not included in these discussions between january 3rd and january 6th, around these concerns? >> no, i do not think it was. i think it was -- i'm speculating as to why chief sund would have done that. i think this is just the standard for how they operated. i can give them some deference. it could very well been their standard practice was involved to a way that they didn't
include the acting people, but that's a speculation more than something that i would testify as fact. >> thank you, mr. blanton. i see i'm over my time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> all right, thanks. great line of questioning there, ms. clark. we are going to mr. amaday up next. >> thanks, mr. chairman. if i had written a book, i would have it in the background. what the heck. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. i would like to -- i want to start with something. since everybody we've heard from
so far that are involved in the community of the campus on capitol hill -- they've been talking about obviously physical stuff, emotional stuff, all that other sort of stuff. i want to start with mr. blanton. mr. blanton, do you know since your function here is uniquely not able to be done from home, have all your folks received covid vaccinations? >> no. in fact, we've had a small distribution of covid vaccines for my staff. >> but they're still coming to the hill every day and doing what they do, especially as increased responsibility as a result of picking up the pieces from january 6th, is that true? >> yes, they still are. we're still following our covid protocols that work very, very well on the hill since march, april of last year.
>> let me ask you this. as a result of september 6th, have all your staff taken advantage of the testing here on campus? have they all been tested post january 6th? >> not the entire staff. anybody who has felt symptomatic or filled out the office of attending physician checklist and marked one as positive, they are afforded and take the available covid test on campus. >> i was listening, as you were doing your introductory remarks. they were quite rightfully complimentary of the mission your folks have. the criticalness of it in terms of keeping the citadel of democracy functioning and stuff like that. i'm assuming that you're basically rock solid in terms of that annual ses and your folks perform a function that is vital
and was above and beyond the call on january 6th. >> i can tell you for myself and my staff, we are in awe every day at the facilities that we work on, that we work in and we support. the morale of my staff for the work they do, they love the work they do. they're artisans and they come to work saying i like what i'm doing and i want to continue this work. >> i don't disagree with you. i find it amazing they're not on the list of critical government folks that quite frankly get the vaccine. that's not your issue. it's mine. ms. spindor, same questions for you. have your folks received the
vaccine? >> a small portion of staff that are responsible for business continuity and a few of the staff that have to be in the capitol every day like mr. blanton's folks, we have people here that are on site every single day working directly with the members and their staff. we would love to have all of them who do that vaccinated. as of yet, we've gotten enough to have our critical staff vaccinated. >> okay. so i'm not trying to put any words in your mouth. is the answer to my question has all your staff received vaccine, the answer to that question is no? you've prioritize folks, but in terms of your staff and their functions, no? >> that is correct. >> have you had any
communication with the attending physician's office or house admin about, hey, when are we going to get the rest of these people done? >> we stay in direct contact with the office of the attending physician. i know that he has looked into requesting additional vaccine. i think that it's been hard for him to obtain at this point, but we are waiting on him. we're looking to the office of the attending physician for when he has additional doses. >> fair enough. mr. blanton, i want to go back to you on a subject that deals directly with january 6th and that is i've already had a discussion with the acting
sergeant at arms that goes something along these lines -- hey, listen, if we're going to have metal detecters to go vote, that's fine. that's not my hill to do for. with the resources available or that can be available, can we do that in such a way that does not look like an after thought in an airport lobby? so it's like is there technology that exists to build something tastefully in keeping with the resource that we're talking about that basically people can walk through without having to que up in front of something that's taking space in hallways? can we set them so it doesn't require me to go in barefoot and then try to figure out once i get in the chamber as i'm
redressing what shoe goes on what foot? has anybody approached your office about how we can perform that security function in the least visually and physically intrusive way in terms of the various and sundry entrances to the chamber? is there not some more elegant thing available or has anybody even checked into that? >> so, thank you. that is a wonderful question. i can say that nobody has specifically talked with me, but my -- if i was to presume this, the sergeant at arms would probably deal with the superintendent of the house building first before coming to me. i think it's a very valid ask and it's something we should look at. it's also something that frankly
we need to look at in the construct of all the security and detection equipment across the entire campus. i know my staff has looked at options for the metal detectors. i can say that we will definitely take this on as something that should be looked at to find something that frankly blends more in with the architecture of the chamber than portable metal detectors. >> i appreciate that. mr. chairman, i'll talk with you about that more. i just think that's something where it's like, fine, we can achieve the security goals without basically doing what we're doing now. and, so, i'll work with you on that offline to see if that can't be something the committee
