WASHINGTON: Pakistanis can visualize a scenario that is worrying US defense officials: an insider attack from service members involved in securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe.
Fearing such attack by them, FBI is vetting all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming here to ensure safety during the event. This is in addition to the routine military review of soldiers for extremist nexus.
Unlike Pakistan, where extremists are connected to organisations like Al-Qaida, the threats against Biden’s inauguration have been fueled by Trump supporters, far-right militants and white supremacists.
According to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy officials were conscious of such possibility. He had warned commanders to be on the lookout for any threat within their ranks: “Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats”, McCarthy informed.
The concerned military officials are continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals who will be posted in Washington to ensure security of the president elect and other VIPs.
So far 12 National Guard Troops have been removed from inauguration duty in Washington during vetting procedure. While two of them had shared inappropriate texts, ten others had been removed for ‘questionable’ behaviour.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, while commenting on this development stated: “I’m not concerned as a large part of our organization, if you look at 25,000, we’ve had 12 identified and some of those they are just looking into, it may be unrelated to this, but we want to make sure out of an abundance of caution as I stated earlier that we do the right thing until that gets cleared up.”
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller negating the rumors about an intelligence indicating an insider threat to the inauguration maintained: “As is normal for military support to large security events, the Department will vet National Guardsmen who are in Washington, DC. While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital. This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique.”