Metal fences around Capitol become more frequent, controversial security measure

For the third year in a row, an eight-foot black metal fence surrounds the US Capitol complex during President Joe Biden’s address to Congress. It is set up to surround the site of the National Diet Building.

Fences with signs reading “Area closed by order of the United States Capitol Police Commission” have become increasingly common in the two years since the attacks on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. , became a controversial security measure.

US Capitol building ahead of annual State of the Union address
Security fencing installed outside the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, USA, Monday, February 6, 2023.

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It’s traumatizing our kids and it sends the message that something is wrong with our country and our Capitol,” said Raleigh, who raised children in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Dennis Klepp, a mother of two who is living in the country, said she and other parents are increasingly uncomfortable with the striking image of police fences. “Our kids are seeing this and asking her parents, ‘What happened? Why did you build barricades again?'”

The fencing was ordered by the US Capitol Police Commission, a group of congressional security officials who oversee the Capitol grounds, but no meetings or reports have been made public.

The president’s State of the Union address to Congress is regularly designated by federal homeland security officials as a national special security event, allowing temporary and significant increases in security precautions and personnel. I’m here. In a statement, Capitol Police said, “Because national special security events require a strong security plan, out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police will temporarily We put up a fence in the area,” he said.

Security officials installed the same eight-foot metal fence shortly after the incident. Attack on the Houses of Parliament It reappeared many times in the months that followed, including before the Jan. 6 protests by criminal defendants and former President Donald Trump supporters on Sept. 18, 2021.

A similar fence will also be installed around the US Supreme Court for several weeks in 2022. draft opinion It shows that the court is ready to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling.

File: The U.S. Supreme Court building seen through a temporary security fence in Washington, DC, June 23, 2022.

Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a longtime Democratic representative representing the District of Columbia in the House, told CBS News that she plans to introduce legislation banning permanent fences on the Capitol grounds. .

“The distance between the government and the people is already widening, and trust in government is at historically low levels,” said Holmes Norton. “That distance should not be further cemented by creating intimidating barriers between us as civil servants and those we serve, especially when such barriers are neither effective nor necessary. “

Several federal law enforcement officials told CBS News they were not aware of any specific or credible threats to the Capitol, but the “growing threat environment” that State of the Union addresses routinely attract. It cites the widespread attention that

A US Capitol report shows a significant number of investigations into intimidation of members of Congress. More than 7,000 surveys will be conducted in 2022, and nearly 10,000 surveys will be conducted in 2021. Both represent a dramatic increase in annual totals compared to the 2010s.

Justice Department prosecutors have filed a series of recent criminal cases against those accused of making death threats against members of Congress from both parties. In Maryland, federal prosecutors filed an assassination against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the DC suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland. A man was charged with crossing the country on suspicion of attempting to

Rep. Glenn Ivey, Democrat of Maryland, said, “Non-expandable fencing should not be a metaphor for the United States Congress. “I believe in the Capitol Police and we need first responders and precautions like this,” Ivey said. It is a sad state of affairs and a sign of our times that we need to put up barriers for

Holmes Norton said the fence was affecting neighborhoods and businesses, impeding deliveries and blocking access by first responders. , should be removed as soon as possible.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fencing-capitol-controversial-security-measure/ Metal fences around Capitol become more frequent, controversial security measure

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