US defence officials are reportedly concerned about an insider attack or other threats from service members involved in securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
These fears are said to have prompted the FBI to vet every member of the National Guard who will be arriving in Washington DC ahead of the event.
This follows the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building in the hopes of overturning the results of the election.
Speaking with Associated Press on Sunday, January 17, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy stated that officials are conscious of this potential threat, revealing that he has warned commanders to be vigilant for any issues within their ranks in the approach to the inauguration.
As of yet, McCarthy and other leaders have not found any evidence of such threats, with officials stating that the vetting hadn’t flagged any problems.
We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation.
McCarthy made these remarks after he and other military leaders took part in a three-hour security drill to prepare for January 20. Guard members will reportedly also be receiving training on how to identify potential threats from insiders.
An approximate 25,000 members of the National Guard will be pouring into the capital city from throughout the US, a number that is at least two and a half times more than the amount seen at previous inaugurations.
Although the military does routinely review service members for any potential extremist connections, this FBI screening is said to be in addition to any previous monitoring.
Multiple officials have reportedly said that the process began as the first Guard troops began deploying to Washington DC over a week ago, and that it will be completed by Wednesday, January 20.
The question is, is that all of them? Are there others? 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.
Former FBI national security supervisor David Gomez told AP how, in situations such as this, FBI vetting involves running names through bureau-maintained databases and watchlists to check for anything worrying, such as any involvement in prior investigations or terrorism-related concerns.
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