The United States Capitol Police Department has posted a statement via Twitter citing the threat of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol” on Tuesday, March 4, 2021.
A driving force for this security concern is online chatter among identified right-wing extremists heralding March 4 as the date on which former President Donald J. Trump will be “inaugurated” and “depose” President Joseph R. Biden. Until 1937, March 4 had been the date on which newly elected Presidents were inaugurated. An alternative posting warns QAnon adherents against traveling to Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 4, contending a “false flag” incident is planned – which will be blamed on supporters of former President Trump.
In a published statement, the United States Capitol Police Department has reported on indications of a “possible plot to breach the Capitol” by a militia group tomorrow – Thursday, March 4, 2021.
Some right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists, notably those affiliated with QAnon, have asserted that former President Donald J. Trump will be “inaugurated” on March 4 – the date that had served as Presidential Inauguration Day prior to 1937.
In the statement issued this morning, the United States Capitol Police Department emphasized intelligence about the potential plot planned by an “identified militia group.”
– The statement further advised that authorities “are taking the intelligence seriously.”
– Further details were not provided – based on the cited sensitive nature of the intelligence.
The Capitol Police Department affirmed that “significant security upgrades” have been implemented earlier this week at the Capitol because of other concerning intelligence on comments posted online by conspiracy theorists who believe former President Trump will return to power on March 4.
– The public statement issued by the Department noted the security upgrades include “establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers.”
– These enhanced measures will remain in place for a period of days at least, including on March 4.
– News media reporting indicated that the Acting Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, Timothy Blodgett, previously had sent a message to members of Congress assessing there is no indication of violent groups traveling to Washington, DC, for an action on March 4, but Capitol Police are increasing security posture and measures as a precaution.
Postings publicly accessible online have fallen into two categories – those heralding March 4 as a day of significance for adherents to extreme right wing conspiracy theories or beliefs; and another warning that the elevation of March 4 in prominent calls for action is a “false flag” that Trump supporters should stay away from to avoid getting “blamed.”
Release of the warning by the Capitol Police Department of the possible plot occurred while senior federal officials testified on the response to the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
– The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Committee on Rules and Administration jointly held the hearing.
– Testifying officials represented the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and National Guard and addressed their respective organizations’ preparedness and response actions.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 3, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray, labeled the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol as “domestic terrorism” and warned of a rapidly growing threat of homegrown violent extremism that law enforcement is scrambling to confront through thousands of investigations.
– During his testimony, Director Wray rejected as wholly inaccurate assertions that anti-Trump groups had organized the January 6 attack on the Capitol building.