Police said they will review security procedures at the U.S. Capitol, after a man and a woman walked through a screening area there yesterday while hiding objects duct-taped to their bodies. The incident prompted the evacuation of part of the Capitol for about an hour.
Police did not notice the two, who had Senate Gallery passes, until they reached an area near the center of the Capitol about 1:15 p.m. Officers, thinking the two had suicide bombs, began evacuating nearby offices. Police later concluded that the devices were a hoax and arrested the pair.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said the two passed through the security post wearing baggy clothes and without setting off metal detectors.
"I suspect there could be some minor adjustments" in security precautions, Gainer said, declining to elaborate on what those changes might be. "We still need to balance the need to access the Capitol and not be overbearing, [while] trying to live in terroristic times."
Ilelabayo David Olaniyi, 32, a native of Nigeria who lives in Saline, Mich., and Rena Patel, 22, who gave Olaniyi's address as her own, were charged with interstate transportation of an explosive device, Gainer said. He added that the count can be used in the case of a hoax.
Once the two reached an area inside the Capitol, they began chanting and dancing as teenagers stood around them and snapped pictures.
Gainer said a Capitol Police officer saw the spectacle and then noticed the tape and devices, which he considered suspicious.
The woman's waist was wrapped with three inches of duct tape, Gainer said, and underneath the tape was a putty-like substance.
The man, he said, had used duct tape and cardboard to design a shoulder harness and belt that held two glass jars of clear liquid, the jars capped with duct tape.
"It caused a commotion," Gainer said. He said further tests on the seized materials were being conducted by the FBI.
Olaniyi and Patel "indicated that [their actions were] theatrical in nature and the duct tape was because of all the duct tape [mentions] in the media," Gainer said. He added that it was unclear whether the pair's intended message was focused either on fears of terrorism or on a looming war in Iraq.