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Homeland security deputy secretary addresses FBI alert for state capitols

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The deputy secretary for the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security said no credible threats to West Virginia or the surrounding regions had been verified one week ahead of Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C.

Thom Kirk spoke during the Wednesday state coronavirus briefing with Governor Jim Justice and other state officials two days after an FBI alert was issued about the potential for protests in all 50 state capitols in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Thom Kirk

“To say that we have no credible threats in our region doesn’t mean that we’re not remaining vigilant. In fact, it’s just the opposite,” Kirk said.

He noted the regionalization.

“We not only watch this, we not only receive information from people within the state, organizations from within the state, but surrounding states and, actually, all over the nation and its territories,” Kirk said.

Involved agencies with the state Department of Homeland Security included the West Virginia Fusion Center, State Police, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service, the West Virginia National Guard, the FBI and others.

Daily or sometimes more frequent briefings were provided to Governor Justice and his staff, according to Kirk.

“We try to keep the people and property of this state as safe and secure as we can,” he said.

The State Capitol remains closed to the public due to COVID-19 protocols except for scheduled appointments or attendance at meetings.

Guns are allowed on Capitol grounds only if they’re out of view in locked vehicles.

The 85th Legislature convened for the first time on Wednesday at the State Capitol.

The 60-day regular session begins on Feb. 10, 2021.

A state inauguration ceremony was being planned for Friday, Jan. 22.

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