Over 50 senators have received these devices from the Senate Sergeant at Arms, whose office has seen significant changes since the infamous Capitol Hill assault in early 2021. It's reported that the devices are being handed out to all 100 senators, with at least half having accepted so far.
In a recent Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson stated that the implementation of satellite communication serves to "ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event." However, this has sparked alarm among some who view it as preparation for a possible intentional cyber disruption leading to the next election.
While Federal funds will cover the expenses related to the use of these devices, and the Department of Homeland Security has advised that they serve as a tool for coordination during "man-made" or natural disasters, the sudden push for such equipment raises questions. Gibson also stated that these phones act as a security measure against events that could "take out communications" across America, an ominous prediction that heightens concerns of premeditated cyber disruptions.
Alongside these communications upgrades, an exhibition space showcasing new office security measures, including duress buttons and safety glass, has been opened in the Russell Senate Office Building's basement. Such enhancements are touted as precautions against attacks but have added to the existing worries of conservative observers.
In light of the January 6th protests and recent physical threats to lawmakers, a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the security measures for members of Congress is underway. However, the timing and rapid implementation of these steps in parallel to the forthcoming elections have raised concerns among conservative circles who view them as potential anticipatory actions for a large-scale cyber assault aiming to secure Biden's power in 2024.
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