Pelosi taps head of DC National Guard to lead House security

Maj Gen William Walker will be the first African American sergeant-at-arms in the House of Representatives.

Army Maj Gen William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, has been named top security official in the House of Representatives [Greg Nash/Pool via AP]
Army Maj Gen William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, has been named top security official in the House of Representatives [Greg Nash/Pool via AP]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped Maj Gen William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, to be the House of Representatives’ first African American sergeant-at-arms.

Walker will lead a revamp of House security measures as Congress reviews lapses surrounding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.

Walker sent National Guard troops to back up overwhelmed Capitol Police that day. He replaces former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving who resigned immediately after the insurrection.

“Throughout his long, dedicated career in public service, General William Walker has proven to be a leader of great integrity and experience who will bring his steady and patriotic leadership to this vital role,” Speaker Pelosi said in a statement on Friday announcing Walker’s appointment.

A native of Chicago, Walker served in the US Army as a military police officer and served in Afghanistan after the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks. After leaving active duty, he was a DEA special agent and deputy administrator for 30 years. He also served in the Army National Guard and was appointed commander of the DC National Guard in 2015.

“His experience will be an important asset to the House, particularly in light of the January insurrection,” Pelosi said.

A worker removes razor wire from a security fence around the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 20 [File: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]

There has been tight security around the US Capitol since the January 6 attacks (video).

Seven House committees are asking 10 federal agencies, Washington, DC and Capitol Police for documents and communications from three distinct time periods before, during and after the January 6 attack, which resulted in five deaths.

Pelosi had proposed legislation that would create a panel modelled after a similar commission following the 2001 attacks.

House Republicans have objected to Pelosi’s plan for a commission because it would be comprised of more Democrats than Republicans, unlike the 9/11 panel.

House Democrats impeached former President Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection in his role organising and speaking to a rally of his supporters. Many marched on the Capitol at his direction. Trump was acquitted on the impeachment charge by the Senate.

Court filings so far suggest that members of two far-right groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, coordinated with each other before the riot.

House committees on March 25 announced they had sent letters to the White House, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Archives, FBI, National Guard Bureau, the US Park Police and the departments of Justice, Defense, Interior and Homeland Security.

The letters demanded any relevant documents and communications between early December and Biden’s January 20 inauguration about preparations for protests, discussions about the electoral count and action related to the events of January 6 and its aftermath.

Earlier this month, the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee held hearings with security officials about what went wrong as the rioters broke into the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.

“The committees expect to release a bipartisan report on our investigation in the coming months,” said Senate Rules Committee chair Amy Klobuchar and Senate Homeland chair Gary Peters in a joint statement with Republicans.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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