FBI’s VT guard in DC amid fears of insider attack

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. defense officials say they are concerned about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, telling the FBI all 25,000 Nationals arriving in Washington for the incident The guards are driven to safety. .

The large-scale undertakings reflect extraordinary security concerns that have badly hit Washington after a January 6 uprising in the US Capitol by Trump supporter rioters. And it is feared that some of the many people assigned to protect the city over the next few days may pose a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officers are conscious of the potential danger, and warned the commanders to look forward to any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have not seen any evidence of any danger, and officials said the vetting did not mark any issues about which they were aware.

“We are constantly going through this process, and every third of the individuals assigned to this operation is looking for a third one,” McCarthy said in an interview that he and other military leaders took a tiring, three-hour security Preparing for Wednesday’s opening to go through the drill. He said that members of the guards are also training on how to identify potential insider threats.

About 25,000 members of the National Guard are moving from across the country to Washington – at least two and a half times the previous inauguration. And when military extremists regularly review service members for connections, FBI screening is in addition to any previous surveillance.

Many officials said the process began as DC began deploying troops more than a week ago. And he said it was expected to be completed by Wednesday. Several officials discussed the military plan on condition of anonymity.

“The question is, is this all? What are the others? “Said McCarthy. “We need to be conscious of this and we need these men and women to fully create mechanisms that will support any such operation.”

In such a situation, FBI veterinarians would be involved in running people’s names through the database and watchlists maintained by the bureau to see if anything dangerous would happen. Former National Security Supervisor of the FBI in Seattle, David Gomez, said the former may be involved in investigations or concerns related to terrorism.

Insider threats have been a frequent law enforcement priority in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks. But in most cases, the threats are from radical militants by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group, or similar groups. In contrast, threats against Biden’s inauguration have been instigated by supporters of President Donald Trump, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups. Many believe Trump’s baseless allegations that the election was stolen from him, a claim that has been denied by many courts, the Department of Justice, and Republican officials in key battlegrounds.

The revolt in the Capitol began after Trump made inflammatory remarks at a January 6 rally. According to McCarthy, service members from across the military were present at the rally, but it is unclear how many people were or who may have attended the Breach at the Capitol. Only a few active-duty or National Guard members have been arrested so far in connection with the Capitol attack, in which five people were killed. The dead included a Capitol police officer and a woman from the police as she climbed through a window in a doorway near the chamber of the House.

General Daniel R., head of the National Guard Bureau. Hokson has a meeting with the guard soldiers as they approach DC and as they arrive in the city. He said he believes there are good procedures in place to identify any potential danger.

“If there is any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it is either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with immediately from the chain of command,” he said.

However, only one of the security concerns voiced by the authorities on Sunday was the threat, as dozens of military, National Guard, law enforcement and Washington, DC, officers and commanders went through a security rehearsal in Northern Virginia. Three dozen leaders mounted the tables as a largely color-coded map of DC reflecting on the floor. Behind them were dozens of National Guard officers and personnel, whose eyes trained on additional maps and charts displayed on the wall.

The Secret Service is in charge of event security, but includes a range of military and law enforcement personnel ranging from the National Guard and the FBI to Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, the US Capitol Police and the US Park Police.

Commanders worked on every aspect of the city’s complex security lockdown, with McCarthy and others answering questions about how the military would react in any scenario and communicate with other enforcement agencies scattered around the city is.

Hockson said that he believes his troops are adequately equipped and prepared, and that they are rehearsing as much as possible to prepare for any contingency.

The major security concern is the attack by armed groups of individuals, as well as explosives and other devices planted. McCarthy said intelligence reports suggest that the groups are holding armed rallies, which are likely to be held until inauguration day and beyond.

The bulk of the guard members will be armed with weapons. And McCarthy said that units have been going through practice repeatedly to practice when and how to use force and how to work quickly with law enforcement partners. Law enforcement officers will make any arrest.

He said that the guard units are undergoing constant mental repetition to look at the map and talk through scenarios with the leaders, so they understand their function and purpose, they know their routes, they know that they Where friendly, adjacent units are, they have the appropriate frequencies to communicate with their law enforcement partners. “

The major goal, he said, is to transfer power without incident to the US.

“This is a national priority. We have to succeed as an institution. “” We want to send this message to the United States and the rest of the world that we can do it safely and peacefully. “


Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.


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