works on. my time is up. i yield back. >> appreciate it. thank you for your questioning along the lines of the vaccine. we've had a lot of work trying to get it to the capitol police where they had about 200 rank in file members with covid related issues. we had to go through great lengths to get them their vaccinations. i appreciate you raising that issue and the issue around security. maybe even mr. blanton could get one of the engineers or architects over there to help you figure out what shoe goes on what foot. we're happy to help you figure that out. next up is mr. case. >> thank you, mr. chair. to each and all of the three of you, i just want to join the comments by the chair and ranking member thanking you and your teams for your service, for your commitment and for your
honesty and candor as we try to sort through the immediacy of january 6th as well as prior issues, for example the trade-offs between securing the capitol and guaranteeing access that we want to guarantee. i would like to step back a second. mr. blanton, i'll direct this to you. it seems we have three broad questions dealing with january 6th. number one is a past question. what happened and why? number two, how can we continue to deal with the lingering effects of january 6th? for example the consequences to our employees. number three, how do we prevent this from happening again? we can't do much about the past. it already happened. we can take the lessons of the past. the present i think we've tried to address that. it's more number three i'm
focussed on, which is how do we sort through the lessons and implement those lessons? here's my question to you -- again, the context is that we have already seen addition in politics leak into this evaluation. we've got a debate over whether we should have a 9/11 commission. i know that each of us has had the experience of seeing division within our own communities over the continuing security barriers around the capitol. kind of oversimplifying this, one side says it's necessary to prevent further attacks and the other side basically saying take the wall down. it's not necessary. that has a political angle to it. i think we're trying to take the politics out of this and figure out why it happened and to keep
it from happening again. how do we actually get to the bottom of those questions -- what happened, why and how do we prevent it from happening again. my question has to do with whether we can do this internally or whether we need objective, independent, outside evaluations? good meaning people that were there and present at the moment can believe and hope they have objectivity on it. sometimes that's not the case. sometimes you're better with an external, independent, nonjudgemental human. mr. blanton, what procedure do you think is best for us to pursue the questions that are in front of us -- what happened, why, how do we prevent it? to what extent do we need external views? >> that's a great question.
so being that my expertise is in the facilities side of it, what i'm proposing we have is a comprehensive facility security assessment. one that starts with threats and in the past if you look at our failures -- this is not just the legislative branch. we've been focussed since the oklahoma city bombing on protecting against an explosive device of a certain size in a certain location. that's why we had things such as windows that were more secure right next to windows that were not secure. they were addressing that certain threat with that certain risk. the other thing is as we look from a broader threat, it needs to be in conjunction with our partners within the national capitol area so we're not hardening ourselves to a point that makes other entities soft
targets or they aren't doing the same and making us a soft target. from my perspective, i have to look across the entire campus, all the house buildings and senate building. it also includes the library of congress, the supreme court and the thurgood marshall building. the key starts with a series of threats. we can continue with the threats of the past, explosive devices, but bring them to a lone gunman, a squad of six people who want to invade. from that what's the risk? the risk is the likelihood of it occurring and the consequences. we come up with a set of mitigations and that will be short term ways to prevent that. finally, the solutions. one key to it that's very important, we say what the low
logistics are. if they end up having to increase the capitol police officers that have to stand a post or pull them off a post because of what we're doing, we need to have that identified so we know the total costs of these ideas so that you are fully informed when we ask for these what the total cost is over the years, not just for this specific project. >> okay. i'll come back to my second round. you've identified, i think the issues we need to sort through. how do we get the answers? is that an internal process or external process? do we need extra help? the resources flow from getting the right answers. we all want to provide the resources, but i want the right answers so i'm personally comfortable that i have done and
resourced and directed what actually has to happen. i'm fearful of an internal-only assessment. that was my question. >> what i'm proposing is we bring in experts. we proposed using the army corp. >> okay. thank you. >> thank you, mr. case. mr. newhouse. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good to see everybody. let me also add my voice of appreciation and thanks to the three folks in front of us this morning. you all have very important jobs and responsibilities. i really think that the big question in front of this committee, as it stand right now, is how can we together ensure that the institution, literally the capitol grounds
themselves, can really continue to provide that catalyst for public participation in our democracy, but also at the same time ensuring that those of us who work here and member of the public that come, can remain safe from those who may wish to do us harm? i look forward to working with all of you towards those goals. i would like to address my first questions to the -- mr. blanton, if i could, and kind of follow up with the line of questioning other members have taken. mr. blanton, you mentioned in your testimony that institutional biases and action items taken out of sync, if i can use your words, with actionable data resulted in poor decisions during the capitol attack.
