No fewer than 12 members of the US National Guard have been relieved of their duties helping to secure Biden’s inauguration. Checks carried out on them by the FBI revealed ties to the far right.
The Numbers Could Grow
As revealed by a Pentagon spokesman, the vetting went beyond links to terrorist groups. A guard member was earlier removed from duty after troubling text messages were brought to light. The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen Daniel Hokanson also revealed to reporters that another guard had been reported by a top line.
It was also earlier reported that two members of the National Guard were being culled. The number continued its upward trajectory on Tuesday afternoon and could continue to swell as the FBI continues vetting.
These sackings have made several senior defense officials concerned about the possibility of an assassination attempt on the president-elect from within the ranks of the National Guard.
Taking the threats seriously
According to a US Army official and a senior US intelligence official who were speaking anonymously to the Associated Press, the first two guard members were removed having been found to have ties with right-wing militias. However, there was no recorded plot against Biden.
The possibility of insider threats is being taken seriously by the government after it was revealed that several of the rioters who broke into the Capitol had ties with the military and law enforcement.
FBI had also released a prior warning to law enforcement agencies that far-right extremists had “discussed posing as national guard members in Washington and others had reviewed maps of vulnerable spots in the city,” according to a report by the Washington Post. The mood in the capital has remained tense as a result.
Due to defense department regulations, the intelligence official and the army official spoke on the condition of anonymity. They also did not receive to what fringe group the guard members belonged and in what capacity they served.