Yogananda Pittman, acting U.S. Capitol Police chief, informed House lawmakers Thursday that militia groups involved in the Capitol insurrection early last month have threatened to “blow up the Capitol” when President Joe Biden delivers his speech to a joint session of Congress, CNN reports.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union, which we know that date has not been identified,” Pittman said to a panel featuring members of the House tasked with overseeing funding for the Capitol Police.
Pittman mentioned that the militias’ intent goes beyond attacking political figures, claiming they want to “send a symbolic message to the nation as to who is in charge of that legislative process.”
Pittman was also questioned about a report received on Jan. 5 about militia groups who were targeting Congress and “preparing for war.” She classified these findings as “raw” information that matched up with what they were already aware of, adding that the report didn’t necessitate any alterations to how they were preparing for such a threat ahead of the riot.
On the day of the riot, at least 10,000 people were outside the Capitol, and around 800 people entered the Capitol.
Pittman declined to get into specifics about how long fencing around the Capitol will remain erected, or when the number of National Guard troops stationed in Washington D.C. will be reduced. While Pittman said they are working on a “scaled down approach,” she conceded that the fencing will not be removed until they can be reassured that the infrastructure vulnerabilities that were exposed on Jan. 6 are properly addressed.
There are currently 35 Capitol Police officers are under investigation in connection to the riot, six of which have been suspended without pay.