could you talk about what some of those specific biases were that were detrimental to your office's response? how can we as a committee help you if there's a disconnect? how can we help you break that down so that you can provide positive actionable -- or actions with the data that you receive? i guess putting that into english, how can we help you make that line of communication better? >> thank you. again, i appreciate that question. so i was hired to transform the architect of the capitol. it was an entity that had a couple years of history that were very troubling. we've had in the past some projects and programs that we did and we did not execute them
very well. i'm in the middle of transforming that. i would say the aoc of today is not the aoc of last year. we're more responsive. we're more open. we're more accountable. i'm working to make sure that's even clearer on everything we do. part of what i talk about by institutional bias is i have conversations with people and staffers. they'll say we don't believe you because a decade ago this is what happened, or a project four years ago you guys messed up. it's things like that and it's not -- it's not just in staffers. it's across the capitol complex. i admit we had issues years ago. the staff themselves are wonderful people who love their work, do incredible work, but we
fumbled a few things in the past. those fumbled aren't indicative on what the future is. we continue to be judged on decisions made in the past, or areas we could have made better in the past. we'll never be able to advance as a capitol complex. that's what i was alluding to in those statements. >> so in rectifying that, is that a role that we can assist you with or is this going to be the proof is in the pudding, that you have to build your own reputation and trust among colleagues and people that you're responsible to? >> in many ways the proof is in the pudding. also, people come in with an approach that we're trying to do things the most honest, ethical and efficient way possible. i mean, one thing i have done that has been really changing for my staff is, when we talk
about the budgets, i say it's not my money. it's the capitol complex's money. when someone says i'm not going to allow you to do a project, it's not my project. it belongs to you, sir, because it's there to support you. i don't get benefit -- i enjoy supporting them. i enjoy that. it's my job to support you. the project is for the members and the staff. the project isn't for aoc to just have work to do. i want to do stuff that has an outcome. if you can look at it from that lens, that would be very helpful to our organization as a whole. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i would like to, if we have another round of questioning, also delve into some of the works of the capitol police board as well as some assessments and where we go from here as far as the building is concerned. i appreciate you all being here
this morning and look forward to further conversation. thank you. >> you're muted, tim. >> i'm in charge here, kathleen. ms. wexton, you're up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to say thank you to all the witnesses you've done before and since january 2nd to keep us safe and keep the capitol running smoothly. mr. blanton, i want to follow up on the capitol police board and your involvement in the decision making leading up to january 6th. the capitol police board consists of the two sergeants at arms, one from the senate, one from the house, the architect of the capitol, that's you, and
then the chief of the capitol police, but the chief of the capitol police does not get a vote, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> okay. so you testified that you had a meeting with law enforcement, different agencies on the 23rd of december, just generally talking about logistics for january 6th, is that correct? >> no. i talked about on january 5th there was a meeting of law enforcement. the subject of it was preparation for the inauguration. >> was there discussion at that time about requesting national guard assistance? >> no, there was not. >> okay. now, were you aware that at that time that chief -- acting chief pitman, there had been a meeting on january 2nd where the dod asked the u.s. capitol police if they would need the national
guard? >> i was not aware of that. >> okay. according to chief pitman's testimony when she was before the subcommittee a couple weeks ago, she testified on january 3rd the u.s. capitol police changed their mind and sund asked for national guard and it was denied. apparently he asked maybe the sergeant at arms. you didn't have any knowledge of that, is that correct? >> i had no knowledge of that. i still have no knowledge of a meeting on the 3rd. there may have been a meeting on the 4th he talked about, but we have no record of any meeting whatsoever and later on chief sund, his testimony, he talked about the 4th. there was no formal meeting that i was at, nor anyone from my staff on the 3rd, nor the 4th. >> is it just majority rules in the capitol police board? >> we try to get consensus. if it's down to a 2-3 vote, it
