Monday, 8 Mar 2021

FBI to screen National Guard assigned to Biden inauguration over fears of internal attack

Biden inauguration: FBI director warns of ‘extensive online chatter’

The tight security screenings come amid fears over the possibility of an insider attack by extremist members of the National Guard stationed in Washington DC. US Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy stated that there had been “representatives of all of the [US armed] services” involved at the Pro-Donald Trump rally on January 6 and the subsequent storming of the Capitol building which left five people died. Mr McCarthy added that the possibility of an insider attack on Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony was “clearly” something that US security officials needed to be “conscious of.”

Describing the threat of attack from within the US military as the “unknown”, he said: “January 6 there were representatives of all of the services that were at the rally when it started on the ellipse and then migrated toward the Capitol.

“So the question is, is that all of them, are there others? 

“So it is clearly something we need to be conscious off inside the entire formation let alone people who may be assigned to this operation here in the capital.”

Reinforcements brought in ahead of Mr Biden inauguration have taken the total number of guardsmen stationed in the US Capitol to more than 20,000, according to city officials.

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Mr McCarthy continued: “We have also been vetting them through the FBI, getting support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to continue vetting every man and women that come here.

“So we are continually going through the process and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation.”

Reports hold the 20,000 guardsmen would be four times as many US soldiers as are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

A defence official, speaking anonymously, added Pentagon officials are still planning additional security measures for Mr Biden’s inauguration.

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They said discussions with city and federal officials over the final number of National Guardsmen to be sent to Washington have yet to be decided, as officials plan for what is needed.

The defence source then said to MSN news at least 10,000 guardsmen will be stationed in the Capitol building for the inauguration, with some armed.

Other measures already taken to prevent mob violence include a 7-foot black chain fence erected around the centre of Capitol Hill.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take office on January 20, in six days time.

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An internal FBI bulletin has warned of nationwide armed protests over the Democrats inauguration next week.

It said: “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”

It comes as outgoing President Donald Trump has condemned his supporters for last weeks riots at the Capitol building.

Five people died following the insurrection at the Washington building, including one police officer.

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