US Capitol ups security over possible breach threat

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Security has been increased with fences erected and officers on alert after officials say they uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.

This comes nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4. That was the original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20.

The Capitol Police announced Wednesday that they were aware of the threat and that the agency is “prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex.”

An advisory sent earlier this week to members of Congress by Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, said that the Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.”

That advisory was updated in a note to lawmakers Wednesday morning. Blodgett wrote that the Capitol Police had received “new and concerning information and intelligence indicating additional interest in the Capitol for the dates of March 4th – 6th by a militia group.”

It said it is working with local, state and federal agencies “to stop any threats to the Capitol,” adding, “We are taking the intelligence seriously.” It did not disclose the nature of the intelligence.

The statement noted that police have made “significant security upgrades” at the Capitol.

In light of the threats, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced all House votes would be canceled for the remainder of the week.

The announcement comes as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot.

Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators Wednesday that the Defense Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the riot despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police.

Walker said that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defense Department’s approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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