Capitol Police chief: Security will remain high due to State of the Union threat
The Capitol Police is keeping its security posture high in response to intelligence that indicates some extremists who joined the Jan. 6 insurrection have discussed plans to attack the building during the State of the Union, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed Thursday.
The chatter among extremists about trying to blow up the Capitol during the still-unscheduled presidential address, Pittman said, has prompted the Capitol Police to maintain the elevated presence it has kept since last month’s riot. Any decrease in the police’s posture, she said, would come after the threat passes and other gaps identified in the aftermath of the Capitol siege are resolved.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desire 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 said during testimony to a House Appropriations subcommittee.
“Based on that information,” she added, it’s “prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced security posture until we address those issues going forward.”
Pittman said existing intelligence has underscored that insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol “weren’t only interested in attacking members and officers. They wanted to send a symbolic message to the nation as to who was in charge of that legislative process.”
While authorities are aware of future attacks being discussed by the militia groups that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, it’s unclear how developed or serious the intelligence around those plans may be. President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress is not expected to be scheduled until after approval of his pandemic relief package.