12 Nationwide Guard Troops Eliminated for Inaugural Safety, Two for Doable Hyperlinks to Extremist Teams
Twelve National Guard troops have been removed from duties related to the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., two of them due to possible links with far-right movements, Defense Department officials said Tuesday.
The two made inappropriate comments or sent inappropriate texts, officials said. Another group of 10 people was tagged for reasons unrelated to recent Capitol events.
Officials declined to provide details of the inspection that discovered guards from different states.
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller said Sunday the FBI is assisting the U.S. military in screening more than 25,000 National Guard troops deployed to protect the Capitol and the areas of central Washington for potential security concerns.
An Army spokesman declined to provide information about the two National Guard troops or the verification procedures citing operational security and referred all questions to US intelligence.
The announcement of their removal comes as the Pentagon intensifies efforts to identify and combat white supremacy and other right-wing extremism within its ranks, while federal investigators investigate how many service members and veterans joined the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. have connected.
The FBI’s investigation into the Capitol Siege, which is still in its very early stages, has identified at least six suspects with military connections out of the more than 100 people arrested or the greater number still under investigation. They include a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Air Force, an Army officer from North Carolina, and an Army reservist from New Jersey. Another person in military service was shot dead in the attack.
The military review of its ranks marks a new urgency for the Pentagon, which in the past has downplayed the rise of white nationalism and right-wing activism, even if Germany and other countries find a deep strain on their armed forces.
Federal officials check out thousands of National Guard troops to secure the inauguration. Of the 21,500 security guards who had arrived in Washington by Monday, anyone near President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will receive additional background checks, a standard procedure for countering insider threats before President Trump’s inauguration in 2017.