FBI vetting 25,000 troops amid fears of insider assault

Washington, January 18

US defence officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.

The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

‘Aware of threat’

  • Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says officials are conscious of the potential threat. Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats.
  • The FBI screeening process began as the first Guard troops began deploying to DC more than a week ago.
  • The area in and around Capitol Hill has been made out of bounds for the general public with erection of barricades.

And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIP’s in attendance.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said officials were conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problem within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues.

He said Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats. About 25,000 members of the National Guard are streaming into Washington from across the country — at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals.

Washington DC has been literally converted into a garrison city. Along with 25,000 National Guards, thousands of local police personnel and those from other security agencies have been deployed. — Agencies

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