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attack on the capitol

Capitol Police chief calls for permanent fencing in wake of riot

In the wake of the recent deadly pro-Trump riot, the head of the U.S. Capitol Police is calling for "permanent fencing" at the Capitol.

Yogananda Pittman, acting Capitol Police chief, on Thursday argued "vast" security improvements at the Capitol must be implemented, over three weeks after a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the building.

"In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol," Pittman said.

The riot at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 left five people dead, and it occurred as Congress was meeting to certify President Biden's election win. The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued a terrorism advisory bulletin warning of a "heightened threat environment across the United States," and it expressed concern that extremists may be "emboldened" by the attack on the Capitol.

Pittman's statement on Thursday came after she apologized to lawmakers earlier this week for the security "failings" surrounding the riot, acknowledging Capitol Police "should have been more prepared for this attack" and that "we knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target."

In response to Pittman's statement calling for permanent fencing, CNN's Abby Phillip on Thursday wrote that "one of the great things for D.C. residents and millions of visitors is the public space at and around the Capitol," and "it will be a sad day if that goes away." NBC News' Kasie Hunt also said that "it is worth considering what we stand to symbolically lose by putting up a permanent fence around the People's House," while The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis criticized Pittman's statement, writing, "Our elected representatives do not have to automatically do what the USCP brass demand be done in order to deflect attention from their own massive failings."