Worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, FBI is vetting all of the 25,000 National Guard troops to be stationed in Washington for the event, Associate Press reported.
The massive exercise reflects the heightened security concerns that have gripped Washington following the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol by a mob said to be supporters of President Donald Trump.
National Guard troops drawn from all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia are supporting law enforcement through the presidential inauguration later this week.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associate Press on Sunday (Jan 17) that security officials are aware of the potential risk, and commanders have been instructed to keep a careful tab for any issues among their troops. National Guard members are also receiving training on how to find any threats within their ranks, he said.
The major security concerns, according to McCarthy, are any riots by armed groups or explosives being set up.
”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy told the AP.
“The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?” said McCarthy. “We need to be conscious of it and we need to put all of the mechanisms in place to thoroughly vet these men and women who would support any operations like this.”
In a statement, the Army said it is working with the Secret Service "to determine which service members supporting the national special security event for the Inauguration require additional background screening."
"The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," the statement said. "There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action."
"The Army is committed to working closely with the F.B.I. as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army," the statement added.
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