JUST IN: FBI Vetting 25,000 National Guard Troops in DC to Ensure Against ‘Insider Attack’
According to a breaking news report by the Associated Press, U.S. defense officials have tangible concerns about a possible “insider attack” directed at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, and now the FBI is individually vetting the approximately 25,000 National Guard troops being sent to Washington, D.C. for Inauguration Day.
The deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 heightened concerns about domestic terrorism, and possible sympathizers within the ranks of the military and law enforcement.
The 25,000 troops who will be in our nation’s capital this Wednesday are “at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals,” according to the AP.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy acknowledged in an interview Sunday that officials were “conscious of the potential threat,” and he had instructed unit commanders to watch for specific warning signs within their ranks. However, he pointed out, so far they had seen no evidence of threats or flagged any individual issues.
McCarthy and other military leaders conducted a detailed, three-hour security drill to prepare for Inauguration Day. The military already screens service members for connections to extremist groups or sympathies for their beliefs, but the FBI screening will go deeper than that routine screening — and it all has to be completed by Wednesday morning.
In contrast to prior concerns about homegrown insurgents radicalized by foreign terror groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda, the people who incited the Capitol riot and who are believed to potentially pose a threat against Biden’s inauguration are Americans radicalized by fellow Americans: supporters of President Donald Trump who believe his baseless claims of election fraud, radical right militants, white supremacists, adherents to the QAnon conspiracy cult, and other fringe extremist groups.
“If there’s any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it’s either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately,” said National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, who has been meeting with troops as they arrive in D.C.
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