J Michael Waller / Center for Security Policy / March 12, 2021 – The militarized presence around the US Capitol is “not warranted” any more due to lack of a credible threat, the chairman and ranking member of the House Armed Security Committee said in a joint statement.
Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mike Rogers (R-AL) say they are “deeply troubled” by the continued military presence and security perimeter.
The bipartisan pair echo what Center for Security Policy analysts have been saying for weeks: The security level around the Capitol is not necessary and there is no credible threat to warrant its presence. The Smith-Rogers statement on March 11 said:
“We are deeply troubled by the current level of security around the United States Capitol. More than two months after the January 6 attack, the seat of our nation’s democracy remains heavily protected by guardsmen and surrounded by a perimeter fence.
“As the U.S. Capitol Police continues to build its personnel capacity, there is no doubt that some level of support from the National Guard should remain in the National Capital Region to respond to credible threats against the Capitol.
“However, the present security posture is not warranted at this time.”
House Armed Services chiefs confirm what we said since January 14
The House Armed Services Committee leaders’ bipartisan assessment follows similar assessments from the Center analyst who, though without access to privileged information, saw the situation firsthand since the “Green Zone” fencing went up. This writer said:
- January 14: “… the threat level appears low. They [National Guard] carry standard-issue pistols, but almost none of the M4s contain mags.” (A later check found that this was an understatement: None of the National Guard soldiers had loaded M4s.)
- January 17: “I talked to some of the soldiers and they said that the threat level is so low that they don’t need mags.“
- January 21: “Some of the security people inside the Green Zone of Washington DC tell me that the threat level remains low & they don’t even know why they’ve been assigned to remain after the inaugural. They’re laughing in exasperation at the ‘security’ situation.“
- January 21: “Today I was told by members of various police and guard units, who will remain unidentified in order to avoid another witch-hunt, that the threat level is considered very low. Two agreed that it’s more of a PSYOP than anything else.”
- January 24: “… I think it’s driven by the Biden team’s own insecurity after having embraced leftwing violent extremists during the campaign; and a public intimidation measure. The National Guard soldiers I talked to in the DC #GreenZone likened it to PSYOP and ‘BS.’“
- January 25: “Political presence: National Guard in Capitol Hill section of #GreenZone is sharply reduced but razor-topped fences remain. Supreme Court guards have stepped back and reopened traffic in neighboring #RedZone.“
- January 26: “Since the National Guard first came into Washington DC, I asked soldiers from different states what the mission was. They knew little. I asked what the threat level was. All agreed it was close to zero. When I suggested that it looked like a PSYOP against the public, most agreed.“
- February 13: “It’s a crime to have all those National Guard soldiers standing in freezing weather on fake guard duty around the US Capitol. We know that the threat level is practically zero because they carry no ammunition in their M4’s and pistols.“
- February 19: “Last night at about 1:00 AM, I checked the #GreenZone ‘security’ perimeter on the Senate side of the US Capitol and saw NO National Guard personnel on duty. This would not happen if there was a real threat.”
- February 19: “Locals on Capitol Hill know that the #GreenZone fencing is fake political theater, and they’re getting sick of it. Keep in mind that they almost certainly voted for BidenHarris.”
- February 21: “National Guard are only in pairs to man barricaded entrances and exits to the Capitol complex, like any rent-a-cop could do, but with unloaded M4’s. They’re not even acting like they’re on alert. It’s all for show to keep the public away.“
- February 21: “It’s just a PSYOP against the public now. The threat level is practically zero.“
- February 24: “Quiet afternoon on Schumer’s [Senate] side of Capitol Hill. The threat level is so low that there are fewer daytime National Guard than before, and only half of them are armed with M4’s, all of which are unloaded.”
- March 4: “Just walked to the Green Zone fence that protects #Schumerstan from QAnon. No visible heightened state of alert from previous days. National Guard troops continue to carry unloaded weapons. I would be surprised if any new threat level is truly intelligence-based.“
- March 4: “#Schumerstan is now a paranoid Green Zone of fences, razor wire, bored soldiers, banks of contractor vehicles, and portable latrines.“
- March 10: “So, is there any specific intelligence yet on threats to the US Capitol or to federal lawmakers? I talked to several Members of Congress who have asked. They were told that there are no such threats.“
The next day, March 11, the House Armed Services Committee leaders issued the news release confirming that “the present security posture is not warranted at this time.”
HASC leaders concerned that National Guard is overextended
“In addition, we cannot ignore the financial costs associated with this prolonged deployment, nor can we turn a blind eye to the effects it will have on the National Guard’s overall readiness,” Smith and Rogers said. “We appreciate our guardsmen answering the call to protect the Capitol, but it’s time for us to review what level of security is required, so they can return home to their families and businesses.”