Law enforcement officials and lawmakers are becoming increasingly concerned about two approaching dates that could spark emotional activity in the nation's capital, CNN reported.
The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will occur seven days before a scheduled rally in support of jailed participants from the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, CNN reported Friday.
A recent bomb scare — that ended without incident — near the complex involving a man critical of Democrats has added to the growing fear among officials, CNN said.
With a "Justice for J6" rally planned for the Capitol grounds, "serious discussions" have been held about reinstalling the temporary fencing around the building’s perimeter, according to multiple CNN sources.
Republicans are pushing back against the fencing, saying it's not the best way to protect the Capitol.
"This fence is not a quick reaction tool," Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., ranking member on the House Administration Committee, told CNN. "It takes days to assemble and remove, costs taxpayers millions, requires additional [Capitol Police] resources that are already strained and makes campus access more difficult for staff.
"Democrats should stop playing political games with the select committee and start working with us to implement permanent solutions we know are needed to secure the Capitol."
It's unclear how many people will attend the Sept. 18 event, organized by an ex-campaign staffer for former President Donald Trump. A memo sent to members of the Capitol Police said that around 300 people have told event organizers they might attend.
With the rally being held on a Saturday, the House will be in recess and few lawmakers or staff are expected to be around.
"I'm not sure I'll be able to make [the rally], but we know that there were people that were arrested for January 6 activities, and they have been so badly mistreated," Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, said, CNN reported. "So we haven't given up."
A law enforcement source told CNN the Metropolitan Police Department will be fully activated, which includes canceling days off for sworn officers and putting Civil Disturbance Units on standby.
Open-source information — such as online chatter and travel bookings — will be monitored to gauge the potential crowds, the CNN source said.
Some lawmakers are concerned that the current political climate could lead to more violence.
"You don't get an insurrection on January 6 and all threats of violence go away. In fact, the fear is that future planning will produce other violent acts," Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Penn., told CNN.
"I'm most concerned for my staff ... and I also worry for the Capitol Police. They are strained, they have been heroic and they saved all of our lives at great peril to themselves."
A law enforcement source told CNN that some individuals with underlying behavioral health issues who spend too much time on the internet may be susceptible to disinformation narratives.
Another incident in Washington, D.C., earlier this year involved a man ramming a car into a police barricade, killing one officer and injuring another.
Some lawmakers are worried about events commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks following the Biden administration's disastrous exit from Afghanistan and the deadly attack on the Kabul airport.
"It's a scary week," said one former intelligence officer. "It's a week from hell for [law enforcement] and for the intelligence community."
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