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Police request 60-day extension of Guard at US Capitol

U.S. Capitol
Posted at 5:43 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 18:27:37-05

The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Capitol for another two months, according to a statement from the Capitol Police.

"Wednesday, Acting Chief Pittman testified to the House Legislative Branch Subcommittee that threats to members are up 93% during the first two months of this year compared to last year," the agency said on Thursday. "The Department takes its mission seriously and will do whatever is necessary to achieve that mission. The USCP is extremely grateful for the Department of Defense and the National Guard support provided since January 6th. We understand the Guard has a tremendous service need back home responding to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. And it comes as law enforcement was on high alert around the U.S. Capitol Thursday after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building.

The National Guard previously confirmed to Scripps that 5,000 members would remain at the US Capitol through mid-March.

There has been a continuous National Guard presence since the Jan. 6 insurrection when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to interrupt the counting of Electoral College votes. The mob was fueled by false conspiracy theories suggesting that Biden had stolen the election from Trump. Dozens of court rulings, some from judges appointed by Trump, were thrown out.

The latest threats came on Wednesday when the Capitol Police confirmed that the Capitol is at a heightened state of readiness.

“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the Capitol Police said. “We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers.”