Vice president Kamala Harris was inside the building on 6 January 2021 when a pipe bomb was discovered outside the Democratic National Convention (DNC) headquarters, after rioters struck the US’s Capitol Hill.
Capitol Police and Secret Service had evacuated an unnamed “protectee” at 1.14pm, just minutes after police started investigating the presence of a pipe bomb outside the DNC headquarters at 1.07pm, according to an official Capitol Police timeline of events.
Citing four anonymous sources including a White House official and a former law enforcement official, Politico reported that it was Ms Harris — then the vice president-elect — who had been evacuated from the headquarters.
The matter raises “sobering questions” about Ms Harris’ security that day, the report said. It also indicated that the riots could have been much worse.
Ms Harris’ evacuation was not reported earlier as her location was not revealed due to security concerns.
On Thursday, on the first anniversary of the insurrection, Ms Harris referred to her absence from the Capitol building during the attack but did not specify her location. “I had left, but my thoughts immediately turned not only to my colleagues, but to my staff who had been forced to seek refuge in our office, converting filing cabinets into barricades,” she said.
The pipe bomb at DNC was neutralised at 4.36pm, while another pipe bomb found in the Republican National Convention (RNC) headquarters was neutralised at 3.33pm.
Law enforcement officials said that the pipe bombs only made things more difficult for Capitol Hill security. Security personnel had to be diverted to attend to the pipe bombs, which allowed hundreds of supporters of former president Donald Trump to storm into the Capitol building.
No arrests have been made so far in relation to the pipe bombs. But more than 700 people have been arrested in the past year for the riots and face charges ranging from assaulting police officers to obstructing Congress.