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Capitol Police ask that National Guard stay for another 60 days



(WASHINGTON) — Two U.S. officials confirmed Thursday that the Capitol Police have requested a 60-day extension for the National Guard presence at the Capitol.

One official said the request is being reviewed.

The request came as the Capitol was on high alert after threats of another possible attack plot tied to March 4.

There are currently more than 5,000 National Guard members still in the city from a peak of 25,000 present for security at the Jan. 20 inauguration.

The scheduled end of the current mission for the remaining troops is March 12.

The need for the National Guard presence — armed behind high fences topped with razor wire — has become a focus of debate over how much security is needed around the Capitol going forward.

Michigan Democratic Rep. Elaine Slotkin put out a statement Thursday morning raising questions about how that’s being determined.

“No one likes seeing the fortress-like security around the Capitol. And no one wants to again have a security problem in and around this symbolic place. But whether an extension has been requested or the mission is indeed terminating on March 12, it’s critical that members of Congress get a briefing on what’s behind these decisions,” she said.

“We all have the same goal: to get back to the point where Capitol Police is capable of protecting us without the Guard’s help, and all parties feel confident we can protect the people’s business,” she said.

Asked about whether the National Guard needs to remain at the Capitol for two more months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that “decisions about security are made by the security leadership here, and we’ll see what that ask is.”

“We should have them here as long as they are needed, and the silliness of this being Inauguration Day … falls into the realm of let’s not waste our time on it,” she said. “We have to have what we need, and when we need it, and in the numbers we need it. But that’s a security decision.”

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