The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 1:20 am

12 from Guard removed from security

Will not work inauguration due to right-wing ties

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Twelve U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after they were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online, according to two U.S. officials. There was no threat to President-elect Joe Biden, they said.

The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Their removal from the massive security presence at the nation's capital comes as the FBI worked to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops headed to the area for Biden's inauguration today. U.S. defense officials have been worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat.

Washington has been on edge since the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, which has prompted extraordinary security measures ahead of Biden's inauguration. A fire in a homeless camp roughly a mile from the Capitol complex prompted a lockdown Monday during a rehearsal for the inauguration.

U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol days earlier than usual in preparation, and the city center is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of troops and law enforcement officers stationed around the area.

Federal law enforcement officials have also been wary of increased surveillance of military and law enforcement checkpoints and other positions after National Guard troops reported people taking pictures and recording them, said the law enforcement officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing security matters.


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