There’s still a lot being unpacked regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, and it doesn’t help that white supremacist militia groups are apparently planning another attack in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow. That’s according to a release issued by the U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday, saying the department has received intelligence that a militia group is potentially plotting to breach the Capitol on Thursday, March 4.
“The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the statement reads. “We are taking the intelligence seriously.”
That’s encouraging—given the last time Capitol Police received intelligence that white supremacists where planning to wage war on the federal building, they did not act on it because it was ‘just’ raw information.
Like before, the intelligence about a potential attack on March 4 comes from the FBI, according to ABC News.
From ABC News:
An internal U.S. Capitol Police bulletin distributed Tuesday contains information about a possible militia plot to storm the Capitol on or around March 4, sources told ABC News.
The information in the bulletin is sourced to an FBI intelligence report from late February that describes the an alleged plot by the “Three Percenters militia group to use diversionary tactics such as detonating a bomb” to draw law enforcement away from the Capitol prior to an attempt by the group to take over the U.S. Capitol, according to a law enforcement source.
The credibility of the information in the bulletin remains unclear.
The bulletin describes the Three Percenters’ alleged goal of having 50,000 members from around the country travel to D.C. on our around March 4 through March 6 and participate in a plan to overrun law enforcement and the National Guard troops at or near the Capitol Complex, the source said.
Meanwhile, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, testified at a hearing of the Senate Homeland and Rules committees on Wednesday that it took over three hours for the Pentagon to approve the request for the National Guard to respond to insurrection on Jan. 6.
His testimony backs up previous statements made by former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who told members of Congress last week that he sought army support as Trump supporters overtook law enforcement guarding the Capitol.
According to NPR, Walker said Sund called him at 1:49 p.m. and, “His voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many guardsmen as I could muster.”
What’s especially interesting (or suspicious, though your view may vary) is the general’s testimony that, before Jan. 5, he was not limited from deploying the troops under his command. The new stipulation was put in place right before Trump supporters’ well-publicized plans to descend on Washington, D.C.
The Army major general testified that the day before the insurrection, he received a letter with the “unusual” restriction from deploying any Quick Reaction Force service members, unless granted explicit approval by then-Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
“I found that requirement to be unusual, as was the requirement to seek approval to move guardsmen supporting the Metropolitan Police Department to move from one traffic control point to another,” Walker said.
Walker said that Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt and Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn were concerned about optics of sending the National Guard to the scene of the uprising. He told the senators that there were concerns that the presence of uniformed troops might “inflame” the protesters.
Yes, Charles Flynn—the brother of Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor who Trump pardoned for his crime of lying to the FBI—was instrumental in the decision to keep the National Guard from being in place to protect the Capitol before a mob was able to take over and cause the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
Talk about suspicious–again, my words. Walker actually said he was “stunned” by the restriction.
When it came to the day when the MAGA troops’ much-trumpeted violence became a horrifying reality, Walker said it took 3 hours and 19 minutes for him to get approval from then-acting secretary of the army, Christopher Miller, to allow the National Guard to supplement the officers at the Capitol who were quickly overwhelmed by the crowd.
Acting assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, Robert Salesses testified that Miller gave the order to mobilize the National Guard at 3:04 p.m., and approval for them to go to the Capitol came at 4:32 p.m.
According to Walker, he had 155 guardsmen sitting with their gear on buses nearby so they could quickly get to the Capitol when the approval finally came down. Within 20 minutes of hearing back from the Department of Defense, at 5 p.m., Walker said he was able to deploy the guardsmen who ultimately helped clear out the Capitol so Congress could return that night to vote on the certification of President Biden’s election win.
He said their assistance could have helped in pushing back the crowd who broke through the security perimeter earlier in the day, and that there was no similar limitation or delay for deploying National Guard troops during protests in D.C. last summer over the killing of George Floyd.