12 members of the guard withdrawn from the inauguration of Biden

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Twelve members of the United States Army National Guard were removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after discovering they had links to right-wing militias or had issued extremist views online, according to two US officials. There was no threat to President-elect Joe Biden, they said.

Officials, a senior intelligence official and an army official briefed on the matter, did not specify which fringe group the Guards belonged to or which unit they served. Officials were not authorized to speak in public and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Their withdrawal from the massive security presence in the nation’s capital comes as the FBI scrambled to control all 25,000 National Guard troops marching to the area for Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. U.S. defense officials have expressed concern about a possible insider attack or other threat from the military following the deadly riot on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by Trump supporters that shocked the nation.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that monitoring of National Guard troops was continuing and that the Pentagon had so far found no intelligence that would indicate an internal threat.

Washington has been on the alert since the deadly insurgency on Capitol Hill, which prompted extraordinary security measures before Biden’s inauguration. A fire at a homeless camp about a mile from the Capitol complex caused a lockdown on Monday during a rehearsal for the inauguration.

The U.S. Secret Service has stepped up security in and around the Capitol a few days earlier than usual in preparation, and the city center is essentially locked down with blocked streets, high fences installed, and tens of thousands of soldiers and d law enforcement officers stationed in the region.

Federal law enforcement officials are also wary of increased surveillance of military and law enforcement checkpoints and other positions after National Guard troops reported people taking photos and were recording them, said law enforcement officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss what happened next. security issues.

The Secret Service issued a bulletin this weekend on what they see as a “rise” in National Guard troops posting photos and details of their operations online.

The Associated Press got the “all concerned” message sent to all National Guard troops coming to Washington. Without going into specific posts, the bulletin said, “No member of the service should post locations, images or descriptions online regarding ongoing operations or the sensitive sites they protect” and urged them to stop immediately .

Asked about the bulletin, a secret service spokesperson issued a statement saying he “does not comment on matters of protective intelligence.”

Contacted by the PA on Tuesday morning, the National Guard Office questioned the U.S. Secret Service and said: “Due to operational security, we are not discussing the process or the outcome of the screening process for the military. supporting the inauguration. “

Over the summer, a man was arrested in Los Angeles for posing as a member of the National Guard during protests in the city near Los Angeles City Hall. The man, Gregory Wong, carried a handgun and assault rifle, but was taken into custody after real guards confronted him when they noticed things were not in their hands. place on his uniform.

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