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Capitol Hill security increased around chatter about March 4 conspiracies

Information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warns of increased chatter among extremists, including members of...

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 11:54 AM

Information provided by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warns of increased chatter among extremists, including members of the Three Percenters extremist group, discussing possible plots against the Capitol on March 4, a date that conspiracy theorists have focused on, according to sources familiar with the matter.

But even as security is increased, law enforcement says it is not clear the discussion have moved beyond talk among members. One source notes that it is mostly online talk and not necessarily an indication anyone is coming to Washington to act on the discussion. Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett told members in a memo on Monday obtained by CNN that while they are enhancing security out of precaution, "at this time the USCP has no indication that groups will travel to Washington DC to protest or commit acts of violence."

Blodgett wrote they will post additional officers throughout the capitol grounds. He also said that the significance "has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days."

US Capitol Police also tweeted on Monday that it is "aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4" and has taken steps to enhance security.

"The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4th and continues to work with all of our law enforcement partners. Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4. The Department has communicated our enhanced posture as well as the available intelligence for the entire workforce," Capitol Police said in the tweet.

QAnon conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will be inaugurated on March 4, returning him to the presidency. Between 1793 and 1933, inauguration often fell on March 4 or a surrounding date.

Sen. Alex Padilla, a California Democrat, told CNN in response to the FBI and DHS warning that he and his colleagues take the threat "very seriously."

"There's a reason why there's still National Guard servicewomen and men deployed at the capitol at this time, and the fencing and the barrier we see," Padilla said in an interview earlier Wednesday. "It's because of what happened on January 6. We still have yet to hold everybody accountable for what happened on the sixth. And we still haven't made the many changes necessary to secure the Capitol going forward. So this is evolving in very real time. Frankly, this information from DHS may be officially new but not really surprising."

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