The Capitol 'Reconnaissance' Smear


Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk


Ron Harris/Associated Press

If the Jan. 6 choose committee needs to have extra bipartisan credibility, how about apologizing to Georgia Rep.

Barry Loudermilk

? The Republican was vindicated this week after false accusations that he had offered “reconnaissance” excursions for Capitol rioters.

On Jan. 12, 2021, Democratic Rep.

Mikie Sherrill

(N.J.) alleged on


that she’d seen “members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day.” The press piled on.

Asked on MSNBC about experiences of GOP “tours to insurrectionists,” New York Rep.

Sean Maloney

responded: “I can confirm that. I don’t have firsthand knowledge of it but I spoke to a Member who saw it personally and he described it with some alarm.” Mr. Maloney added that the “enemy is within.”

Ms. Sherrill and 33 different House Democrats despatched a letter to the Capitol police and House and Senate sergeants at arms demanding an “immediate investigation” into the “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” on Jan. 5. They mentioned some attackers “seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout,” and this turned a central characteristic of the Democratic and media narrative.

Yet nobody had named a selected tour giver—till the Jan. 6 committee breathed new life into the allegation by fingering Mr. Loudermilk. Chair

Bennie Thompson

and Vice Chair

Liz Cheney

wrote Mr. Loudermilk on May 19 and requested him to testify to “information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.” The letter and its accusation leaked to the press.

Republicans on the House Administration Committee this yr mentioned they’d reviewed 48 hours of safety footage of the Capitol entrances and tunnels, and so they informed The Hill there have been “no tours, no large groups,” and “nothing in there remotely fitting” Ms. Sherrill’s accusation. But the Jan. 6 committee letter to Mr. Loudermilk claimed it had “evidence” that “directly contradicts that denial.” The media cheered, and Ms. Sherrill made a fist-pump look on MSNBC, praising the committee for holding the “chilling” perpetrator of the tour “accountable.”

On Monday Mr. Loudermilk was cleared by the Capitol police in a letter to House Administration rating Member

Rodney Davis.


Thomas Manger

mentioned Capitol police had reviewed the footage and “there is no evidence that Representative Loudermilk entered the U.S. Capitol” with a gaggle on Jan. 5.

The Georgia Representative did escort constituents, however cameras present they toured House workplace buildings—that are separate from the Capitol. Mr. Manger confirmed that “at no time did the group appear in any tunnels that would have led them to the U.S. Capitol,” including that “we train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious.”

The press is downplaying this humiliation by noting the Jan. 6 committee letter additionally referred to excursions of “House and Senate office buildings,” which is a part of the Capitol “complex.” C’mon, man. The Sherrill allegation was that Republicans had given excursions of “the Capitol” to present rioters advance intel of the structure.

The Jan. 6 committee might have checked the info with the Capitol police earlier than it smeared Mr. Loudermilk. The least it could possibly do now could be admit it was flawed and apologize. As for Ms. Sherrill, the lesson is to not imagine something she says.

Potomac Watch: Americans want a severe accounting of what occurred on Jan. 6, 2021. Democrats assured they received’t get one. Image: Jabin Botsford/Bloomberg News

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