The outer perimeter fence that was installed to protect the Capitol complex after the Jan. 6 attack on Congress has been removed, the Capitol Police announced Wednesday.
“All of the fencing that surrounded the outer perimeter of the U.S. Capitol Complex has been removed,” the Capitol Police said in a statement. “Affected roads have reopened. The USCP is ready to quickly ramp up security at a moment’s notice, if needed.”
The notice comes after a March 19 email from acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett in which he said the outer fence would be removed that coming weekend. The Capitol Police told Blodgett “there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.”
Razor wire had already been removed from both fences and bike racks constituting a barrier have been positioned around the office buildings and the Supreme Court.
An inner fence surrounding the Capitol building remains as the Architect of the Capitol makes security repairs to the structure and the Capitol Police force works to strengthen its security posture.
The notion of a permanent fence has troubled a bipartisan contingent of members and people from the surrounding community who said it would restrict access to the public to engage with their elected representatives.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré and his task force recommended a mobile fencing option that can be easily put up and taken down. For the long term, they suggest “an integrated, retractable fencing system in the long term to secure both the Capitol Building and Congressional office buildings.”
Congressional staffers are pleased to see the outer fence is down.
“It’s a symbol of democracy,” one House staffer said. “I don’t think constituents want to have to go through layers of fencing just to talk to their members of Congress.”
The recession of the outer fence will make the grounds easier to access for members and staff.
“Glad to see the fence down as reportedly there are no credible threats at this time,” another House aide said. “My concern is that there’s the necessary resources and cooperation between Capitol Police, MPD, and National Guard for the future.”