U.S. News

U.S. Senate Republican leader McConnell criticizes Capitol security as overreaction

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that he is “extremely uncomfortable” with the continued high level of security at the U.S. Capitol, saying there are currently no serious threats against Congress.

“With all this razor wire around the complex, it reminds me of my last visit to Kabul,” McConnell told reporters at a news conference.

The U.S. Capitol complex, home to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, was placed under tight security that includes a perimeter fence after a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building in a Jan. 6 riot that left five people dead, including a police officer.

About 5,200 National Guard soldiers currently patrol the area. Their mission was originally due to end on Friday. But the Pentagon, which is reducing their number to 2,300, has agreed to extend their mission for an additional two months at the request of the U.S. Capitol Police.

U.S. security agencies warned last week that “militia violent extremists” discussed plans in February to “take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers” on March 4, a date deemed significant by adherents to the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory. But only a smattering of QAnon followers gathered on that day.

“I just checked early this morning. There have been no serious threats against the Capitol. I think we’re way overreacting,” McConnell said.

“I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol,” the Kentucky Republican added.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis