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Senior Pentagon official says 'not aware' of any threats in DC as National Guard prepares to stand down

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A top U.S. security official said  Wednesday that he is not aware of any threats to Washington D.C., even as thousands of National Guard troops remain deployed there.

“We obviously work with our law enforcement partners to determine that threat. That’s obviously continuing to evolve,” acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense & Global Security Robert Salesses told the House’s Armed Services Committee Wednesday.

“At this time, I’m not aware of a threat that is out there,” he added.

Roughly 6,000 troops remain in the U.S. capital following the deployment of 25,000 guardsmen, who were rushed to D.C. after the Jan. 6 breech of the Capitol building by Trump supporters.

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Salesses’ assurances echoed what Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said earlier this week, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, “Things are safe and secure right now.”

But some lawmakers remain concerned about online chatter from pro-Trump conspiracy theorists who could potentially attempt another uprising.

National Guard were scheduled remain in D.C. until mid-March following concerns of additional “civil unrest” during the Senate impeachment trial.

Some QAnon supporters have also suggested an event could take place on the fourth of March, in honor of the original Inauguration Day – a threat further validated by the fact that the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. has spiked its rates on March third and fourth.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., told the committee he personally reviewed security threats facing the Capitol and agreed with the Pentagon officials that the threat remains low.  

But he added that if lawmakers would like to assist in getting National Guardsmen back home and restoring a more normal environment at the Capitol, they should condemn any and all threats of another attack on March 4.

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“If you want to help, tell them not to do that, tell them that Joe Biden won the election. It was a free and fair election, and let’s get back to work,” he told the committee.

The number of guardsmen will continue to be reduced until March 12, when they are expected to leave their posts at the Capitol, though several thousand D.C. Guard could stay to assist with the District’s coronavirus response.

Lawmakers also questioned the need for troops to remain in D.C. instead of assisting other states with vaccine distribution and natural disaster responses, particularly in Florida, Texas, and California.

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Washington D.C. has 3,000 National Guard forces permanently stationed in the nation’s capital.

Fox News could not immediately reach the National Guard to confirm how many troops are in Washington exclusively for coronavirus relief at this time, or if the District’s troops could be dispersed to assist other states struggling with COVID-19 vaccinations.

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