Louisiana’s Gen. Russel Honoré to investigate security failures at U.S. Capitol

Speaker Nancy Pelosi praises Honoré ‘s ‘excellent leadership’

By: and - January 15, 2021 10:48 am

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, shown here shaking hands with President George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina, expressed opposition to a bill Thursday that would let Louisiana industries report their own pollution in exchange for confidentiality and lower fines. (U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class William Townsend.)

Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (U.S. Army – Ret.) was appointed to a commission that will investigate security failures during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol that sought to forcibly prevent members of Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory as 46th president of the United States, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday.

Pelosi said Honore will conduct “an immediate review of security infrastructure, interagency processes and command and control.”  Honore is most famous for his command of Joint Task Force-Katrina in 2005, which restored order to the mostly flooded city of New Orleans, and Pelosi cited his Katrina aftermath leadership when she announced his new task.  “House leadership has worked with Gen. Honoré, seen up close and personal his excellent leadership at the time of Katrina. In particular, Mr. (Jim) Coburn (House Majority Whip) was the head of our Katrina Task Force. So he and I and others know full well how fortunate we are that the general has accepted (and is) willing to do this.”  Pelosi said Honoré‘s focus after Katrina was “military support to civilian authorities.”

Honoré, a native of Lakeland,  Honoré retired from the Army in 2008 after 37 years of active service and since then has been a speaker and consultant on the importance of preparedness.

He has also been a highly visible presence on cable news television on topics that include environmental justice and the need for a consolidated and assertive response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with WVUE FOX8 in New Orleans two days after the U.S. Capitol was stormed, Honoré  said the police force whose job it is to protect the building were not prepared for the violence and that they should have been. He said that some people on that force were not just incompetent but complicit:  “Everybody knew they were coming! Every law enforcement agency in D.C. called the capital and said, ‘Hey, how many you want?’ ‘Oh, we don’t need no help. That’s why it was complicit, and  people need to go to jail over that.”

In a later interview with MSNBC about his experience as a military officer fighting to protect people from dictators, Honore’ said, “I won’t name the countries, because we’re part of that club now.”

Rep. Mikie Sherill (D-NJ) has said that she saw other members of Congress giving tours on Jan. 5 to groups of visitors that she now believes served as reconnaissance missions.  Ali Alexander, a “Stop the Steal” organizer has said that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), helped make the events of Jan. 6 possible. “We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Alexander in an online video he’s since deleted. He said their plan was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was tweeting during the invasion of the U.S. Capitol and shared information about Pelosi’s whereabouts.

Pelosi was asked Friday whether investigations that Congress conducts will also include an investigation of some members of Congress.

“When we’re talking about security,” Pelosi said, “We have to talk about truth and trust.  In order to serve here with each other, we must trust that people have respect for their oath of office, respect for this institution. We must trust each other, respecting the people who sent us here. We must also have the truth…. If in fact it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this interruption, if they aided and abetted the crime, there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress, and in terms of prosecution for that.”

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Wes Muller
Wes Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.

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