The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the US 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. This comes 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.
The potential plot also has ties to the far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on March 4, the original presidential inauguration day.
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said she learned that the request for a 60-day extension was made in the last 36 hours. Now, the Guard seeks volunteers from states around the country to fill the need.
Pentagon Reviewing Extension Request By US Capitol Police
Defense officials confirmed that the request is under review at the Pentagon. Additionally, the Guard has started checking states for the availability of their troops. This comes in an effort to prepare if the Defense Department gives its final approval. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
The more than 5,000 Guard members currently in Washington, D.C., are all slated to go home on March 12, ending the mission.
Slotkin said some members of Congress have been concerned about whether there is a solid plan to provide security for members and staff going forward.
“We want to understand what the plan is,” she said. “None of us like looking at the fencing, the gates, the uniformed presence around the Capitol. We can’t depend on the National Guard for our security,” she also added.
She then said there has to be a plan that provides the needed security for the buildings and personnel by the Capitol Police and local law enforcement. Slotkin said it was telling that House members hastened to complete major votes Wednesday so they wouldn’t have to be in the building where many fled violent rioters in January. Lawmakers, she said, “don’t feel totally secure” in the Capitol.
US Capitol Police officials have also told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months.
Slotkin said, however, that she was going to her office to work on Thursday. “I’m not going to let these guys scare me away,” she said.
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