The Capitol Police intelligence unit investigated the backgrounds of people who met with lawmakers following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol last year, according to written communications viewed by Politico.
A spokesperson for the Capitol Police said the news outlet had viewed an old version of the template for assessments.
Politico notes that the template asks analysts to report "the backgrounds of the participants (other than [Members of Congress]) and attendees, if known."
It also directs analysts to examine social media feeds connected to event attendees, stating: "In searching social media outlets, is there anything that may impact the event itself or any of the participants (both [Members of Congress] and other known attendees)?"
Three people familiar with the matter, who spoke to Politico under the condition of anonymity, said that the people probed include Hill staffers.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., criticized the practice as "very, very bad," in an interview, saying that he doesn’t know of any members of Congress who were aware of this.
"Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters," added Armstrong, a who was a criminal defense attorney before joining Congress.
"Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately," he went on to say. "And I’m not big on calling for resignations." The Capitol Police said in a statement that "the more public information we have, the better we can understand what kind and how much security is necessary."
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