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Capitol Police plans to remove outer fence and make other security changes




Measures, described in an internal email, include removing the outer perimeter of the fence along the Capitol grounds for the next two weeks and using bike racks located in double rows outside some areas within a week. to create a barrier between police and potential threats, giving officers more time to react effectively.

According to the email, Capitol police still believe it operates in a more threatening environment due to the political climate and rising domestic violent extremism. Officials believe a single-person attack, commonly known as a “lone wolf” attack, poses the greatest risk.

Capitol police argue that there is no credible and known threat to Congress or the Capitol. The agency said in the email that plans could change if officials learned of new threats.

The agency also plans to maintain a National Guard troop presence at the Capitol in the coming weeks, as previously reported by CNN. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved a request of Capitol police to continue providing 2,300 troops until May 23 last week.

About two to three weeks after removing the outer fence, Capitol police will reevaluate and likely reduce National Guard support, according to the email.

Last week, the Pentagon extended the deployment of the National Guard for the protection of the Capitol until May, at the request of the Capitol Police. The plan envisions 2,300 soldiers remaining in the Capitol until May 23, compared to 5,000 troops who were scheduled there by March 12.

The decision of the Capitol police to take on more and more responsibility echoes the ideas of Lieutenant General Russel Honoré in a recent Washington Post publication. Honoré, who led a security review at the Capitol following the January 6 riot, said Friday the fencing surrounding the compound “it will do nothing to prevent another attack,” and the threat to our democracy “lies within our borders.”

“The four kilometers of fences that now touch the Capitol will do nothing to prevent another attack or to help us understand the underlying failures that allowed the riot to occur,” Honoré wrote in the opinion, criticizing the response of federal law enforcement before and during the assault on the Capitol complex.

The 7-foot wire and fences put in place after the pro-Trump crowd attacked the Capitol have become a point of contention between the USCP and lawmakers. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have become increasingly frustrated and have quickly backtracked on the USCP’s proposal in late January to build permanent fencing. Honoré said in his piece that fencing the Capitol “provides a false sense of security” and compared it to the U.S. southern border wall, which he describes as an “expensive failure.”

Fortress DC: Frustration increases as lawmakers struggle with the endless security of the Capitol

The changes come when lawmakers have also expressed frustration over the continued presence of National Guard troops. This month, Capitol police called for an extension for National Guard troops, but lawmakers have not been able to get much clarity from the USCP and the Pentagon as to why the deployment of U.S. troops was extended. the Guard from mid-March to May, according to a source known to the disclosure.

There were even discrepancies in the Department of Defense over how many troops should be kept on the ground. Three defense officers confirm that Austin revised the proposal to keep fewer than 1,000 soldiers, but eventually decided to give the USCP the full amount of troops requested.

“There was a discussion” about the approval of less than 1,000 troops, a defense official told CNN.