More than 50 U.S. senators have received emergency satellite phones, CBS News reported May 21, according to people familiar with the situation. The devices are part of a series of new security measures being offered to senators by a senate bailiff, who took office shortly after January 6, 2021.
Such phones were offered to all 100 senators, however, according to the channel, only about 50 senators accepted the phones, which Senate administrative staff recommends that senators keep in close proximity during their trips. The names of the senators who received such “gadgets” were not disclosed.
Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Senate Attorney General for Arms Karen Gibson said satellite communications are being deployed “to provide redundant and secure communications during a disruptive event.”
Gibson explained that the phones are a safety backup in case of an emergency that would “put communications out of service” in parts of the States. Federal funding will cover the cost of satellite airtime needed to use telephone devices.
A US Department of Homeland Security consultant said satellite phones are a tool for responding and coordinating government agencies in the event of a “man-made” or natural disaster that destroys communications.
Gibson also opened an office “show space” in the basement of one of the Senate buildings to offer senators and staff an exhibition of the office’s new security devices. The showroom offers exhibitions of “duress buttons”, mail-checking devices, and security glass to reduce the risk of attacks.
The Senate administration also offered “stop the bleeding” training to better prepare staff to provide emergency medical care and help victims of attacks.
In April, House Marshal William McFarland told lawmakers that he was “actively involved” in a program designed to help House members secure their homes. McFarland said chamber administrators are coordinating with local police departments to help protect members of Congress who host events in their states and their homes.
A spending bill passed at the end of 2022 provided Congress with additional funds for security measures for congressmen in their hometown. The legislation required security administrators to “strengthen member protection, including providing a security program to congressional leadership, expanding VIP Protection Division services, and expanding the presence of Capitol Police field offices,” which would allow for the deployment and expansion of the Capitol Police presence in cities outside of Washington.
Although the Capitol complex is guarded by nearly 2,000 Capitol police officers, there is growing concern among members of Congress about security in their hometowns. A California man was charged with the 2022 attack on the San Francisco home of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The assailant allegedly targeted Nancy Pelosi when he ran into Pelosi’s husband Paul and attacked him with a hammer.
During the May 15 attack on Rep. Jerry Connolly’s office in Fairfax, Virginia, one of Connolly’s voters attacked two of the congressman’s employees with a metal baseball bat. Both were briefly hospitalized and are recovering.
Conspiracy theorists express a natural disaster (a solar flare, a volcanic eruption, an asteroid impact, and so on), a man-made disaster, a global nuclear war, and the fall of the Internet for some “soft reasons”, such as a hacker attack, jambs with software, and so on. Further. There is even a version of the alien invasion, which will land on Earth just about.
Although the general expectations of the people are rather pessimistic, it is encouraging that the event was made public.
Senators are elected people and therefore must report to voters about their actions, nevertheless, whether a senator uses a satellite phone or not is exclusively his personal business, he does not report this to anyone and should not report it.
If we assume that within the next week there will be either a war or some kind of mega-catastrophe, then this information should, in theory, be secret and there is absolutely no need to make the whole world aware of the distribution of emergency communication systems and alarm backpacks to politicians.
There is still such a moment as executive power and legislative power. In case of this or that state of emergency, the situation is resolved by the executive branch, while the legislative branch stands in the background. Therefore, in case of an emergency, the legislature can distribute dynamo torch lights, candles and matches, and senators will not need telephones.
There is such a moment as the very principle of satellite communications. This, of course, is not mobile phones or Skype, but it is also not a telegraph, nor a system of army messengers and semaphores on ships. The principle is the same – radio waves. Therefore, if there is a mega-solar flare or a nuclear war, a satellite phone will not work even more likely than a cell one.