U.S. defense officials say they are concerned about an insider attack or other threat from members of the service involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination, which prompted the FBI to screen all 25,000 National Guard troops entering Washington for the event.
This action demonstrates the extraordinary security concerns that preoccupied Washington in the wake of the deadly January 6 insurgency on U.S. Capitol Hill by pro-Trump rioters. Officials fear that those charged with protecting the city over the next few days could pose a threat to the president-elect and other dignitaries present.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press Sunday that officials are aware of the potential threat and warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems in their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders said they have not felt any threat.
“We’re constantly monitoring the process and second, third, we’re looking at all the people assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said in an interview after he and other military leaders conducted a comprehensive three-hour security exercise. He said members of the Guard also receive training on how to identify potential internal threats.
About 25,000 National Guard members are flocking to Washington from across the country – at least two and a half times the number of previous inaugurations.
Nationwide security measures were stepped up after the FBI warned of the potential for armed demonstrations in Washington and all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
The states of Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Washington – where Trump has launched lawsuits for election fraud – mobilized the National Guard to provide security on Biden’s inauguration day. The local congressional offices in Texas also remain closed on Wednesday.
Joe Biden still wanted to take the oath of office on the Capitol stage (although the dress rehearsal has been postponed).
A Virginia man was arrested on Friday, January 15, at a Washington checkpoint near the Capitol with an “unauthorized” inauguration card, a gun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, according to Capitol police.
On January 6, pro-Trump activists had already marched through the streets of Washington before storming the federal congressional building. Five people were killed during this violent intrusion, which caused the evacuation of the Capitol and the suspension for a few hours of the certification process of the results of the U.S. presidential election.
The insurgency on Capitol Hill began after Trump made inflammatory remarks at the January 6 rally.
by Jeremy Abbott – American Correspondent – WPN