US Capitol Police have told lawmakers that the razor wire fencing around the Capitol should remain in place until at least September due to lingering security concerns related to threats against members of Congress, according to a source familiar with the plans.
USCP has asked to keep the fencing for an additional 180 days – extending the current deadline that is set to expire in March, the source said, adding that the Capitol Police Board is reviewing the request.
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The Associated Press was first to report the request.
CNN has previously reported that law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security are not currently tracking any “credible or specific threats,” but they continue to track online chatter about potential violence in Washington DC and against members of Congress.
“While there is no specific, credible threat to the homeland at this time, DHS continues to gather, review, and analyze new intelligence each day and regularly updates its federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners on the results of those efforts. The most significant terrorism-related threat currently facing the nation comes from lone offenders and small groups of individuals inspired by domestic extremist ideological beliefs, including those based on false narratives spread over social media and other online platforms,” a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN on Monday.
But the timeline for removing some of the extra security precautions that were put in place following the January 6 insurrection, including fencing and the National Guard presence, has become a topic of debate in the weeks after President Joe Biden’s inauguration. A growing chorus of lawmakers are raising concerns about how long some of these measures will remain.
Last month, acting USCP chief Yogananda Pittman proposed permanent fencing around the Capitol but that idea was met with swift resistance from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser who quickly responded by saying the city will not “accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC.”
Earlier this month, 42 House Republican lawmakers also called for the fencing to be removed, raising concerns that it could become permanent.
Pelosi has not definitively said whether she supports permanent fencing around the Capitol. Future security decisions will be informed by the findings of Lt. Gen. Honoré’s ongoing review, a Pelosi aide told CNN earlier this month.