- DC officials oppose the proposal to permanently keep a fence around the Capitol.
- The fence was put up days after supports of Trump stormed the Capitol.
- On Thursday, the acting Capitol Police chief suggested that fixture permanently remains as a means to protect lawmakers.
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Officials in Washington, DC, have condemned a proposal to permanently keep the fence that was installed around the Capitol building following the January 6 riot.
In a statement, acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman said: “In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol. “
Pittman stated that security experts have long said that the area needed more security to protect members of Congress and that a 2006 security assessment even recommended a permanent fence.
The Washington Post reported that her suggestion prompted pushback from some members of Congress, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and city officials.
“What we saw on the 6th was horrendous, but it also included so many failures of the US Capitol Police. To just build an unscalable perimeter fence and turn the people’s house into a fortress from the people is just wrong,” DC Councilmember Charles Allen, whose district includes Capitol Hill told The Post. “These areas are part of our community, part of our neighborhood — cutting off public access because they failed to anticipate when they knew what was coming is just very wrong.”
Supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol and clashed with law enforcement on January 6, halting a joint session of Congress as lawmakers were set to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory. The attack left five people dead.
There have been several reports that indicate that police and other security personnel took limited action on key security information ahead of the attacks.
Trump has been criticized for encouraging the mob, and the House has since impeached him on a charge of inciting an insurrection. The Senate will soon hold a trial and vote on whether to convict the former president. He is the only president in US history to be impeached twice.
Mayor Bowser said the area would need additional security ahead of Trump’s impeachment trial but was adamant that fixture would soon come down.
“But we will not accept extra troops or permanent fencing as a long-term fixture in DC,” Bowser said in a tweet. “When the time is right, the fencing around the White House and US Capitol, just like the plywood we’ve seen on our businesses for far too long, will be taken down.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead “an immediate review” of the security of the US Capitol Complex.
Honoré spoke to Pelosi on his initial assessment on Thursday, she said in a statement.
“I was pleased to be briefed on the General’s initial assessment which covered operational readiness, interagency cooperation, security infrastructure and the morale and readiness of institutional staff,” Pelosi said. “As we consider the need for an emergency supplemental funding bill to meet institutional security needs, I want to thank the General for reviewing what is necessary for the Capitol Police to do their jobs.”
Additionally, the departments of Justice, Defense, the Interior, and Homeland Security have all assigned internal investigators to look into what was known about the January 6 event beforehand and what was done.
The Post reported that in order for a fence to be permanently installed the Capitol Police Board would need to approve it. The Board includes the Senate and House sergeants-at-arms and the Capitol architect. The House and Senate would also need to approve appropriating funds to fortify the building.
In a tweet, GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik said: “This is the People’s House. I am adamantly opposed. There has been no threat briefing given to Members of Congress to justify this proposal.”