The secure security stance began six days earlier than planned to coordinate the roles of the FBI, the National Guard, U.S. marshals and a number of federal agencies that will come under the command of the Secret Service.
“Everyone can just be sure he’s throwing the kitchen sink at this event,” said a Secret Service official involved in security planning who, like the other interviewees, was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The accelerated schedule also allowed authorities to fortify the city and deploy officers in anticipation of potential violence on Sunday when pro-Trump groups called for armed marches in Washington and the state̵
Veterans Secret Service and National Security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share their concerns, described a level of concern different from anything in their careers. Threats include a conspiracy by armed groups to encircle the White House or the Capitol in the United States and take office, as well as fears that gunmen could stage coordinated attacks against less fortified targets in the city.
House Democrats were briefed by the new Capitol police leadership Monday night on threats to take effect from groups backing President Trump and the new security measures they are introducing to avoid a repeat of last Wednesday’s riot.
According to members who attended the briefing, the threats included promises to execute members of Congress, with the most dangerous coming from a handful of extremist groups. They emerge amid calls for a million MAGA worshipers to flood Washington
Police in the suburbs of Chicago arrested 45-year-old Luis Caprioti on Tuesday, accusing him of threatening lawmakers last year in which authorities say he promised to kill any Democrat who tried to enter the White House on the day of his inauguration. Position.
If people “think that Joe Biden will put his hand on the Bible and get into it. . . The White House on January 20, they are sad. . . wrong, ”he told a member of Congress in a detailed telephone message with a criminal complaint. “We will surround. . . The White House and we will kill everyone. . . A democrat who steps on. . . lawn. “
Representative Jim Hymes (D-Conn.) Said in an interview that the threats were real but would not stop the transfer of power.
“We are not talking about a cell of 90 ISIS people. . . . We are talking mainly about a bunch of yahoos, which, yes, are very dangerous. “People could end up dead,” Hymes said. “But there is no danger that they will overthrow the United States government.”
The scale of the heightened security was illustrated by the House Sergeant’s decision to use metal detectors to check everyone entering the Chamber, including members.
The Capitol siege has put Secret Service planners and their federal partners in a feverish reassessment to consider any ways they can mitigate something like a repeat of Jan. 6 – or worse.
From Wednesday, the nerve center for coordinating security to open and lock the District will be the field office of the Secret Service in Washington. Known as the MACC, the Multi-Agency Command Center will bring together representatives from 50 to 60 different agencies or private companies over the next eight days, all from heavyweight players such as the FBI and the Department of Defense to the gas company, CSX and Amtrak. Most employees will work 12-hour shifts.
“Unlike January 6, no one should ask for the National Guard anymore,” said a former Secret Service official who helped coordinate past inaugurations. “No one should send an emergency call to the FBI SWAT team. Everyone is there, pre-positioned and ready. “
“It’s no longer game planning,” the former official added. “Radiation protection. Bomb detectors. Amtrak sweeps. All security personnel are all in place. “
The secret services will coordinate all security decisions, including how to seal the Capitol, how to control the flow of demonstrations, which subway stations are closed and which roads are blocked. But the Secret Service, a relatively small agency in the federal government, will rely heavily on the muscles and expertise of its partners. For example, the FBI will seek intelligence gathering, and the National Guard, park police and DC police, as well as many other local police departments, will create roadblocks, patrol security perimeters along the inaugural route, and help protect the Capitol. and the White House.
Representative Tom Malinowski (DN.J.), who took part in the law enforcement briefing, said that if the extensive measures planned for the opening were introduced on January 6, “a fly could not enter the Capitol.” ”
“Last week was a wake-up call,” Malinowski said in an interview, adding that the rebels would not be allowed to repeat because the Capitol police “don’t just play defense, we play insult.”
The secret services have controlled all special events for national security since President Bill Clinton signed a presidential declaration in 1998, making the agency responsible for all major events that could be targeted by terrorists. These include the Super Bowls, summits of world leaders, meetings of international organizations, presidential conventions and, of course, inaugurations.
While the Homeland Security Ministry, which includes the Secret Service, lacks key leadership following the resignation of acting Secretary-General Chad Wolfe on Monday, officials say they can count on the experience of some of the key players involved in entry security planning. in office. These include Matt Miller, head of the Washington Secret Service’s field office, who is widely admired by his subordinates and promoted as a result of the seamless security planning he created for the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012; and DC Police Inspector Robert Glover, an incident commander who rushed to the aid of Capitol police on Jan. 6 and ordered the combined forces to drive the riots off the field.
