We’re just two days away from the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Some Americans are excited, some are still mourning the about-damn-timely demise of Donald Trump’s presidency and others are pretty indifferent about the whole thing as a lifetime of witnessing America being America has left them cynical AF. Meanwhile, the FBI and U.S. defense officials have one thing in mind leading up to Inauguration Day: Security.
After the attempted coup on the Capitol on Jan. 6, officials are implementing added security measures to ensure that Biden’s inauguration doesn’t end in a second attack. The new precautions include the vetting of tens of thousands of National Guard members just in case it turns out a second attack is being planned from the inside.
From the Associated Press:
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems 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 that they were aware of.
”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said in an interview after he and other military leaders went through an exhaustive, three-hour security drill in preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration. 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. And while the military routinely reviews service members for extremist connections, the FBI screening is in addition to any previous monitoring.
Multiple officials said the process began as the first Guard troops began deploying to D.C. more than a week ago. And they said it is slated to be complete by Wednesday. Several officials discussed military planning on condition of anonymity.
Last week, The Root reported that the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military released a memo reminding troops of their oath to the Constitution. The memo was sent as investigations were launched to identify former and active-duty soldiers who may have taken part in the government overthrow attempt on Jan. 6.
From our previous report:
The Department of Justice is reported to be investigating as many as 25 members of the service, and the Army is currently investigating Capt. Emily Rainey, a psychological operations officer who told the Associated Press that she led 100 people from North Carolina to the rally in Washington, D.C.
According to AP, only a couple of current active-duty or National Guard members have been arrested in connection with the Capitol coup so far. But according to McCarthy, service members from across the military participated in the rally-turned-rampage. The point is, just because the FBI screening hasn’t raised any red flags yet, doesn’t mean the probe isn’t necessary. What’s the saying? “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.”
“The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?” McCarthy told AP. “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.”
Other measures being taken ahead to Inauguration Day include a security rehearsal that took place in northern Virginia during which dozens of military, National Guard, law enforcement and D.C. security officials stood in a room that had a “massive color-coded map of D.C. reflected onto the floor,” AP reports, along with additional maps and charts displayed on the wall. There, commanders went over D.C.’s complicated security lockdown and made sure troops and other security officials were prepped for every possible attack scenario.
McCarthy confirmed that National Guard units are going through “constant mental repetitions of looking at the map and talking through scenarios with leaders so they understand their task and purpose, they know their routes, they know where they’re friendly, adjacent units are, they have the appropriate frequencies to communicate with their law enforcement partners.”