US defense officials say they are concerned by an insider attack or other threat that involved the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden on Wednesday, for the FBI to bring all 25,000 National Guard troops to Washington for the incident inspired.
The massive undertakings reflect the extraordinary security concerns that have badly hit Washington after the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol by rioters instigated by Donald Trump. And it is feared that some of the many people assigned to protect the city in the next few days could pose a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs.
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said the officers were aware of the potential danger, and warned the commanders to look for problems within their ranks. 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,” McCarthy said, adding that he and other military leaders had conducted a three-hour security drill. Done after He said that members of the guards were also training on how to identify potential insider threats.
Washington’s nearly 25,000 members from across the country are streaming at least two-and-a-half times more than the number formerly inaugurated. 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 the first troops began deploying DC more than a week ago. He said it would 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.”
David Gomez, a former FBI supervisor in Seattle, said that in a situation like this, FBI vetting would involve running people’s names through databases and watchlists, prior investigations or concerns related to terrorism.
Insider threats have been a law enforcement priority since the 9/11 attacks. But in most cases, the threats are from radical militants by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, or similar groups.
In contrast, threats against Biden’s inauguration have been instigated by Trump’s supporters, far-right extremists, white supremacists and other radical groups. Many believe Trump’s baseless allegations were stolen, rejecting claims made on the battlefield by several courts, the Department of Justice and Republican officials.
The uprising in the Capitol began after Trump made inflammatory remarks at a rally. According to McCarthy, the rally involved service members from across the military, but how many people would have participated in the violations at the Capitol is unclear.
A couple of current active-duty or National Guard members have been arrested in connection with the Capitol attack, killing five including a police officer and shooting a woman as she climbed through a window near the chamber of the House Went.
General Daniel R. Hockson, the head of the National Guard Bureau, is meeting the guard soldiers as they arrive and gather in the city.
“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.
The insider threat, however, was one of the security concerns voiced by authorities on Sunday, as dozens of military, guards, law enforcement and Washington officials and commanders went through a security rehearsal in Northern Virginia. The Secret Service is in charge of event security, but includes a range of military and law enforcement personnel, ranging from guards and the FBI to the Washington Metropolitan Police, the Capitol Police, and the US Park Police.
Hockson said he believed his troops were adequately equipped and prepared, and was rehearsing to be prepared for any contingency.
The major security concern is attacks by armed groups, as well as explosives and other equipment planted. McCarthy said intelligence reports suggest that the groups are organizing armed rallies, which are probably held on Inauguration Day and beyond.
The bulk of the guard members will be armed with weapons. McCarthy said that units have been repeatedly going through practice to practice when and how to use force and how to work quickly with law enforcement partners. Law enforcement officers will make any arrest.
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. ”