U.S. Capitol Police want National Guard to stick around for 2 more months


The U.S. Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Congress for another two months, both Reuters and The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Defence 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 Washington. D.C., 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 is tied to the far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former U.S. president Donald Trump will rise again to power on March 4, the original presidential inauguration day.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan, said she learned that the request for a 60-day extension was made in the last 36 hours, and that the Guard is now seeking volunteers from states around the country to fill the need.

Defence officials confirmed that the request is under review at the Pentagon, and that the Guard has started checking states for availability of their troops, in an effort to be prepared if final Defence Department approval is given. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

‘As long as they are needed’

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that National Guard troops should remain at the U.S. Capitol for “as long as they are needed.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seen ahead of a weekly briefing with reporters on Thursday, supports seeing the National Guard remain on duty at the U.S. Capitol for ‘as long as they are needed.’ (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Pelosi said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré has submitted draft recommendations for long-term security improvements to the Capitol complex.

She did not provide details but said Congress will have to review them and make decisions “about what is feasible.” Congress would have to approve emergency funding to implement such plans.

Troops slated to leave soon

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.

The National Guard was ready and expecting to be called in to help quell the riot on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, but the commander told a U.S. Senate committee it took more than three hours for the deployment to be approved. 2:49

“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.”

Fears remain among lawmakers

She 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.

U.S. 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.

Barbed wire fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol at sunrise on Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)



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