would be that. >> is it customary to leave one of the voting members out of the decision-making process? >> again, as i stated earlier, if he was officially asking for it, then there would not -- all of us would have the opportunity to vote. i only can paraphrase what i heard from chief sund's testimony and his letter that he wrote to the speaker, that he talked to the sergeant at arms. i don't know if he's doing that because he was testing the waters to see if we were able to do that, if it's what the board feels like, but he had not officially asked for it from the entire board itself. >> all right. and are you -- and have you previously been consulted about additional security measures in
advance of protests and things incoming to washington, d.c. for example during the black lives matter protests over the summer? were you consulted about additional security measures at the capitol? >> my staff was working with the capitol police before police board meetings and were asked to put up the bicycle barriers around the capitol complex for every event. as chief sund said, they approach every event from a very similar construct. so we do that when there's any known protests. >> that's what you did for the january 6th protests as well, right? >> yes. >> nothing further than the normal? >> they did extend the police barricade -- the bike rake barrier for the january 6th event as chief sund testified.
>> right, but there was -- there were no additional barriers involved? >> correct. >> okay. now, have they been -- has the police board been in discussions as a committee as a whole talking about hardening after january 6th? >> we've had several discussions about that. >> were you -- >> yes, i was. >> you were privy to discussions about the temporary fencing as well as other options for the long term? >> yes. >> okay. thank you. mr. chairman, i see my time is expired. i will have more questions in another round. >> there we go. congressman espiat. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for this opportunity.
i want to thank all of the folks testifying here today about this horrific day in the capitol. as many of you know, the capitol staff, particularly the custodial staff, is made up of many people of color, particularly men of color, who were targets obviously of this racist, bigoted mob. the images of the confederate flag, of the gallows, the rope and noose represents the horrible history of lynching in the south. i myself witnessed when i went down to the capitol at about 7:30 two or three men of color
mopping the area -- the blood from where the shooting occurred right outside the capitol. so, i want to know what's being done with these workers that are traumatized? first of all, sending them down there right after this horrific attack was somewhat troubling to begin with. i could just imagine what they felt. when i saw them i was terrified myself. i didn't really capture the fact immediately that they were mopping up blood. to send folks that were clearly the target of this attack and couldn't take their pins off and blend, to then mop up the floor was a little too much. i want to know what's being done for these folks and what the aoc
and the administrators are doing to help the people that were traumatized during this attack. >> thank you. i'll say my staff had great pride in the work they did immediately following. they actually were proud of themselves and the organization that they were able to clean up. the people dealing with blood were trained in bio hazards. they had the prerequisite skills. the janitorial staff and laborers who were vacuuming and cleaning up the glass, they volunteered to do that because they support the organization, and they knew what was at stake. what was at stake was the certification of the electoral college. >> allow me. we've heard from capitol police
that were called the "n" word. we saw the confederate flag and the gallows with the noose and rope out there. i just think sending men of color to mop up the blood after this horrific act is a little over the top. what are you doing now to address any long-standing issues they may have? >> well, thank you. i was just about to get there. sorry if i was taking too long. what we're doing is they're involved in our employee assistance program. one of the things that we are doing is instead of it being where they feel like they have to call -- i know some of the men and woman, we're a tough group. some of us want to internalize that. we're proactively taking the trades and having counseling sessions for them to talk about it. in one of our supplemental
