Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is sending a “clear message”
The Department of Homeland Security blocked security in downtown Washington, D.C., nearly a week ahead of schedule after the deadly Capitol siege and threats of more violence leading to Jan. 20’s inauguration day and swearing in by the president. Joe Biden.
Acting at the request of Congress and city officials, acting DHS Secretary Pete Gainer accelerated the implementation of a massive inaugural security plan on Wednesday.
“In light of these demands, recent events in the US Capitol … and planned events in Washington, prior to the opening, I have determined that the extension (period of heightened security), which is due to begin on January 13, is necessary to ensure unified command and control and ensure the safety and security of this special event, “Gainer wrote in a note to department staff.
The early determination launched a protracted operation that had already looted the city with fencing and barricades.
Unsuspecting travelers stumbled upon a number of checkpoints at the city’s main entrances early Wednesday, blocking traffic while some streets were completely closed as officials insisted on implementing a plan that would include tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and the National Guard.
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Gainer’s action was his first acting as acting secretary since taking command of the department following Monday’s abrupt resignation. Concerns about the security mission arose from Wolf’s resignation as the inauguration loomed.
DHS oversees the Secret Service, which oversees preparations for the designated National Special Security Event. Earlier this week, the Secret Service expressed confidence in the plan, describing it as a “zero-failure mission.”
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Michael Platy, the agent in charge of the effort, promised a “strong … presence” of law enforcement and the National Guard, along with a multi-layered network of fencing and checkpoints to repel potential threats.
Pay described last week’s security collapse as a “touching reminder” of the consequences of any failure.
“We have a mission with zero failure,” he said. “We think we are ready to meet the challenges of this day.”
Although Platti did not address specific threats related to the inauguration, the FBI warned authorities of the possibility of armed demonstrations on Inauguration Day in Washington and in state capitals on the eve of the swearing-in of the new president.
A Chicago suburb man, Luis Caprioti, was arrested Tuesday on federal criminal charges on suspicion of threatening violence during the inauguration.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who urged people not to travel to Washington for the opening, said on Wednesday that security measures could affect transportation, including the subway rail service operated by the Washington Transit Administration.
This is in addition to the already closed roads and future blockades, which can be announced closer to the Opening Day.
“To use the overused word is not unprecedented,” Bowser said, citing similar security measures during President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
Earlier this week, Bowser called on President Donald Trump to issue an emergency statement ahead of his administration’s inauguration on Monday. She also asked the US Department of the Interior, which controls federal parks, to revoke all permits for public collection and reject all applications by January 24.
“We are continuing these discussions with the Interior Ministry,” she said.
Washington Police Chief Robert Conti, a veteran of the department, said he had never seen the level of law enforcement expected to take office. He said he expects more than 20,000 members of the National Guard in the District of Columbia.
“I am just worried. “I was worried before today and I will live through this weekend and beyond,” Conti said. “We take this seriously. We are just focused on the work that is available. “
Bowser was threatened last week, according to a case released Wednesday in the Justice Department case against Cleveland Meredith, one of the rebels accused of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The day after the riot, prosecutors said Meredith sent a message to an unidentified person: “I can wander to the mayor’s office and put 5.56 in her skull …” He is accused of making similar comments about the mayor’s chairman. Parliament Nancy Pelosi.
Bowser did not respond directly to the threat when asked by reporters. “I will say that I receive many threats,” she said, adding that DC police would implement all necessary security measures.
Heavy security preparations were underway across the city as the House weighed in on Trump’s second impeachment, which lawmakers accused of inciting last week’s violent attack.
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