The Capitol Police have reportedly asked the National Guard to extend their stay in D.C. by two months amid concerns over so-called domestic extremists plotting to target Congress. The armed militia groups feared the most are allegedly Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.
A congressional official stated that the timetable for the National Guard’s presence in the Capitol is “indefinite.” Over 5,200 Guardsmen from multiple states are currently in D.C. following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The Pentagon has not made a final decision on the matter according to a defense official. “There has been no decision on any extension requests,” stated National Guard spokesperson Darla Torres.
The indefinite deployment of the troops follows warnings from federal law enforcement officials concerning the possibility of an attack on Congress by a militia group on Thursday. The potential plot is unspecified and vague in nature. There have also been whispers of another planned attack during Biden’s State of the Union address. It has not been scheduled yet.
(Video Credit: The Hill)
House Democrats left early Wednesday and canceled sessions for Thursday over the threat. The Senate still convened.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated Thursday that the decision on whether to extend the Guard’s deployment in D.C. would be left up to Capitol security officials.
“The issue about the National Guard is one that will be made by the Capitol Police and the Police Board,” Pelosi replied. “We should have them here as long as they are needed.”
And a Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin also indicates that May 20 could d be another date when attacks are possible.
“It’s going to take more money to protect the Capitol in a way that enables people in a way to come here, children to come and see our democracy in action, all of you to cover what happens here safely, members to be comfortable that they are safe,” Pelosi emphasized in her press conference.
Many lawmakers are not happy with the prospect of keeping troops in D.C. indefinitely and there is sure to be a fight over the matter. Republicans have already demanded that security measures be scaled back and both sides of the political aisle are demanding briefings on exactly what security threats are imminent.
I am hearing from contacts at the National Guard that the U.S. Capitol Police have asked for a 60-day extension of the Guard’s mission in and around the Capitol, and that the Guard is soliciting states to send contributions.
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) March 4, 2021
“No one likes seeing the fortress-like security around the Capitol. And no one wants to again have a security problem in and around this symbolic place,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), a former intelligence analyst, proclaimed on Thursday. “Whether an extension has been requested or the mission is indeed terminated on March 12, it’s critical that members of Congress get a briefing on what’s behind these decisions.”
“We all have the same goal: to get back to the point where Capitol Police is capable of protecting us without the Guard’s help, and all parties feel confident we can protect the people’s business,” she concluded.
Pelosi is hopeful that retired Lt. Gen Russel Honoré will provide his recommendations to the full House next week.
“With all the president’s men out there, we have to ensure with our security that we are safe enough to do our job,” Pelosi quipped in reference to Trump supporters.
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