requests we've asked for funds so we can do an awards program for the staff that were there that day, so they can get recognized beyond our standard awards at the aoc. i feel like they went above and beyond their duty. we're looking out for them mentally. we're making sure they're properly trained, and also some economic benefit for what they did. >> one last quick question. i want to ask the architect, are the floor plans of the capitol easily accessible to the general public via the internet? are they accessible to members, to anyone that wants access to them? >> no. it takes the house office building commission speaker to approve release of the floor plans. in fact it's even challenging to get my contractors who have to use the floor plans to do work to get ahold of the floor plans
because they're very, very tightly held. >> there's been allegations that the insurrectionists had access to the floor plans of the capitol. have you been able to assert whether that was true or not? >> i've only heard that in the media. i've not seen any indication of that, nor has the fbi, who is investigating it, given us any information that they have. >> do you have the records of anyone that would have -- let's say if i wanted to get the floor plans and i instructed my staff to do it, would you have the records that they attempted to get the floor plans or download the floor plans? >> there's no way to download them because they're on a secure server. we hand out hard copies if it is deemed that it is needed for an individual to have the floor plans. but those -- that group of people is exceptionally small. >> but could the secure server get hacked? >> we have no indication of
that. we are no indication of any aoc server being hacked. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your time. >> thank you, great line of questions. ms. wax ton, great line of questions as well. we are going to do a second round. we'll probably have two-minute round so everybody can get another question in. we want to be sensitive to everybody's time here with other committees going on and the responsibilities of our witnesses. just a couple of questions, mr. blanton. first i just want to say how much we appreciate you and how you've handled yourself through this whole ordeal. you've impressed a lot of people. let me ask -- you brought up the fbi. and there was a report supposedly from the fbi that went to the capitol police that chief sun said it never made its
way up to him about, you know, the threat level on january 6th. were you aware at all of that fbi intelligence? >> no. >> one of the issues with the capitol police that -- you know, talking to gus, the head of the union there, a lot of the ranking members was around the equipment. were any of these issues around shields and helmets and batons and lack of equipment for some of the rank and file members? did you ever hear that come before the police board? >> not in my tenure here. maybe prior to my tenure, but i can say it's disturbing what i heard afterwards, the limited amount of equipment, some of the anecdotes of people whose helmets are so old that the padding is rotting out in it.
that was heart wrenching to me. >> just out of curiosity, how many police board meetings, official meetings were you in over your tenure here? >> so, it would have been 12 total. >> okay. and what generally are -- again we're trying to really figure out how this board is operating because this is going to be i think at the heart of any reforms that we start proposing. what's the general length of time for some of those board meetings? >> we schedule an hour and a half for the meetings. >> does it usually go that long? >> it depends on the agenda. some months when there's less information, congress is out of session, for example, there's less stuff to pass, so it won't go as long. when there's larger events going
on, then it's -- there are longer meetings. >> okay. have you talked to general honore about -- >> yes, several times. >> okay. how many times? >> we've had -- my staff has been in constant contact with his staff. they've been working significantly together. and i've had two direct meetings with him, and we have another one once he releases his draft findings dealing with the assessments. >> okay. i would be interested in, since we have you -- i know this is a longer conversation. and i think mr. herrera-beutler touched on it. the issue of reforming the capitol police board. i mean, clearly if -- you know, we want your opinion as to how we would move forward with any reforms. clearly if the chief of police is saying to the sergeant at arms, you know, in essence, you
know, we're screwed and we need help, and then the sergeant at arms just kind of single handedly tells him no without bringing it to the board, which is kind of what we're gathering here, what kind of reforms -- also being sensitive to the fact that we need to respond in a timely manner. so, we don't want to, you know, create another bureaucracy like we saw happening with trying to get approval through the department of defense and all that. any recommendations you can share with us here on maybe how we can adjust the board and how we respond appropriately and timely? >> what i think we should do is enlist like-minded entities. you have the secret service.
