Capitol Insurrection

Taking Congress and the Capitol Seriously as National Security Institutions

By Dakota S. Rudesill

Responsibility for the seditious violent attack on the United States Congress of Jan. 6, 2021, rests with serious afflictions within our civic culture, with a series of costly errors regarding the security of the Capitol, and with then-President Donald Trump’s mendacious inspiration, assembly, and direction of a massive, frenzied, armed mob to march on the Capitol.

Also operating here to leave the Congress insufficiently warned and the Capitol inadequately defended was a general, longstanding failure among many to regard the Congress and the Capitol as national security institutions of paramount importance. Although the crowd was large and violent, it is hard to imagine such a mob ever – or at least so quickly and extensively – penetrating security at other public sites well understood to be vital to the nation’s security, such as the White House or the Pentagon, and halting for hours their ability to execute their responsibilities under the Constitution.

Better protection would certainly flow from a proper appreciation of the nation’s legislature and the iconic temple of democracy in which it meets as central to the nation’s survival and very identity. Ultimately, better security must be balanced with the public access imperative in an open society, in a way that preserves both …

Author

Dakota Rudesill
Assistant Professor, Moritz College of Law, and Affiliated Faculty, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Ohio State University.
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