- The US Army and US Secret Service are working together to determine which troops participating in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration need additional background screening, an Army spokesperson told Insider.
- The move, which was first reported by Army Times, follows a request from Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army ranger, for a review of inauguration troops to root out those sympathetic to domestic terrorists, which is how individuals who stormed the Capitol last week have been described.
- The Army spokesperson also said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training on reporting known or suspected extremist behaviour to troops coming into the nation’s capital.
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The US Army and the US Secret Service are looking at additional security screening for some US troops expected to take part in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, an Army spokesperson told Insider Tuesday.
“The Army is working with the Secret Service to determine which service members supporting the national special security event for the Inauguration require additional background screening,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Army Times was first to report this development as security concerns rise after the Capitol siege by a pro-Trump mob and an FBI warning ta ht far-right groups are discussing days of “armed protests” ahead of inauguration.
News of the Army and Secret Service efforts follow a call between Colorado Rep. Jason Crow and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, during which Crow asked the secretary to have military criminal investigative units to look into “troops deployed for the inauguration to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
In a statement on the call, Crow, a former Army ranger, said that McCarthy agreed to take additional measures.
Crow’s concerns about domestic terror sympathies in the armed forces stem from the assault on the Capitol last week that included military veterans and possibly current service members.
Other veterans in Congress, such as Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, condemned military personnel who participated in the riots, saying: “In attacking the Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution that they swore to protect, any current or former military members who may have participated have disgraced themselves and committed serious crimes against the People of the United States.”
The Army spokesperson who emailed Insider said that all US service members take part in the annual Threat Awareness and Reporting Program, which urges military personnel to report known or suspected extremist behaviour.
The official said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training to service members coming into DC. There are already several thousand Guard members in the nation’s capital, and the Department of Defence is authorised to deploy as many as 15,000 troops ahead of the inauguration.
As for current members of the military that may have participated in the storming of the Capitol, the Army official said that this is being investigated.
“There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action,” the spokesperson said.
“The Army is committed to working closely with the FBI as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army,” the official added. “Any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”
Talking with Crow on Sunday, McCarthy told the congressman that “DoD is aware of further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day and is working with local and federal law enforcement to coordinate security preparations.”
A new FBI bulletin reported Monday warned of possible “armed protests” at the US Capitol and all 50 state capitols ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
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