The secret services sent a call to all their field offices across the country to send agents to Washington for the week.
“Really, really all hands are on deck right now,” said a man familiar with the request.
Secret Service spokesman Justin Whelan said the service began pre-planning for the opening a year ago, working more intensively in recent months. But several officials said the siege of the Capitol forced the agency to reconsider its previous work.
“The events of January 6 serve as a vivid reminder of the critical nature of overall security planning,” Whelan said in a statement. “As always, security during the National Special Security Event (NSSE) is a layered network of operations, seen and unseen, carried out in tandem with federal, state and local law enforcement, military and public safety authorities.”
A law enforcement official familiar with the inauguration plan said extensive fences were being erected throughout DC, including the area around the White House. Those who plan to attend the inauguration can also expect to be able to barely see the White House, as the perimeter will be widened further than during previous inaugurations.
Lamont J. Rufin, the U.S. deputy chief of staff for the District of Columbia, said his office plans to replace between 3,000 and 4,000 local law enforcement officers across the country, who – at the request of the metropolitan police department – will enter DC to help with security.
Rufin said he had been asked to prepare for a possible replacement for members of the National Guard to give them law enforcement, although those plans have not been finalized. Pentagon officials have not confirmed that National Guard troops will carry weapons on the streets of Washington, but the armed forces will be on standby.
Rufin said officials coming to the county town from across the country – “all 50 states” – he said – must fill out a form certifying that they meet certain requirements, including that they are not subject to active internal investigation. , and that their departments are up to date with their certificates of use of lethal and non-lethal force.
He said he was unaware of any additional requirements imposed this year. Some law enforcement officials involved in the rally that sparked riots in the US Capitol last week have been investigated by their own departments, and the FBI is investigating whether any military or law enforcement officers are breaking the law.
An unwanted reminder of this risk came on May 29. Security agents raided Trump’s White House underground bunker tonight as crowds of protesters protesting George Floyd’s assassination approached the north side of the White House and many pushed temporary barricades to keep them away from the fence.
A male protester crossed the high fence line and entered the complex near the treasury building, while others entered a closed courtyard of the treasury nearby. The Secret Service then raised the threat level on campus to Condition Yellow and encouraged Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron in the underground shelter. After that night, the Secret Service pushed the perimeter much further and called for reinforcements from other federal law enforcement agencies to hold the line.
“They know this is a huge vulnerability,” said a Secret Service official. “There’s a silver cover from the whole Capitol uprising: I still believe the White House is a softer target than the others, but you better believe it gets a really improved security plan for the next few weeks.”
Another concern is that pro-Trump groups seeking permits for downtown protests include people who joined the Jan. 6 violent demonstration in the Capitol and did part of their planning for encrypted applications. A pro-Trump group has applied to the National Park Service for permission to protest in front of the White House. The National Park Service, working with the Secret Service, will have to decide whether to reject these applications for permits or to determine how these protesters can be arrested and blocked from threatening the Capitol or the White House.
City officials in Washington continued to erect an inaugural perimeter downtown on Tuesday, erecting barriers around the White House, Mall, Capitol and other parts of the center. People who want to travel inside the perimeter will have to provide proof of the essential purpose in order to be within the first ground.
“This is similar to previous inaugurations – except that the inaugural perimeter will be set up and run for several days,” said Susanna Castillo, a spokeswoman for Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s office.
Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman in Fairfax County, said the agency plans to deploy additional staff at metro stations, which will be the main passageway to the city, and also strengthens the security of court courts and the district government center due to the abundance of attention.
Guglielmi said civil distress units and helicopter and boat crews would be vigilant to support police and the District of Columbia National Guard, and the department was reviewing how to get into the city quickly if roads were blocked.
“You will see the whole region of Northern Virginia [having] much more communication with the DC police, “Guglielmi said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the District of Columbia could be subject to subway stops and stops in the days leading up to the president’s inauguration.
He said the state would double the number of members of the Maryland National Guard from DC to 500 per 1,000. Greg Shipley, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Police, said the agency had a team of specially trained soldiers on standby.
“Discussions are currently underway to secure the country’s capital,” Hogan told a news conference in Annapolis on Tuesday, “not just the immediate area around the Capitol itself, but the entire city.”
Erin Cox, Matt Zapotoski, Dan Morse, Emily Davis and Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.