Fortress D.C.

Late on a drizzly Friday night, just over a week after domestic insurgents stormed the U.S. Capitol, I returned to the scene to see the security blockades being set for Joe Biden’s inauguration. Days before, I’d photographed thousands of National Guard troops bivouacked in the complex and was able to work unimpeded. Clearly, the authorities want to send a message of formidable deterrence.

With stunning efficiency, roadblocks have been established about a half-mile away to all routes leading to the Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue, the National Mall and the White House. Practically everything that a tourist would come to see in D.C. is now behind cement barricades and high fences, and you have to park your car and walk quite a ways to get to a series of perimeters.

The Secret Service is the lead agency, and it oversees each access point, at which you are also likely to encounter D.C. Metropoitan Police, Capitol Police and the National Guard. I was able to get onto the grounds only by showing my Senate press pass.