(CNN) –– More than 20,000 members of the National Guard could be in the nation’s capital to help secure the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Washington City Police Chief Robert Contee reported Wednesday. This, while sources indicate to CNN that officials consider broadcasting the level of terrorist threat.
Contee’s announcement occurs the same day the Secret Service officially took over the security for Biden’s inauguration, as authorities warn of new threats across the country. And a massive security presence is deployed in Washington, following last week’s violence on Capitol Hill.
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There are already significantly more American soldiers deployed to the Capitol than in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. An impressive statistic that underscores just how massive the current security presence is.
The physical security perimeter around the Capitol and other key buildings also continues to expand. The street closures and steel barriers extend many blocks from the Capitol. Street closures are also being installed beyond the White House and the National Naval Observatory, where the vice president lives.
The Secret Service leads the overall security effort, working in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies and the Pentagon. Several senior defense officials told CNN there is a large interagency meeting on “requirements” on Wednesday. As indicated, it will be to discuss in depth the security requirements.
Asked if he had ever seen so much support from the security forces in Washington City, Chief Contee replied, “Not at this level, no.” The newly appointed Contee is a veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department and a longtime resident of the City of Washington.
For their part, several defense officials told CNN that the total request to the National Guard is around 30,000 soldiers to support the Capitol Police, the Park Police and the Metropolitan Police Department of the city of Washington. However, officials believe that the number actually needed is closer to 20,000. The final figure will be provided by the Secret Service.
In addition, the officials added that there are no concerns about a shortage of National Guard forces to meet the requirements of all 50 states and the city of Washington.
Officials Consider Issuing Domestic Terrorist Threat Level Ahead of Biden Possession
There are ongoing discussions about issuing the terrorist threat level, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. Although a source warned that no changes are expected for now.
The National Terrorism Alert System replaced the color-coded alerts from the National Security Alert System. And it depends on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, for its acronym in English). Warnings are issued in the event of an imminent or elevated threat to the public.
One of the officials said that the discussions began after last week’s insurrection. He also noted that they were based on information that a similar attack by “armed militias” could occur on Capitol Hill or elsewhere.
The latest advisory issued stemmed from a terrorist threat to the US related to Iran last January. The measure has already expired. According to the DHS website, decisions to issue an advisory and how it is done are based on “intelligence and risk assessments to the public and critical infrastructure.”
DHS did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Concern about the potential for attacks
The Secret Service is leading the security planning efforts for the inauguration. Precisely because there is growing concern among security officials that the success of violent mobs in breaking into the Capitol has increased the potential for attacks. The above, because people can be emboldened to carry out violent acts.
“The chatter is out of control at the moment,” said an official.
CNN reported Tuesday that thousands of armed pro-Trump extremists conspire to surround the Capitol before Biden’s inauguration. This, according to a member of Congress who was among those attending a briefing on Monday night.
But the Secret Service is prepared to secure the inauguration, DHS second-in-command Ken Cuccinelli told CNN. Although, the official acknowledged that “problematic individuals” always appear.
“There are always troublesome individuals who speak up before an inauguration. And there are always some who show up, ”Cuccinelli said, when asked about the threats to the event. Cuccinelli, a senior DHS official, serves as an assistant secretary. He also said that the Secret Service is preparing for the possibility of a security problem greater than the events of January 6. However, he added that the agency is “fully prepared to deal with it.”
Several officials told CNN that there is a good feeling that things are organized and in place because the Secret Service is in charge. And one official simply said, “They don’t waste time.”
Cuccinelli, who has been the department’s public face on security issues since the Capitol attack, said the biggest change in security preparations has been to bring forward the start date of the National Special Security Event (NSSE) by six days. acronym in English). This, before the official designation that will be on Wednesday morning.
An NSSE incorporates the full force of the federal government and its resources, and puts the Secret Service as the leader of security operations.
Security measures even include parking spaces.
The mayor of the city of Washington, Muriel Bowser, said that public parking lots in downtown areas and near the Capitol will be closed starting at 6:00 a.m. local time, from this Friday until the inauguration. Any cars left at those locations will be inaccessible until after the event.
CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Vivian Salama, Alison Main, Nicky Robertson and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.