Strict security measures will be in place across Washington, DC prior to Joe Biden's inauguration, including the drafting of at least 10,000 National Guard troops, new anti-climbing fences around the Capitol and White House, and the closing of national monuments.
The increased security measures are now being implemented ahead of schedule following the deadly attack by violent Trump-supporting rioters on the U.S. Capitol last week.
It comes as Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in DC and authorities revealed three separate plans to attack the Capitol prior to inauguration, including what has been dubbed "the largest armed protest in American history."
Officials promise extremely tight security measures across the capital region, some of which are already in place. The increased security will include increased law enforcement, additional checkpoints, fences and barricades across the city.
The public is now prohibited from entering the Capitol grounds and the inauguration will only be possible with a ticket. Anti-climbing fences have now also been installed around the Capitol building.
Access to the Washington Monument is also banned for the next two weeks due to ongoing threats. Security fences were also erected in front of the Lincoln Memorial Monday.
Public access to streets, parking lots and toilets in the National Mall, which is usually home to many supporters gathering during the inaugurations, may be closed this week if deemed necessary.
Strict security measures will be in place across Washington DC ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration, including the drafting of at least 10,000 National Guard troops, new anti-climbing fences around the Capitol and the White House, and the closing of national monuments
It is not yet clear which road closures will be put in place or how far from the Capitol checkpoints. Authorities have not yet confirmed how closely the public can actually attend the official event, despite being urged to stay away in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the event should already be scaled back in the next week due to COVID-19, authorities say Biden's inauguration will look drastically different from the previous ones due to the increased security.
The National Guard was authorized to send up to 15,000 soldiers to Washington to protect the capital.
At least 10,000 of these troops will be deployed by Saturday, with the remaining 5,000 on standby.
After the MAGA mob violence last week, 6,200 soldiers are already on site in DC.
There are still plans for a large public art exhibit spanning several blocks of the National Mall, displaying 191,500 U.S. flags and 56 pillars of light. The display is intended to symbolize every US state and territory as well as "the American people who cannot travel" in the capital to celebrate in the face of COVID restrictions.
The inauguration takes place at the same location in the U.S. Capitol where the violent MAGA mob rioters overran law enforcement and stormed the federal building last week.
The responsible special agent of the US secret service, Michael Plati, who heads the inauguration security, insists that such security breaches will not occur at the inauguration on January 20th.
Some of the increased security will be evident: officers in uniforms, checkpoints, metal detectors, and fences.
But he says some won't be that obvious.
US CAPITOL: The public is now prohibited from entering the Capitol grounds, and the inauguration will only be possible with a ticket. Members of the National Guard stand in an anti-scaling fence that now surrounds the Capitol
NATIONAL GUARD: The National Guard has been authorized to send up to 15,000 soldiers to Washington to protect the capital. At least 10,000 of these troops will be deployed by Saturday, with the remaining 5,000 on standby. After the MAGA mob violence last week, 6,200 soldiers are already on site in DC
While law enforcement never goes too far into security, it fails to alert potential attackers, Plati said they had considered the siege.
"It's a poignant reminder of what can happen."
Plati said last week's siege of the Capitol and the inauguration are not even comparable from a security standpoint.
The inauguration is known as a "National Security Special Event," which paves the way for communication, funding, and preparation among multiple Washington agencies such as the Capitol Police, Pentagon, Homeland Security, and district police.
Other such events are the State of the Union, the Super Bowl, and the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
The violent siege of the rally last week was viewed as free speech in the days before, despite multiple warnings about the potential for violence by right-wing extremist groups.
Cheered on by Trump, the violent mob marched from the White House to the Capitol, where they occupied the building for hours to prevent lawmakers from confirming Biden's victory.
One of the main problems last week was the lack of coordination from multiple agencies in the district, which will not be the case this time around as these agencies have been approved to work together for months, Plati said.
"We will have adequate resources, personnel and plans," he said.
Plati said the event is planned over a year with contingencies and they anticipate the possibility of extreme violence.
"There are a variety of methods to ensure that we have a safe, seamless and secure environment for our beneficiaries, but especially for the general public," said Plati.
WASHINGTON MONUMENT: Access to the Washington Monument will also be banned for the next two weeks due to ongoing threats. National parks police patrolled the memorial on Monday
LINCOLN MEMORIAL: A security fence was installed around the Lincoln Memorial the Monday before the inauguration
WHITE HOUSE: After the MAGA mob riots, additional security fences were installed around the White House
After Biden's official inauguration, he, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
You will be accompanied there by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their wives.
Plati said they are ready for the group to move to Arlington – and that there is a chance that threats could shift with them.
The Department of Homeland Security is launching earlier inauguration security measures ahead of schedule and is leading an "evolving security landscape" leading up to the event.
DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said Monday, hours before he announced his resignation, that he had postponed the time of the national special security event for Biden's inauguration to Wednesday instead of January 19.
He cited "last week's events" along with an evolving security landscape.
Acting police chief of the US Capitol, Yogananda Pittman, said in a statement Monday that officials have "comprehensive, coordinated plans" to ensure security.
It comes after Pittman told House Democrats that authorities are considering three more plans to attack the Capitol, including what has been described as "the largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil."
Most worrying are said to be armed rioters circling the Capitol and preventing the Democrats from stepping in – and possibly killing them – so that Republicans can take command of the government.
Another protest is planned in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the USAF veteran who was shot and killed at close range by a police officer while trying to climb into the speaker's lobby during the siege of the Trump mob.
An internal FBI memo warned of a group calling for the "storming" of state, local and federal government buildings and courthouses if Trump is removed from office.