'This looks like Baghdad west': Bay Area Rep. Barbara Lee describes enhanced security ahead of inauguration

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Following the attack at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, security in Washington, D.C. ahead of the Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has been dramatically increased.

In an interview with ABC7 News on Sunday morning, Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee described the "enhanced" security right now in the nation's capital.

"This looks like Baghdad West," Rep. Lee, of Oakland, told ABC7 News anchor Liz Kreutz. "It's really remarkable. There will be many, many National Guard individuals here and different layers of security."

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Ahead of the 59th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20, the U.S. Secret Service announced that access into Washington, D.C. will be extremely limited with several road closures around and into the city. Across the country, 13 states, including California, have deployed the National Guard in anticipation of any potential violence.

Lee said she still plans to attend the inauguration on Wednesday unless lawmakers ultimately are told it's not safe.

"These white supremacists who were determined to enter the Capitol in an attempted coup are making their continued threats, and so our FBI and security agencies are tracking the chatter and they're doing everything they can do to make sure it's secure," she said.

"But believe you me, the threats are real and the threats are real all over the country, especially at the Capitol, and so everyone is taking every bit of precaution possible," she added.

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Putting aside the security concerns, Lee said she is beyond excited to witness her friend Kamala Harris break one of the highest glass ceilings on Wednesday when she is formally sworn in as the first woman, first Black person and first person of Southeast Asian descent to become the vice president of the United States.

"I got involved in politics through the campaign of the first African-American woman to run for president, Shirley Chisholm, over 50 years ago, and I know that our Vice President-elect is going to be carrying Shirley Chisholm with her because this is long overdue," Lee said. "I mean 50 years later, finally."

Lee represents the East Bay, including Oakland and Berkeley, where Harris was born and raised. She said Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, broke a glass ceiling for her many years ago and now Harris is breaking a glass ceiling for so many others.

"I think our young girls, our young girls of color should be excited, and they should know that they're able to do whatever in the heck they want to do," Lee said. " I'm so excited, and I'm very happy."

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