Homeland Security: No Known 'Threats' Ahead of Capitol Hill Anniversary

Homeland Security: No Known 'Threats' Ahead of Capitol Hill Anniversary
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 16, 2021. (Jacquelyn Martin, File/AP Photo)
U.S. Homeland Security's top official told reporters on Jan. 4 that the department was "not aware of any specific, credible threats at this point related to Jan. 6, 2022," one year after protesters breached the Capitol building.

"But at the same time we are operating at a heightened level of vigilance because we are at a heightened level of threat. The threat of domestic violent extremists is very grave," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters in a conference call obtained by USA Today.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters on Tuesday that while the Capitol Police are aware of several events planned for Thursday, there is "no intelligence that indicates there would be any problems."

Manger also indicated that there were "over 8,000" threats last year, up from 4,000–5,000 a few years prior, in the form of phone calls, emails, and social media messages.

In a bill passed in July 2021, Congress allocated $300 million to upgrade security measures at Capitol Hill. The $300 million budget was "merely focused on windows and cameras" according to Capitol Architect Brett Blanton.

Under a separate budget, damaged windows from the Capitol Hill breach have been repaired, while door reinforcements have been put in place along with security lighting upgrades and electrical systems for surveillance detection, Blanton stated.

The Capitol Police recently came under fire for "critical deficiencies with operational planning, intelligence, staffing, and equipment," according to Manger's Jan. 5 testimony (pdf) before the Senate.

Of the 103 recommendations issued by the inspector general, Capitol Police has "implemented and/or addressed over 90 of them," the testimony continued.

Based on recommendations from the Committee on Rules and Administration, Capitol Police will be implementing additional training and communication enhancements, among other measures.

While Democratic lawmakers have pushed the narrative that the Jan. 6 breach was an “insurrection” led by former President Donald Trump supporters, Trump himself, via lawyers, has denied that he incited violence. During a Jan. 6, 2021 speech, he called on demonstrators to “peacefully and patriotically make [their] voices heard.”

The former president has cancelled his press conference at Mar-a-Lago previously scheduled on Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the Capitol Hill incident.

“In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona—It will be a big crowd!” he said in a statement.