Blodgett on March 15 said that parts of the fence that are manned by about 2,500 National Guard troops and backed by dozens of heavy military vehicles will be revised or taken down completely. The Guard contingent also will begin to return to their home bases in coming weeks.
“Working with their federal, state and local intelligence partners, the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) has informed the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) that ‘there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing,’” Blodgett told members of Congress, in a memo obtained by The Epoch Times.
“In light of this information, the USCP, in conjunction with the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) will begin making alterations to the temporary fencing around the Capitol complex. The USCP will continue to monitor the threat posture, should a change occur, plans will be reevaluated,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett said “the new positioning will move the fence closer to the Capitol building and will provide access to the avenues and some of the sidewalks. The AOC will also remove the razor wire on the inner perimeter fence.”
Bike racks will be put in place around each of the three House office buildings, but the inner perimeter fencing around Capitol Square will remain in place.
“During the later portion of the week of March 22nd, the AOC and USCP will begin removing the outer perimeter fencing and opening Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue for traffic,” he said.
The decision to begin taking down the fence and reducing the military presence drew praise from Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), who has been especially vocal in calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to take down the fence, send the Guard home, and reopen the Capitol complex to the public.
“For everyone who wants to reopen the People’s House, this is a step in the right direction,” Budd said in a March 15 statement. “I continue to believe that permanent fencing around the Capitol itself should also be removed and our National Guard troops should be sent home to their families.
“I will continue to monitor this situation until Americans can once again come to our nation’s capital and be free to witness the wonder that is the seat of our representative government.”
Budd and 40 House Republican colleagues told Pelosi in a Feb. 5 letter that “the U.S. Capitol is a symbol of freedom both at home and abroad. It is a place where Americans from all walks of life can visit, learn about, and witness U.S. history. Sadly, because of the fortress-like security in place, this is no longer the case.
“American citizens who wish to visit are not allowed to because only authorized personnel and the military are permitted. The people who call Capitol Hill home live day in and out with fences, military trucks, and military personnel in their backyards, on their way to work, to school, or the grocery store. Enough is enough.
“Of course, we all understood that some increase in security was necessary after the tragic events of January 6, but now there is no valid reason to continue the same level of security measures. It is appalling that Communist China allows their citizens more freedom to visit historical sites like Tiananmen Square than currently exists for Americans who want to visit the Capitol in Washington, D.C.”
Blodgett said the USCP and National Guard will “continue to maintain a presence and an increased security posture. Based on the current threat posture, it is anticipated that the National Guard will begin to reduce its posture at the Capitol in the coming weeks. Again, the USCP will continue to monitor the threat posture, should a change occur, plans will be reevaluated.”
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc