News & Politics

U.S. Capitol May Stay Militarized Well Into Spring

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today joined the Capitol Police in urging the Pentagon to keep National Guard troops stationed in Washington, D.C. to guard the Congressional complex.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said thousands of National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol should remain “as long as they are needed,” following a request by the Capitol Police that they stay in place for another two months.

“We have to have what we need when we need it, and in the numbers that we need,” the California Democrat told reporters Thursday in response to the Capitol Police request. “But that’s a security decision.”

On Wednesday, news broke that the Capitol Police requested a 60-day extension of the Guard’s presence following the January 6 riots at the complex.

The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Capitol for another two months, The Associated Press has learned. Defense officials say the new proposal is being reviewed by the Pentagon.

The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. And it comes as law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building.

Also late Wednesday, it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued a nationwide bulletin about potential new attacks on the government by militias.

The bulletin, titled “National Capital Region Remains Attractive Target for Domestic Violent Extremists,” warned that “Domestic Violent Extremists” or “Militia Violent Extremists” were emboldened by the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and therefore pose a higher overall threat.

The bulletin said the militia violent extremists may “exploit public gatherings either formally organized or spontaneous to engage in violence,” according to the description of the document.

[…]

A DHS spokesperson said the threat from domestic violent extremism, “particularly racially-motivated and anti-government extremists, did not end on January 6 or Inauguration Day.”

“We are witnessing a years-long trend of false narratives fueling violence, and the current heightened security environment in the National Capital Region illustrates that this will be an ongoing challenge for law enforcement in the months to come,” the spokesperson said.

The bulletin suggested that intelligence has picked up plots that groups have “discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers” around March 4 — a date many QAnon devotees believe Donald Trump will be sworn in as president again.

So far there have been no reports of any suspicious activity around the U.S. Capitol area today.

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