A new report says Capitol Police security “lapsed for months” on Nancy Pelosi’s Pac Heights home before last year’s hammer attack on her husband Paul Pelosi, though there may also be some blame to assign for SFPD’s bureaucratic foot-dragging.
It wasn’t mentioned much, but this past Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the home invasion and hammer attack on Paul Pelosi. Alleged attacker David DePape had intended for his attack to be on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with DePape saying he would “break her kneecaps.”
And it sure seemed alarming how easily DePape just crashed through a glass sliding door of the back of the Pelosis’ mansion and waltzed right in with intent to harm, considering you’d figure their mansion would have better a security system, and the homes of heads of state would have better human security.
Well, the home should have had better security. A new report from the Washington, DC publication Roll Call details the US Capitol Police’s post-incident analysis of their practices leading up to the attack, and reports that security at the Pelosis’ home had “lapsed for months ahead of the October 2022 break-in.”
The Capitol Police arranged to have a police presence outside the San Francisco home of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she was not there, but the agency knew that security precaution lapsed ahead of the October 2022 attack on her husband. https://t.co/qNeKooKOXe pic.twitter.com/PKS9BfU0x0— Roll Call (@rollcall) November 1, 2023
How is this a US Capitol Police matter when the US Capitol is 3,000 miles away from San Francisco? The Capitol Police are supposed to provide “around-the-clock” security for the two members of Congress who are in the presidential line of succession; the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore. Generally, this protection is not provided for their spouses unless specifically requested, and Nancy Pelosi was out of town at the time of the attack.
But that security had been requested for the Pelosis’ house in San Francisco. Recall that the morning of New Year’s Day 2021 that house was vandalized with fake blood and a pig’s head. And of course less than a week later, there were January 6 rioters storming the US Capitol and saying of Pelosi, “We want to hang that fucking bitch.” So yes, the threat level toward Pelosi was higher than usual, and the Capitol Police did intend to have full-time protection in the house.
The Capitol Police don’t have to provide said protection themselves, they can source it out to SFPD (with the feds then reimbursing SFPD). They did indeed have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the SFPD to do so, but that agreement expired in September 2021. The Capitol Police say they reached out to SFPD several times to renew it, and simply never heard back.
“In the months that followed, the US [Capitol Police] repeatedly, on no less than a monthly basis, reached out to the SFPD for an update on the MOU with no results,” Capitol Police assistant chief Jason Bell wrote in the department’s analysis.
But ultimately, the buck stops with the Capitol Police, and they probably should have taken matters into their own hands.
“At the time that Mr Pelosi was attacked, there was no MOU between the SFPD and the US Capitol Police, and, because of this, there was no fixed post assignment outside of the Pelosi home,” SFPD spokesperson Sergeant Kathryn Winters said in a statement to Roll Call. “The US Capitol Police is the agency that is responsible for providing security for members of Congress and their families.”
The security detail has since been restored, albeit after a pretty consequential lapse.
We don’t know if it would have changed anything to have a Capitol Police or SFPD patrol car outside the Pelosis’ home that night, DePape broke into the home through a glass back patio. So a patrol car may not have seen him, though an on-duty officer might have noticed unusual activity inside the home, as Paul Pelosi was able to buy some time when he called 911.
For what it’s worth, the House will soon vote on a measure that would increase Capitol Police funding by 6% (now that the US House of Representatives is actually back in session). And if you happen to follow the Pelosi break-in story closely, David DePape’s federal trial is slated to begin November 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 28: Police tape is seen in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. One arrest has been made. Speaker Pelosi was not at home at the time of the attack. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)