The feds have rounded up at least 89 people charged in the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, most of them right-wing Trump supporters. Now the FBI is vetting thousands of National Guard troops who are in D.C. amid fears of an insider attack around the inauguration.
The goal is to make sure there are no security concerns within the ranks of the 25,000 members of the Guard who’ve been streaming into the nation’s capital ahead of Inauguration Day. Guardsman from all 50 states and all territories are said to be supporting the District of Columbia National Guard for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
According to the FBI, vetting includes running names of members through various databases and watchlists, watching for red flags like involvement in prior investigations or terror-related concerns.
“I think what we saw here last week is that we didn’t take it seriously enough,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Commanders have been warned to be on the lookout for problems as additional troops arrive. Another concern focuses on armed attacks, as well as planted explosives.
“We’re part of the layered defense to ensure that the bubble, the bubble that will be around the VP-Elect and the President Elect, so that we can have a peaceful transfer of power,” said Major Gen. William Walker of the DC National Guard.
Inauguration security is unprecedented in size with a military force five times larger than that in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it’s complex, so commanders are going over every aspect of the security lockdown.
The Secret Service is leading the multi-faceted security force. In addition to the military, it involves law enforcement personnel from the FBI, Metro DC, US Capitol, and US Park Police.