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As the mob rampaged in the hallway outside, Ayanna Pressley's aide went to hit a panic button - only to discover it had been ripped out

The Globe interviews Massachusetts members of Congress and their aides on what they experienced in the failed fascist putsch, including Sarah Groh, Rep. Ayanna Pressley's chief of staff:

"Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit," she said, though they could come up with no rationale as to why. She had used them before and hadn’t switched offices since then. As they were escorted to several different secure locations, Groh and Pressley and her husband tried to remain calm and vigilant - not only of rioters but of officers they did not know or trust, she said.

After you read that article, read this USA Today profile of Pressley, focusing on life among the haters. And note that it was published on Jan. 3, just three days before the attack on democracy:

"The reality is that these death threats, violent phone calls, the need for private security hires, coordination with Capitol Police and the FBI, this has become part of our daily negotiation of how to serve the people who sent us to Washington," said Sarah Groh, Pressley’s chief of staff.

Groh said she used to print out mugshots sent by Capitol Police and post them on the office walls so that the team could memorize their faces. Now, she said, there are so many that she needs a binder to hold them.

Free tagging: 




JFC "ripped out" ?!?!?


The Globe article is saying the button was ripped out before the Capitol was attacked. Add this to a growing body of information that this was an inside job, and that Congressional staffers, Capitol Police and some Congress members were all part of the conspiracy. This was nothing short of a declaration of war and an opening attack in that war.


The word used was "torn", but details are also thin because "Every panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit" itself is confusing - was it one unit, or a bunch of separate buttons? Was something inelegantly removed leaving exposed wires or unpatched holes? Or was it a wireless thing not bolted down?

For all we know the IT staff moved them a long time ago. It will probably get clarified this afternoon. No point jumping to conspiracy conclusions before then.


Maybe IT had removed them, but you figure that anyone doing work in the office, especially on panic buttons, would communicate that to the office’s chief of staff who notes in the article that she has used the panic button several times before.


Dunno. Need more details. And the staffer stated she used them before, but not "several times" before.


Duly noted on my misuse of “several”.

There is a work order or video of the perpetrator


Just a hot guess here from working with panic buttons in offices.

I am pretty sure she had several around her office. In many cases they aren't a small button but a big plunger. Depends.. some are discreet.

But I think she means the whole box that houses the button was taken out and there's just a wire there.

She says she's used them before and she's only been in office for 2 years so......


That is because we already are on Conspiracy Island. No jumping needed.


We're really running out of plausible reasons for these things that don't indicate deliberate action.


Administration of the facilities at the Capitol and the surrounding complex is under the aegis of the Architect of the Capitol, an agency of the legislative (not executive) branch. USA.gov claims the agency reports to the House of Representatives, and we know who runs that.

Trump appointed the current leader of the agency (with confirmation from the Senate) a bit over a year ago and somewhat confusingly the head of the agency is also known as the Architect of the Capitol.

Seems like the Architect of the Capitol has some questions to answer -- like why panic buttons were missing, why security was inadequate, etc. Those responsible for oversight of the AOC (not the rep from NY) also probably need to address these questions.


USA.gov claims the agency reports to the House of Representatives, and we know who runs that... Trump appointed the current leader of the agency (with confirmation from the Senate)

If the head of the agency is appointed by the President, then it's an executive branch agency. If it reports to the House, then the House, or someone delegated by the House, appoints its head. So, which is it?

At this juncture there isn't enough information to conclude anything nefarious happened here.

Just remember, a bunch of unrelated coinciding negative events, woven together into a singular narrative, without actual evidence tying the events together, and which seem to validate a pre-existing belief that something nefarious is afoot, is what generates conspiracy theories like the 9/11 Truthers, Birthers, QAnon, and so on.

What we have here is grounds for an investigation to see if these are more than coinciding events, but nothing to draw conclusions from yet.


Perhaps there was a rewiring effort going on, and there was just very poor communication. That part is unfortunately believable. But I'm finding it difficult to believe that no one in Congress noticed it happening and happened to mention it to others.

(Agree that we need more information.)


That's plausible up to a point -- but if it were that, wouldn't someone in the office have been notified (not to mention likely have noticed the work taking place)? And how likely is it that the panic button would be removed and then, y'know, just...not replaced, and no notification to office staff that it was in this state?

I work in a federal agency where there is a system of panic-buttons and alarms, and whenever the system is going to be affected, there is generally an email sent out by IT or the agency police giving everyone a heads up and instructions for alternate procedure. Federal construction/repair projects take so long to both get started and complete that there's tons of time for planning ahead and a real need for alternatives during the project. I find it implausible there just HAPPENED to be an unannounced outage due to repairs that nobody knew about.

Ex-congressional staffers on Twitter are also stating that removing or otherwise tampering with the buttons sends alerts to the capitol police, not some IT office half across town. Something to consider.


Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

What's missing is how many other offices had their panic buttons removed. Is there an upgrade in progress? Has someone decided that the buttons were redundant? There are myriad possible explanations.

If someone plotting a coup were able to mastermind things down to the level of disabling security measures in individual offices, then why did the coup fail?

If this had been a real coup attempt, then surely the news of the riot would have been immediately followed by Trump calling in federal forces to "secure" the Capitol and take members of Congress into custody "for their own protection". Then the White House and its media allies would have declared the riot to be the result of a "terrorist plot" requiring a nationwide crackdown. Bank accounts of prominent Democrats would have been frozen, media outlets "suspected of involvement" raided, etc. etc.

As a fascist, Trump is as much a failure as he has been at everything else he's tried.