If you’re in the camp who thinks seeing tens of thousands of National Guard troops deployed on the streets of the nation’s capital is strange, you’re certainly not alone.
But over the weekend, aside from hauling even more troops in to prepare for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the FBI announced that it received credible intelligence concerning the possibility of an “insider attack” on that day and as a result, will put the nearly 30,000 National Guard troops through a vetting process.
According to Newsmax, it’s clear that federal law enforcement believes not only will armed protests and potential attacks take place across the United States on January 20, but they seem especially concerned that it could happen in Washington D.C. as Biden is inaugurated — and now they believe it could be from within the ranks of the U.S. military.
In an interview with the Associated Press over the weekend, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said that he’d instructed his commanders on the ground to be on the lookout for any unusual activity or rhetoric from their troops that could indicate some kind of sinister plot. Luckily, so far, no threats from the ranks of the tens of thousands of troops have been identified.
“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said.
Commanders are also training troops on how to spot potential threats in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will feature limited attendance and more troops surrounding him than those who are currently deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, by several-fold.
The vetting process began when the first National Guard troops arrived for deployment in D.C. last week and McCarthy hopes to have the process completed by Wednesday, which is inauguration day.
#InaugurationDay2021 DoD officials conscious potential insider threat first reported @AP “The Army is working with the FBI to vet all service members supporting the Inauguration National Special Security Event. The FBI is the lead for vetting. The Army works with its federal
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) January 18, 2021
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“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.”
Part of the vetting process includes running soldiers’ names through federal law enforcement databases and similar methods to see if any red flags pop up. None have been reported, so far.
Another reason for the concern is that on January 6, a vast majority of the hundreds of thousands who showed up to rally for President Donald Trump were peaceful, and some of those people were undoubtedly military, as National Guard troops typically have full civilian lives and drill once per month. Presumably, the military and federal law enforcement want to make sure that no troops are on the ground providing security who were also involved with the deadly ransacking of the Capitol Building.
“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 General Daniel R. Hokanson.
We’ll have to wait and see if Biden’s inauguration goes smoothly, and it probably will, but things sure are becoming strange in this country.