Washington, DC – U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said on Thursday that law enforcement was aware of new threats against the Capitol and members of Congress with “with a direct nexus to the State of the Union.”
Chief Pittman made the announcement on Feb. 25 during a Senate hearing about the security failures that led to the breaching of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, CNN reported.
The police chief said that some of the threats involved the same militia groups whose members had participated in the Capitol riot.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified,” she told lawmakers.
“We know that the insurrectionists that attacked the Capitol weren’t only interested in attacking members of Congress and officers,” Chief Pittman said. “They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as to who is in charge of that legislative process.”
“So based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward,” the police chief told lawmakers, according to NBC News.
A razor-wire topped security fence was installed around the Capitol complex after the riot and it has become a controversial subject in Congress, CNN reported.
Chief Pittman said in January that she wanted to keep the fence in place permanently, but that suggestions was met with bipartisan pushback from federal and local lawmakers.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city would not “accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC,” CNN reported.
Then in February, Chief Pittman proposed keeping the fence in place until at least September.
On Thursday, she used the new threats to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to support keeping the additional security measure.
“We have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer than what is actually needed,” Chief Pittman told lawmakers. “We’re actively working with a scaled down approach so that we can make sure that we address three primary variables. One is the known threat to the environment, two is the infrastructure vulnerabilities and then that third variable being the limitations the US Capitol’s police knows that it has as it relates to human capital and technology resources.”
The police chief also addressed lawmakers regarding the disputed communications timeline of the former Capitol Police chief’s requests for National Guard assistance at the Capitol building during the riot.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified earlier in the week that he reached out to the sergeants at arms for the House and Senate at 1:09 p.m. to ask them to call in the National Guard but said he didn’t receive that approval until 2:10 p.m., 11 minutes after the Capitol building had been breached by rioters.
But House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving told the senate committee members that he was on the House floor at 1:09 p.m. and his phone records don’t show he received a call from the police chief at that time, The Hill reported.
The former sergeant-at-arms for the House said he got the first call from Chief Sund at 1:28 p.m. and the chief didn’t formally request National Guard help until 2 p.m.
Chief Pittman disputed Irving’s account on Thursday and said cellphone records backed up former Chief Sund’s timeline, the Associated Press reported.
She said the records showed that Chief Sund had called Irving at 12:58 p.m. and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger at 1:05 pm.
The police chief said her predecessor made at least four additional calls to request National Guard help in the next 40 minutes, the Associated Press reported.
The timeline is important because some lawmakers have blamed capitol security chiefs and said an earlier request for help would have prevented injuries and deaths, according to The Hill.
The post Capitol Police Chief Warns Of New Threats To Capitol In Connection With State Of The Union appeared first on The Police Tribune.
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Author: Sandy Malone
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