House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Monday that she will establish what she described as an "outside, independent 9/11-type Commission" to investigate last month's deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The letter appears to be a response to several House Republicans, who earlier in the day sent Pelosi a letter saying there were "many important questions" that "remained unanswered" concerning her "responsibility for the security" of the Capitol on January 6.
Based on his interim findings, she said Congress must allocate additional funds "to provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol".
After former president Donald Trump's acquittal at his second Senate impeachment trial, bipartisan support appeared to be growing for an independent commission to examine the riot.
The letter to Pelosi - sent by Reps. "The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House", read the letter from House Administration Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes.
She has tasked retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honoré with assessing security needs of the Capitol in the aftermath of the attack.
She cited the probe into the 2001 terrorist attacks, colloquially called the 9/11 Commission, which saw a team of Republicans and Democrats spend 20 months holding hearings, investigating and writing an exhaustive report on how 19 terrorists boarded planes and used them as missiles to strike inside the U.S.
"There's still more evidence that the American people need and deserve to hear and a 9/11 commission is a way to make sure that we secure the Capitol going forward", said Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a Biden ally.
Among the questions the commission will ponder is what information was known, and who knew it, ahead of time; what steps were taken to stiffen defenses; and why more personnel wasn't deployed.
Reportedly, the then chief of the Capitol Police, Steve Sund, requested National Guard assistance on January 4 and was denied by the then Sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving. They wanted to know if Mrs. Pelosi was involved in the denial. Pelosi has since fired Sund and asked Irving to resign, which he did. In fact, the Republicans said, Mr. Sund in a February 1 letter detailed two briefings the evening of January 6.
"As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities".