According to sources familiar with the measures who spoke to CBS News, more than 50 senators have been provided with satellite phones for emergency contact as concerns about the security of members of Congress grow. The Senate Sergeant at Arms, who inherited command shortly after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, is providing senators with the devices as part of a new set of security measures.
According to the claim, satellite phones were recently distributed to U.S. Senate members so they could remain in contact during a natural or “man-made” disaster.
The phones were recently made available to all 100 senators, according to CBS News, which cited numerous sources with knowledge of the situation.
Karen Gibson, Senate Sergeant at Arms, extended her invitation to more than fifty individuals.
According to Gibson, the phones serve as a security precaution in the event that a crisis “takes out communications” in a portion of the United States. Federal funding will cover the satellite airtime required for the use of the phone devices.
According to a Department of Homeland Security advisory, satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the event of a “man-made” or “natural” disaster that paralyzes communication.
When traveling, senators who agreed to carry the devices were instructed to keep them with them.
Following the January 2021 intrusion at the U.S. Capitol, CBS News reported that the availability of the equipment was part of a larger effort to better the security of members of Congress.
Gibson did imply that the devices would be beneficial in the event of a catastrophe.
“A Department of Homeland Security advisory said satellite phones are a tool for responding to and coordinating government services in the case of a ‘man-made’ or natural disaster that wipes out communication.”
Unknown is whether Gibson or other high-ranking federal government administrators have reason to believe this will occur.
In her April testimony before a Senate panel, Gibson stated, “In 2022, our team implemented initial physical security enhancements for 31 offices and improved existing security for 52 others.” Maintaining security systems in functioning order is a top priority, and in 2022, our team responded to over 622 service calls to maintain, repair, test, and inspect state office physical security systems.
In addition, Senate administration has provided staff members with “stop the bleeding” training to better prepare them to respond to medical emergencies and attack victims.
Prior to assuming her current position in March 2021, Gibson served in the American military for over three decades.
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