Capitol Police Bolster Security For March 4 Amid Concerns About QAnon Conspiracy Theory

A man wearing a QAnon sweatshirt faces US Capitol police officers as they try to stop supporters of President Donald Trump from entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
|
March 3, 2021 8:12 a.m.

The United States Capitol Police is bolstering security on Capitol Hill this week due to “concerning information and intelligence” related to March 4, the date that some followers of QAnon conspiracy theorists believe former President Donald Trump will return to power.

“The Department is aware of concerning information and intelligence pertaining March 4th and continues to work with all of our law enforcement partners,” the federal law enforcement agency said in a statement Tuesday night, first reported by ABC News.

“Based on the intelligence that we have, the Department has taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4th,” the statement said. “The Department has communicated our enhanced posture as well as the available intelligence for the entire workforce.” 

In a Wednesday morning press release that provided additional detail to its initial statement, Capitol Police said it had “obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group” on Thursday.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Some adherents to QAnon theories had previously designated March 4 as Trump’s supposed return to power after a theory that suggested that Trump would not actually leave office on Inauguration Day but would instead declare martial law and stop Joe Biden from becoming president didn’t happen.

QAnon followers have bought into false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump, who has pushed those falsehoods and even elevated promoters of the theories.

Some followers of the theories were among the pro-Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, prompting a wave of fear and calls for increased security measures for lawmakers in and around the Capitol complex.

The announcement of the reinforced security comes as FBI director Chris Wray testified in a Senate hearing on Tuesday that domestic violent extremism is “metastasizing” in the United States, adding that there was no evidence that antifa — a loose-knit antifascist movement and a boogeyman for the right — was behind the Capitol siege. 

The FBI first labeled QAnon and its community of supporters as a “dangerous extremist group” in August 2019.

A number of individuals believed to be QAnon followers have been charged for their alleged involvement in the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6, when Trump supporters overwhelmed law enforcement and stormed the Capitol. 

Defense Department officials are expected to testify during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, addressing criticisms about how the Pentagon handled the Capitol riot. Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified Wednesday to a House Appropriations Subcommittee.

When asked about the March 4 threat during the subcommittee meeting, Pittman would not elaborate on the department statement, but reiterated that Capitol Police were prepared to handle any potential threats after receiving the concerning intelligence.

The former Capitol Police chief, as well as the former House and Senate Sergeant at Arms, who each resigned following the riot, accused law enforcement agencies of providing insufficient intelligence while blaming the Defense Department for a sluggish response to their requests for National Guard support.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: