THE US CAPITOL complex is on lockdown, with no entry or exit allowed due to an external security threat and people inside being forced to shelter in place, according to a reports.
The lockdown comes just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and follows the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden’s election victory.
— Politicalite (@politicalite) January 18, 2021
BBC News reported: “Eyewitnesses reported smoke near the Capitol. The Washington DC fire service said it had responded to a fire nearby which was now extinguished.”
US DEFENCE officials said they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.
The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.
And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches.
So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting had not flagged any issues that they were aware of.