According to multiple reports, Michael Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms who oversaw security in the upper chamber during the Capitol riot, died recently. Fox News reported, for example, when the story broke:
Michael Stenger, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms at the time of the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, died on Monday, officials said.
Stenger, 71, had been suffering from cancer, a source told Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you that former Sergeant at Arms, Michael C. Stenger, passed away this morning,” the Office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper said. No officials cause of death was immediately released.
At first, some found his passing suspicious, with anons and conspiracy theorists on the right and left claiming that his death was some sort of coverup over the role of “professional agitators”, a claim which seemed very unlikely from the start given his cancer diagnosis and is now known to be not the case.
In fact has finally been ruled that his death was not suspicious, with NBC reporting:
Stenger’s cause of death is not yet known. U.S. Capitol Police declined to comment. The medical examiner in Virginia did not handle his death, a spokesman said, indicating it was not considered suspicious.
Stenger held the post from 2018 to 2021 and stepped down the day after the events on January 6, events which were highly embarrassing for the guy supposed to keep the Capitol secure; no one wants to be beaten or outsmarted by a shirtless guy wearing a buffalo hat.
Commenting on the events on that day and what might have caused them before a Senate committee last year, Stenger said:
“There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6th. 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.”
In 2011, Stenger had joined the team for the Senate sergeant-at-arms, following many years of service with the Secret Service. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) nominated him as Senate sergeant-at-arms, and he was confirmed unanimously.
And McConnel wasn’t just the one that nominated Stenger, he was also the one that “requested and received” his resignation the day after the January 6th trespassing in the Capitol; Stenger received fierce criticism from members of Congress over his handling of security that day.
As for the current Senate sergeant-at-arms, Karen Gibson began serving in the position following Stenger’s departure from it.
Some have questioned whether Stenger and his onetime House counterpart, Paul Irving, could have called for backup sooner that day, as ultimately, it took over four hours for the National Guard to arrive on the scene, a source reported.
Congress passed a raft of procedural reforms in response to the security breach on January 6, to quash any confusion in the rules about what authority Congress’s security team had to call for reinforcements. That legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden.