The death of former Senate Sergeant-At-Arms one day before a ‘surprise’ January 6 commitee hearing drew immense interest from initial reports.
The news was first reported on Monday by Politico’s K. Tully-McManus, and was confirmed by Fox News’ Chad Pergram. Both reports on Tuesday lacked details.
“Fox confirms that Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms who was in charge of Senate security the day of the Capitol riot, has died,” Fox News’ Chad Pergram reported.
1) Fox confirms that Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms who was in charge of Senate security the day of the Capitol riot, has died.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 27, 2022
The report has been confirmed also by Politico Congressional reporter K. Tully-McManus:
Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger died this morning.
He joined the SAA team in 2011 after a career with the Secret Service and was appointed SAA in 2018.
— K Tully-McManus (@ktullymcmanus) June 27, 2022
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“Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger died this morning,” Tully-McManus said. “He joined the SAA team in 2011 after a career with the Secret Service and was appointed SAA in 2018.”
Reports that he was gunned down in the street are erroneous, and stem from a 2013 event involving a person of the same name.
The Washington Post has now reported that Stenger died of “natural causes,” based on anonymous sources.
“Stenger died Monday of natural causes, according to two people familiar with the matter. One of the people said he had been diagnosed with cancer and had been ill. The people would not discuss details of his condition publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.”
Politico earlier reported that Stenger died on Monday morning, but did not provide details.
“Stenger resigned from his position days after the violent insurrection at the Capitol,” the report added. “House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund also resigned in the aftermath of the attack.”
In a review of January 6 security failures, a staff report for the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee blamed Sund, Irving, and Stenger for failing to notify the National Guard in time.
“Steven Sund never submitted a formal request to the Capitol Police Board for National Guard support in advance of January 6,” the report said. “Instead, Steven Sund had informal conversations with the House Sergeant at Arms, Paul Irving, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Michael Stenger, regarding the potential need for National Guard support. No one ever discussed the possibility of National Guard support with the Architect of the Capitol, the third voting member of the Capitol Police Board.”
However, the National Guard was called to Washington D.C. for an entire week in June 2020, making it highly unlikely that Capitol Police Chief Sund, in particular, would be unfamilar with the procedure for calling up the National Guard, as well as the former House SAA Paul Irving and the late Senate SAA Michael Stenger.
In the late Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger’s final testimony before Congress, one of the key officials charged with securing the Capitol building on January 6 urged lawmakers to investigate ‘professional agitators.”
“There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6th,’ Stenger said in his opening statement to Congress on February 23, 2021. “Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators.”
“First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with professional investigations,” he added. “The law enforcement coordination in the National Capitol Region should be reviewed to determine what can be done in a more efficient and productive manner. Intelligence collection and dissemination, training, and concepts on the use of force must be consistent. This integration should be accomplished without regard to self-serving interest and cost.”
“In conclusion, whenever you prepare for a major event, you must always consider the possibility of some form of civil disobedience at these demonstrations and plan accordingly,” Stenger added. “The events of January 6th went beyond disobedience. This was a violent, coordinated attack wherethe loss of life could have been much worse.”
Stenger was a 71-year-old Marine Corps veteran who spent 35 years in the Secret Service before joining the Senate sergeant-at-arms team in 2011. He was later appointed to the Capitol security post in 2018.