they have a command structure over them. you have pentagon force protection agency, which has a command structure over them. obviously they don't make the decisions independently. and really have them look at what we are doing and propose best practices. i think an outside look at us is worth while. >> and so basically continuing with general honore's doing, more in depth over a longer period of time? >> focused on -- i don't think -- i look at -- general honore isn't really looking at the command oversight of the capitol police. that is not one of his areas, unless it's been expanded since when he's talked to me. but that's something that is a valid thing to look at and it would be valid to take significant transition and have events that have changed because of those events. we've all seen events at the
white house, events at the pentagon over the past few years and those organizations have changed dramatically. and it's a good alook to see how can we change support with how to be more responsive than we have been in the past. >> well, we're certainly going to be leaning on you for your recommendations. we are going to go to a second round here, a little bit of a lightning round where we'll give each member two minutes to be able to ask questions. so, we're going to start if you want. you can certainly pass. i know there are other committees happening right now. so, we want to be sensitive to that. all right. ms. clark? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. blanton, if we could go back just for a moment to the request that was made to expand the parameter. at any point after this request to move the parameter was made, did you or anyone at aoc deny any piece of this request, or did you have the assets necessary to fulfill this request? >> no one at aoc denied or would anyone at aoc have the authority to deny the request. and we did have the assets. >> do you -- to the best of your knowledge, was there any discussion or objection about those barriers in place because of the optics of it? >> no, i will say me personally, i have not heard the word "optics" until the discussions afterward dealing with the
national guard and the pentagon. >> thank you so much. and very quickly in my last minute, ms. elliott, as curator of the house do you feel its important that we keep some records, some artifacts of what happened on january 6th. i know some have suggested broken windows and door be kept. what is your feeling as curator of the house? >> thank you for your question. i am responsible for the house collection objects. and our first duty to those is to make sure that the objects that already exist in the house collection are cared for as best we can. so, in some cases for us, the most important thing is to make sure that we first do no harm,
that we conserve and treat the objects that are already in the collection. and then after that take stock of what are the artifacts that tell the story of the people's house right up through today. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, ms. clark. mr. newhouse. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> enter ranking member. >> i appreciate the increase in my pay rate. we understand that many of the rioters made off with some of the technological equipment from. so offices they broke into, including i think -- i understand the laptop of the speaker. are you confident that every piece of equipment that might pose a future cyber threat has been accounted for? and do you know exactly what was stolen and whether or not they
still pose a cyber threat to us? >> thank you for the question. i am aware through briefings with capitol police that some of the pcs -- it's our understanding at this time it was only a few pcs from some offices. we do believe that based on what we know about one of the pcs, we -- it is a very low risk to the house because of what we know -- we know how it was used. >> okay. >> the other pc, again, we know who had that pc and we feel like it was a moderate to low risk. we are -- of course this is still a continuing criminal investigation, and i can't say too much more about it other than we took steps, as you know,
during the insurrection to begin shutting off areas of the network that were impacted during the siege and feel as though we did the right thing in doing that, protected any additional equipment. and we are also looking to roll out some additional security measures and are in progress for that to protect us in the future, to enhance the protection in the future. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. back to mr. blanton, if i could real quickly, mr. chairman. there was a substantial request for increase in appropriations having to do with the security assessments. could you talk a little bit about the ongoing reviews that you have and the assessments of
campus security and what deficiencies these assessments have in order to warrant a need for a more comprehensive review? i think the request is something in the neighborhood of $30 million. >> yes. thank you. we did a transfer fromnsfey fro library of congress budget for the book module seven up at fort meade to us and that transfer was to cover historic costs from january 6th, the damage for january 6th, the media repairs, the cost for supporting a national guard and the cost to extend the fence line until march 31st. we asked for an additional $10 million to do a comprehensive security assessment. and this assessment was meant to
synergyize. capitol police is doing internal one. part of that may have recommendations for facilities changes. general honore has a study. he has four key tenants. one of those is dealing with quick facilities improvements. and then there's going to be other studies probably around the senate. but there's one entity that looks across the entire campus, including the supreme court and thurgood marshall building and can look at -- and can synergy synergyize all these into one. we should have budget level so i can tell you how much the project will cost. by saying things like we should put hardened glass on all doors and all windows in the capitol,
