Entries in Capitol Building (4)


US Capitol Weathers DC’s Devastating Storm

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While Washington cleans up Monday morning after last weekend's severe weather, one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the nation’s capital appears to have escaped relatively unscathed: the U.S. Capitol.

A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol tells ABC News that there were no reports of damage to the Capitol or any other buildings throughout the 274-acre Capitol campus, which also includes the Supreme Court of the United States. Most of the storm’s wrath was suffered by trees, although none of the damaged ones were memorial trees.

“We had some minor tree damage, a few suffered from broken limbs, but our folks had things cleaned up by Sunday morning,” Eva Malecki, communications officer for the AOC, wrote in an email. “No other damages reported.”

According to the AOC, about 4,200 trees adorn the grounds of the Capitol. About 150 trees are memorial trees, planted by a member of Congress.

The storm packed 60-80 mph winds and ripped through the sweltering Washington region late Friday night, killing at least six people in Virginia, two in Maryland and one in D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Congress Honors Slave Labor That Built Capitol

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Capitol Tuesday added a physical acknowledgment of the role slave labor played in the construction of the building.

Leaders from both parties and both houses of Congress unveiled a commemorative marker in the Capitol Visitors Center to pay tribute to those who put the building up.

The marker features a single block of sandstone, once part of the Capitol’s East Front portico, placed in reverse position so that the original chisel marks, done by those who built the building, are clearly visible.

The construction of the Capitol relied heavily on slave labor. “Through the unveiling of this marker today, we finally permit countless and nameless souls to rest,” Rep. John Lewis said at the ceremony Tuesday afternoon. “We honor the work, the dedication, the artistry, the imagination and the contribution of men and women in chains who help us, even at this hour, to sanctify the U.S. Capitol as our ‘Temple of Liberty.’”

“The history of the capitol, like the history of our nation, should be complete,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “because we have always aspired to something better that work may never be complete. But as long as we remain true to our purpose as a nation, liberty and dedicated to the provocation that all men are created equal, we will continue as it must.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that the marker is a memorial to the “tragedy and sin” of slavery.

“For too long, the sacrifice of men and women who built this temple of democracy were overlooked; their toil forgotten; their story ignored or denied; and their voices silenced in the pages of history,” Pelosi said. “Yet today, we join together to strive to right this wrong of our past, to honor the sacrifice of these laborers, to lay down a marker of gratitude and respect for those who built the walls of the Capitol.”

The bicameral, bipartisan leadership collectively pulled a rope to unveil the large new marker.

“These laborers went unrecognized for generations,” Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “and all those honored by this marker have done our Capitol and our country a great service.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


American Indicted in Remote-Controlled Plane Terror Plot

FBI(WASHINGTON) -- A federal grand jury has indicted a 26-year-old American on terror charges relating to an alleged plot to strike the nation's capital with several explosive-laden, remote-controlled airplanes.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Mass., and Northeastern University physics graduate, was nabbed in an elaborate FBI sting after he told undercover officers exactly how he planned to arm "small drone airplanes" with explosives in order to hit the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol building before opening fire on the survivors, federal officials said in a statement.

Ferdaus was indicted on six counts, including "attempting to damage and destroy a federal building by means of an explosive" and "attempting to provide material support to terrorists."

An attorney for Ferdaus has not returned requests for comments on the charges against him.

According to the indictment, Ferdaus believed his attack could "decapitate" the U.S. "military center".

"Individuals, self-radicalized, they're not looking to cause big mass casualties like 9/11," said former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett, "because they're trying to inflict fear."

Federal officials said Ferdaus appeared to have been radicalized online by Islamist videos and writings.  By 2010, Ferdaus believed he was working for al Qaeda when he began modifying cellphones to serve as electrical switches for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to be passed on to fighters in the Middle East.

"During a June 2011 meeting, he appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq.  Ferdaus responded, 'That was exactly what I wanted,'" the Department of Justice said in a statement after Ferdaus' arrest Wednesday.

The cellphones, however, never got anywhere near the Middle East as Ferdaus was actually handing them over to undercover officers for the FBI.  Still, Ferdaus appeared to want to do more, investigators said.

"Ferdaus envisioned causing a large 'psychological' impact by killing Americans, including women and children, who he referred to as 'enemies of Allah,'" the DOJ's statement said.  "According to the affidavit, Ferdaus' desire to attack the United States is so strong that he confided, 'I just can't stop; there is no other choice for me.'"

Ferdaus allegedly wanted to command a team of six operatives that would use up to three remote-controlled aircraft filled with explosives in the "aerial" part of the attack before firing on any survivors in a follow-up "ground" attack.

Federal investigators said Ferdaus traveled to Washington, D.C., to "conduct surveillance" and take photographs of his targets before acquiring his weapons, including six AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and what he believed to be C-4 explosives.

"Although Ferdaus was presented with multiple opportunities to back out of his plan, including being told that his attack would likely kill women and children, the affidavit alleges that Ferdaus never wavered in his desire to carry out the attacks," the DOJ said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Washington Government Buildings Ordered Evacuated

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Capitol and other government buildings in Washington, D.C., were evacuated for a short time Saturday when an unauthorized aircraft entered restricted airspace.

Fighter jets were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base when a US Airways Express plane briefly lost radio contact. The jets returned to Andrews after the plane re-established its connection, NORAD said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio