FBI Is Screening National Guard Troops Guarding Inauguration

As law enforcement authorities continue to track down and arrest those who participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol it’s becoming clear that many of them have ties to the military. That realization has prompted military officials to begin insider threat screening of the 25,000 National Guard troops who have been deployed to Washington, D.C., to secure Wednesday’s inauguration.

A U.S. defense official told The Associated Press on Sunday that the Army is working with the FBI to vet all of the service members supporting the inauguration. That vetting involves running peoples’ names through multiple databases and watchlists maintained by the bureau to uncover any alarming red flags, including their involvement in prior investigations or terrorism-related concerns.

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.

The screening process began as the first troops began arriving in D.C. more than a week ago. And they said it is slated to be complete by Wednesday.

“The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?” said McCarthy. “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.”

Many of the National Guard troops are carrying weapons, although most do not have ammunition magazines loaded. Instead they have them on their person.

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