Federal security measures expand ahead of Jan. 20
UPDATED 7:28 PM PT – Sunday, January 17, 2021
Unprecedented amounts of preparation have been going into protecting state Capitols and federal buildings just days before the inauguration.
On Saturday, the Bureau of Prisons announced it would secure all institutions “in light of current events” happening around the country. The move will limit inmates’ access to telephone and email.
Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service temporarily suspended mail collection from box sites in several major cities, with dozens of boxes being moved for the week to protect mail and citizens.
This came after the FBI announced they had information indicating that armed protests were being planned at all 50 state Capitols and the U.S. Capitol on January 20.
“All 50 state FBI JTTFs in the four territories are working 24 hours a day to pursue every lead, every credible threat and run that to ground,” Special Agent in Charge at the U.S. Secret Service Matthew Miller said.
The House Oversight Committee sent out a letter to dozens of companies in the area, warning them of possible unrest.
On Friday, budget travel company Megabus cancelled trips to D.C. for inauguration day amid threats of domestic terrorism.
https://t.co/lWUFBOiKOE has canceled all service in and out of Washington, DC from 11:59pm on Friday, January 15th to 11:59pm on Thursday, January 21st. These cancellations are due to restriction in the Washington, DC area over the coming week.
— megabus.com (@megabus) January 15, 2021
Further, hospitality provider Airbnb cancelled all reservations in the Washington D.C. area scheduled for that week.
UPDATE: In response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are cancelling reservations and preventing new reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during Inauguration week. https://t.co/TwadjkJ98p
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) January 13, 2021
News organizations, including the National Association of Broadcasters, are demanding transparency around inauguration day intelligence. In a letter to Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, broadcast organizations urged law enforcement officials to provide information to members of the press.
News Organizations Request Greater Transparency From Federal Agencies on Capitol Riot, Ongoing Threats https://t.co/LqMiOuCtVB
— NAB Newsroom (@NABNewsroom) January 14, 2021
The letter also cited social media posts on potential protest organizing sites have labeled reporters as “soft targets.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said these security measures are short-term for now, but officials will have to ensure the public feels safe even after protests are over.
“We do not expect to have visiting National Guard throughout the city for weeks to come,” Bowser stated. “No, we don’t expect that. But I do think that we have to replace that sense of security in other ways.”
Small demonstrations will be permitted in designated areas.