Even before this week’s unprecedented siege of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, which you can read about in the War Zone‘s rolling coverage of the events as they unfolded, there were ominous indicators of what was to come. This included the discovery of pipe bombs in the vicinity of nearby Congressional office buildings earlier in the day, which had prompted evacuations, at least in part through underground tunnels. When the Capitol itself was breached, members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence, among others, were also ushered to safety via subterranean passageways.
These incidents highlighted the large tunnel network that lies under Capitol Hill, as well as other underground links throughout Washington, D.C. Many of these are used on a day-to-day basis just to conveniently get between government buildings without going outside, but, as was shown yesterday, they also have a clear value in helping people escape to safety during a crisis. Legislators had already been advised to make increased use of them on Jan. 6, simply to avoid encountering pro-Trump protesters.