that may or may not be executeable. i say this because the capitol was designed in 1790. it first started construction in 1793. it was never envisioned when they first laid the foundation that there would be a 9.7 million ton cast iron dome on top of it. it was expanded. now if you put over a ton of glass on the windows, that may cause structural problems. we need to analyze that before it's just a good idea of putting stronger glass on windows. that's what we do in our studies, to make sure it's an executable project. >> thank you very much. and thanks for your indulgence from chairman, appreciate it. >> mr. cason. >> thank you. two comments and a question. comment to ms. elliott. thank you so much for taking care of our cultural heritage. i think you said you needed an extra $25,000 supplemental to
complete some of the assessments and damage repair. i just wonder whether that's too low. this is not the time to come in with, you know, a lower request. i think we all want to do the right thing here. and mr. blanton, i would -- back to my initial line of questioning on how we best get the answers going forward, i would strongly endorse your instincts to get the third party best practices assessments from the dod, and i would further ask you to consider whether further additional independent reviews may be necessary because general honore, as you pointed out, is going to facilities assessment and security issues. and what i think we're about here right now is an understanding of what broke down operationally, procedurally and how to adopt an operational and procedural framework that we don't go through the same
mistakes all over again. and do we need external assessment even at cost to get the right answers there. ms. spendor, a very quick question following up with mr. newhouse. is there any indication that there was any simultaneous or coordinated cyber attacks or cyber activity in your shop or to your knowledge elsewhere in the capitol around the january 6th physical attack, which some claim was spontaneous combustion and of course associated cybersecurity with cyber activity would indicate something other than that. is there any indication of that? >> there really is not. we've had individuals, other outside consultants that we used helping us check the network. we were monitoring everything real time, both the dark web as
well as other areas of web activity. we did not see, have not seen any penetration of the network at all, any indication that anyone was trying to get into the network on january 6th. >> okay. thank you very much. >> thanks, mr. case. great questions. and i encourage all the members of the committee to -- last year i went over and visited the cybersecurity offices over there in house administration and i just -- it's a neat place to go, but it's that essential work that mr. case just brought up. and we've got to make sure because i think moving forward it's a very important point. we're talking about being aware of all the threats and being prepared for all the threats. we saw with the pipe bombs at the rnc and the dnc, how that
was coordinated in addition to, you know, what else was going on as a distraction. so, i think mr. case rightly brings that point up about the issues around a coordinated effort around cyber. so, we appreciate that. mrs. wexton. >> thank you plrks chairman, and thank you to the witnesses, again, for all your great answers and to my colleagues for asking a lot of the questions that i had. so, thanks for that. you know, i still am so in ah that i get to work in this place, the amazing history that it has. and i never ever want to lose that. so, january 6th felt like a huge violation for, i think, all of us, seeing people marching
around in the capitol and defacing it as they did. and i have thought many times how just days before when virginia removed one of its statues from the capitol, which was our statue of robert e. lee. and that was something that i spearheaded, along with my colleague also from the commonwealth of virginia, which by the way, they do at 3:00 a.m. you guys probably already knew that. but i didn't until it was time for you guys to do it. so, it was especially jarring to see the insurrectionists marching through the crypt, carrying a confederate battle flag. and i thought more than once how glad i was there no longer that statue of robert e. lee there for people to take selfies with. i was glad to hear how quick thinking staff was and moved to protect portraits like shirley chisholm m, the first african-american congresswoman, as well as the new collections
that honor representative rami. ms. elliott, i would inquiry whether you have any information about whether any specific pieces were targeted by the mob on january 6th? >> thank you. no, i don't have any information that that's the case. >> that's reassuring. were there hate symbols defacing any artifacts or property within the capitol? >> no, nothing on the house collection at all. >> i guess that's reassuring. so, thank you for all that you're doing, and i'll yield back. >> great. thank you. let me ask the committee for unanimous consent. i want to submit questions into
the record. she was unable to be here today due to her own hearing but remains deeply committed and dedicated to the safety and security of the legislative branch of government. without objection, those questions will be submitted. ms. spendor, i just have a question. you mentioned -- because i want to get some context. you mentioned that the -- i forget how you said it, but it was the engagements around the issues of some of the wellness visits or -- i forget how you said it -- that there were 1,150 in the six weeks from the january 6th event. is that correct? >> yes. >> what's the context for that? so, what's the -- you know, how many visits happen in a year? and if you don't have that number, just -- >> i do. it's typically -- i think we see
3,000 visits on an annual basis. so, when you compare that to the 1,150, that's a critical percentage of what we normally see. and anticipate that we will continue to see some higher numbers. however, over the past week, we see things beginning. probably about 50% of what we have seen the week before. but we're still providing the -- there were outreach and also literature and publicizing everything that we have to encourage people to keep coming like they always have. capitol police we've been serving since 2000 and we have a great relationship with them and we will continue to reach out to them and make sure we're satisfying whatever need that the community has.
>> and are you -- are you guys -- how integrated are you with the house office well being and the wellness initiatives? are you guys pretty much in lock step in how you communicate to the staff, the members? >> they are. and i think it's certainly, brian weiss with the wellness center, he is doing a great job. but it's a good thing that he works directly with the oea. so, that helps them stay in sync with one another and make sure that they're supporting one another with whatever items that one of them may produce the other one may be able to make use of it. so, it's a great relationship. so, we're continuing. i want to put a plug in for brian and his staff. what a great job they've done. and there are store front
locations that's open now and we encourage staff to please go there and visit with them. >> yeah, we want to continue to try to push that out. you know, there's still a lot of people on the hill that don't know about it. and we want to make sure that they recognize the resources that are there both for mental health promotion and fitness and financial literacy, financial help, deals on all kinds of different programs, and it's really on the cutting edge. and that was -- that was the idea is to make sure that the employees here -- this was pre-pandemic and pre-january 6th, but that in a very high-stress environment that our employees here, while they may not make as much as they would in the private sector, but they are offered the same kind of support that improve their quality of life and the quality of life of their families.
so, we want to make sure we continue to promote that so that the men and women who work here have access to all of that. and i just want to personally just say thank you to you, ms. spendor. immediately after january 6th, we saw, you know, a number of the capitol police who were continuing to work 12- to 16-hour shifts, the influx of the national guard who were here. and i think it's important for this committee to know how quickly you responded to open the dunkin donuts to make sure there was -- in the evening for the midnight shift, making sure there was food accessible for them, and how quickly you made those determinations. and i just want to personally thank you for that. that was -- you know, it goes beneath the radar for most people, but how quickly you responded to make sure that they had what they needed.
and that was very impressive. and we continue to thank you for your support. so, we're going to wrap it up. let me just say ms. elliott, thank you for all you do. again, much behind the scenes. much of what you do is behind the scenes, but it clearly is -- has made this such a special place, and we want to thank you for your service and your commitment to preserving this special building that we work in. ms. spendor, thank you again. and please thank your teams. we know that as members of congress here how important the staff is for all of us. unknown and unnamed many times. but please thank your teams for us. mr. bland, again, thank you for all your work. moving forward, as i said, we're going to rely on all of you,
mr. blanton, especially when it comes to these issues around security. we're going to be relying on your judgment. and we appreciate you and your viewpoint because you've been very helpful in helping the committee understand exactly what transpired. and i think exposed some of those flaws that are in the system, especially around the capitol police board that seemed wholly inadequate to addressing the needs that the members here had and the staff here had. so, i also want to just take a second to thank our team, our staff, steve and anna and the minority staff, rachel and my personal staff, and all the members of the committee. as the panelists can see, we have a lot of intellectual fire power here on both sides of the
aisle that care deeply about the role that this subcommittee now plays in protecting this institution and really crafting a model for how we move forward from both security standpoint and taking care of the men and women who are here. and hopefully they can be an example for how we should treat our workers around and