Jan 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

D.C. lockdown for inauguration to start Wednesday

Mike Allen
National Guard member stage on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In an escalation of inauguration security following the Capitol riot, federal authorities plan to lock down a massive swath of downtown Washington on Wednesday, six days earlier than originally planned.

Why it matters: The earlier shutdown is based on warnings about pre-inauguration demonstrations planned for this weekend in capitals throughout the country, as well as tighter security after the Capitol siege. 

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced that the window for the National Special Security Event, which will involve tens of thousands of National Guard troops and federal law enforcement personnel, will begin Jan. 13, rather than the previously scheduled Jan, 19, the day before the inauguration.
  • During the expanded security period, many businesses around the Capitol and White House will be inaccessible. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the change was in light of "events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray."

  • Other National Security Special Events, which make the Secret Service the lead agency, include the Super Bowl and the national political conventions.

The bottom line: The change comes amid a massive tightening of security in D.C., including today's temporary closure of the Washington Monument in response to threats to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

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