File: Troy E Nehls has accused a Capitol Police officer of secretly taking photos in his office
” data-hero=”” height=”726″ i-amphtml-layout=”responsive” i-amphtml-ssr=”” layout=”responsive” src=”https://static.independent.co.uk/2022/02/09/05/newFile.jpg?quality=75&width=982&height=726&auto=webp” width=”982″>
Texas Republican representative Troy E Nehls said on Tuesday that the inspector general for the US Capitol Police has opened an investigation into accusations that one of its officers surreptitiously took photos in his office.
“This goes much deeper than an unethical entry into my office by Capitol police,” Mr Nehls said in a statement. He said that it was a “violation of members’ right to speech and debate, as well as a 4th amendment violation”.
He added: “Could you imagine leaving your front door open and police officers enter your private home, take pictures of the inside, and then open an investigation based on those pictures?”
The representative accused the Capitol Police of trying to get back at him after he criticised them for the death of Ashli Babbitt — who was shot dead by a Capitol police officer during the 6 January riots.
“Capitol Police leadership have put a target on my back, but my work in exposing the security failures on January 6th, the death of Ms Babbitt, and the sham investigation into the events of January 6th will not be deterred,” Mr Nehls said.
Meanwhile, the Capitol Police denied his accusations.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said: “The United States Capitol Police is sworn to protect Members of Congress. If a Member’s office is left open and unsecured, without anyone inside the office, USCP officers are directed to document that and secure the office to ensure nobody can wander in and steal or do anything else nefarious.”
Mr Manger added: “The weekend before Thanksgiving, one of our vigilant officers spotted the Congressman’s door was wide open. That Monday, USCP personnel personally followed up with the Congressman’s staff and determined no investigation or further action of any kind was needed. No case investigation was ever initiated or conducted into the Representative or his staff.”
Mr Nehls has alleged that the Capitol Police officer entered his office on 20 November and took photographs of writings and drawings on a whiteboard — which he claimed was part of an investigation targeting him and his staff.
The Texas Republican learnt about the incident the subsequent Monday when three plainclothes Capitol Police agents returned to his office and questioned a staff member.
Mr Nehls had earlier said: “I think it’s shameful that I can’t get answers to basic questions as to who took the picture.”
“Where was the picture sent, who authorised the criminal investigation into my office? Did this go to the high levels in the intelligence division of the Capitol Police, which, you know … I’ve been a very vocal critic on January 6th,” he asked.