Capitol police step up security fearing terror attack in next six weeks
An increased threat of another al Qaeda attack between now and Sep. 11 of this year has caused Capitol Police officials to step up security on Capitol Hill, Roll Call reported.
An unnamed Capitol Police source told Roll Call that Congressional security officials were recently made aware of the potential threat by federal anti-terrorism authorities.
“Given the world situation and recently released snippet from al-Qaida threatening to attack Washington, we’re just being a tad more vigilant if that’s possible,” Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer told the Capitol Hill newspaper. “Although, if you’re ready for a four-alarm fire at any time, it’s hard to be more vigilant.”
Gainer, who chairs the Capitol Police Board, said he noticed an increased police presence on the Hill, but he would not disclose to the newspaper any specific threats or dates.
Excerpts from Roll Call:
When asked about the significance of the approaching sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, Gainer, the former chief of the Capitol Police, said, “The interesting thing with any dates is that analysts tell us that Americans tend to be much more oriented toward anniversaries and the jihadists seem to be less so. I’ve seen over the years where we concentrate on dates and the analysts say, ‘Don’t get wrapped up in dates because our terrorist jihadist enemies bide their time.’”
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), who helps oversee Capitol campus issues as ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, would only say Thursday that “the leaders of the committees of jurisdiction have been briefed on threats to the Capitol.”
Without mentioning a specific threat to the Capitol, Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) ominously advised Thursday that Congress needed to pass changes to terrorist surveillance laws before leaving for the August recess and warned that otherwise “the disaster could be on our doorstep.”
When asked if people should leave Washington, D.C., during the month of August, Lott responded, “I think it would be good to leave town in August, and it would probably be good to stay out until September the 12th.”
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