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Politics Capitol Hill security increased around chatter about March 4 conspiracies

23:09  03 march  2021
23:09  03 march  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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Information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warns of increased chatter among extremists, including members of the Three Percenters extremist group, discussing possible plots against the Capitol on March 4 , a date that conspiracy theorists have focused on, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Capitol Police Department is moving to increase security and staffing on Capitol grounds for a number of days that will cover Thursday, March 4 , owing to the intelligence it has obtained. “The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4 th and continues to Inauguration Day used to be March 4 under the U.S. Constitution, until the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1933, which moved the date to Jan. 20. Conspiracy theories have been circulating on Telegram suggesting that former President Donald Trump would return as the president on Thursday

US officials on Wednesday alerted lawmakers to a potential threat against the US Capitol on March 4, for which security has been enhanced as a precaution, less than two months after the Capitol complex was stormed and lawmakers' lives were threatened by rioters.

a clock tower in front of a building: The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. © Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned of increased chatter among extremists, including members of the Three Percenters extremist group, discussing possible plots against the Capitol on March 4, a date that conspiracy theorists have focused on, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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U.S. Capitol Police sources tell FOX 5 they have received an intelligence bulletin warning of a militia plot to breach the Capitol this Thursday, March 4 . Two sources say officers got the bulletin on Tuesday and that it specifically names the militia group the Three Percenters. Members of the group are accused in the Capitol riot on Jan. There is also some chatter about March 20, the day the Republican party came to life in 1834. And, there’s even some noise about April 15: federal income tax day.

The United States Capitol Police said it has beefed up security on Capitol Hill this week due to "concerning information and intelligence" related to March 4 . QAnon followers also believed that Trump would not actually leave office on Inauguration Day but rather would declare martial law, announce mass arrests of Democrats and stop Joe Biden from becoming president. When that didn't happen, the date was moved from Jan. 20 to March 4 , the original inauguration day for all U.S. presidents prior to 1933.

But even as security is increased, law enforcement says it is not clear the discussion has moved beyond talk among members. One source noted to CNN that it is mostly online talk and not necessarily an indication anyone is coming to Washington to act on it.

During a Senate hearing Wednesday, Melissa Smislova, the acting intelligence chief of the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed to lawmakers that the DHS and FBI had internally issued a joint intelligence bulletin about "extremists discussing March 4, and March 6."

US Capitol Police issued a statement Wednesday saying it obtained intelligence of a "possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4."

The department said it is "aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex" and that it has made "significant security upgrades," including adding a physical structure and more manpower.

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Security is being beefed up around the Capitol ahead of the date. Capitol Police did not name a specific group in its statement but there is chatter the militia group the Three Percenters is involved - the group were among the rioters accused of breaching 'We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4 ,' USCP said in a statement Wednesday - the same day that officials testified on Capitol Hill about security surrounding the complex. 'We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical

Capitol Police announced Tuesday that security is being increased in DC following an intelligence warning that militias are planning a breach on Thursday March 4 th. Capitol Hill is already surrounded by a huge razor wire topped fence, with thousands of National Guard troops Fox News also reported that March 4 th is the day that QAnon followers believe President Trump is going to return and be reinstated, as it was historically the day on which presidents were inaugurated. The report also states that “There is also some chatter about March 20, the day the Republican party came to life in 1834.

USCP acting chief Yoganada Pittman also told Congress earlier Wednesday that her department had "concerning intelligence" regarding the next few days in Congress -- but said it wouldn't be "prudent" of her to share the "law-enforcement sensitive" intelligence in a public hearing or public format.

Pittman assured lawmakers, though, that her department is in an "enhanced" security posture and that the National Guard and Capitol Police have been briefed on what to expect in the coming days.

Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett told members in a memo on Monday obtained by CNN that while they are enhancing security out of precaution, "at this time the USCP has no indication that groups will travel to Washington DC to protest or commit acts of violence."

Blodgett wrote they will post additional officers throughout the Capitol grounds. He also said that the significance "has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days."

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Capitol Police are also increasing security at three local airports and DC’s train stations in order to ensure safe travel for members of congress, according to a report in The Hill . The increased threat appears to stem from a Qanon-related conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will be re-inaugurated on March 4 — the day all presidential inaugurations were held on until 1933. Rumors about another attack on March 4 were also discussed at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee last week. The chairman, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, said that the idea of a second

Capitol Police said on Tuesday that they will be increasing security around the Capitol this week due to "concerning information and intelligence" they have received. © Getty Images Capitol Police beefing up security this week amid 'concerning' intelligence. "Based on the intelligence we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4 th," the statement reads. Pic.twitter.com/IctlgEDB7e. - U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) March 2, 2021.

QAnon conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4, returning him to the presidency. Between 1793 and 1933, inauguration often fell on March 4 or a surrounding date.

Sen. Alex Padilla, a California Democrat, told CNN in response to the FBI and DHS warning that he and his colleagues take the threat "very seriously."

"There's a reason why there's still National Guard servicewomen and men deployed at the Capitol at this time, and the fencing and the barrier we see," Padilla said in an interview earlier Wednesday.

"It's because of what happened on January 6. We still have yet to hold everybody accountable for what happened on the sixth. And we still haven't made the many changes necessary to secure the Capitol going forward. So this is evolving in very real time. Frankly, this information from DHS may be officially new but not really surprising."

This story has been updated with additional details.

Capitol Police chief appeals for National Guard to stay .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Worried about continuing threats, the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police has appealed to congressional leaders to use their influence to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol, two months after the law enforcement breakdowns of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. Yogananda Pittman told the leaders Thursday in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that the board that oversees her department has so far declined to extend an emergency declaration required by the Pentagon to keep Guardsmen who have assisted Capitol officers since the riot.

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