Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said Monday that there is no intelligence to suggest President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration is being targeted by any members of the National Guard.
Miller’s statement comes as reports surfaced over the weekend that the 25,000 National Guard members stationed in Washington to protect the Capitol were being vetted. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that National Guard commanders were instructed to be on the lookout for problems within their units.
“As is normal for military support to large security events, the Department will vet National Guardsmen who are in Washington, D.C,” Miller said. “While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.”
Miller added it is not unusual to vet personnel who are protecting events that require significant security.
“This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events,” Miller said. “However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command. We appreciate the support of the FBI in assisting with this task and for each of the more than 25,000 Guardsmen who answered their Nation’s call and rapidly deployed to the NCR.”
As part of the significant law enforcement apparatus, streets around the Capitol and Washington Mall have been closed. While inaugurations as a matter of practice have a significant security operation, this year’s inauguration has even more security due to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.