The National Guard isn’t taking any chances ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
According to the Associated Press, two National Guard members have been removed from their assignments to help secure the upcoming event after they were discovered to have ties to far-right militia groups! The state or alleged militia affiliations of the two Guard members were not revealed in the report, which cites an unnamed US Army official and a senior US intelligence official, but the outlet did note that no wider plot was discovered.
Naturally, the Guard was pretty tight lipped about the whole thing. In response to the AP’s questions about whether any members had been removed due to inauguration security concerns, officials said:
“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration.”
The Guard went on to direct those questions to the Secret Service, but that federal agency also declined to address the AP’s questions. Yet the non-answer is pretty much an answer, is it not?
As you likely know, Wednesday’s inaugural ceremonies outside the US Capitol will be the same setting as the Jan. 6 siege by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump. Several of those rioters were later revealed to have military ties, according to The Washington Post.
A US defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the publication that, as over 25,000 Guard troops have been deployed to Washington, DC ahead of Wednesday’s ceremonies, the Army had been working with the FBI to vet service members assigned to the inauguration detail just to be thoroughly cautious.
In an interview with Defense One, commanding general of the DC National Guard Maj. Gen. William J. Walker said the screening of troops ahead of the inauguration was an “extra layer” of security beyond regular monitoring by the US military of its service personnel. He told the outlet:
“For this deployment everybody is screened additionally, but it’s more of a reassurance, because we do everything we can do [to] know our Guardsmen, our soldiers and airmen.”
Before news broke that the two Guard members had been removed, the Army said in a statement:
“There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action. The Army is committed to working closely with the FBI as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army.”
We’ll take all the caution we can get, because the last thing we want at the inauguration is another violent, embarrassing frat party — one that ultimately turned deadly!
[Image via Instar/WENN]