Capitol Police beef up lawmaker travel security amid domestic terror warning
By BENJAMIN SIEGEL and LUKE BARR, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Capitol Police have created a new portal for members of Congress looking to beef up security for their travel to and from Washington, according to a memo sent to lawmakers and obtained by ABC News.
Capitol Police will be stationed at airports around the Washington, D.C., and at the railroad terminal at Union Station near the Capitol to provide security on days with increased member travel.
“They will be in place to monitor as Members move throughout the airport,” Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett wrote.
The House sergeant at arms also is encouraging lawmakers to establish closer relationships with local airport police and Transportation Security Administration officials in their districts and to inform them of travel plans and any threats.
The memo also says that they urge members to “remain cautious and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities.”
This week, the Department of Homeland Security used a federal system designed to warn all Americans about terrorist threats to the U.S. homeland, issued a warning that anger “fueled by false narratives,” especially unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election, could lead some inside the country to launch attacks in the coming weeks.
“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” according to a bulletin issued Wednesday through the DHS National Terrorist Advisory System — or NTAS.
The system was last used to issue a public warning a year ago, when DHS issued a bulletin over potential retaliation by Iran for the U.S. assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq days earlier. A year before that, DHS issued a bulletin through the same system to highlight the threat from foreign terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaida.
But over the past year, domestic terrorists “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force have plotted and on occasion carried out attacks against government facilities,” and “long-standing racial and ethnic tension — including opposition to immigration — has driven [domestic terrorist] attacks,” the bulletin issued Wednesday said.
The FBI announced at a news conference that it has 400 suspects and have made 135 arrests in the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6.
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