Capitol Police head cites Biden speech threat for keeping security high
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said Thursday that security will remain tight because of intelligence that some militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 have threatened to “blow up” the complex when President Biden delivers a joint address to Congress.
A date for when Biden will deliver a joint address to Congress in a State of the Union-like speech has not yet been established.
But Pittman said that officials want to maintain the current security posture while that threat remains.
“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,” Pittman revealed during testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee.
“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,” she said.
Since Jan. 6, multiple layers of tall fencing with barbed wire have gone up around the Capitol perimeter. Thousands of heavily armed National Guard troops are also stationed there to help provide support for the Capitol Police.
Pittman acknowledged in her opening statement before the panel that some of the new security measures are “not popular,” particularly the fence now surrounding what has traditionally been an open campus.
Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) lamented that Capitol Hill currently feels “like working in a minimum-security prison right now.”
But Pittman stressed that the Capitol Police will only maintain the security measures for as long as they are necessary.
“We have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer than what is actually needed,” Pittman said.