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Report: 2 National Guard members removed from inauguration detail for militia ties

Two U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the security detail for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after the troops deployed to Washington D.C. were vetted for extremist ideologies.

The Associated Press reports that the two National Guard members were found to have ties to “fringe right-group militias,” according to U.S. Army and intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

There is no plot against Biden or members of Congress reported.

Reached for comment by the AP, the National Guard Bureau referred reporters to the U.S. Secret Service, which said, “Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration.”

After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, law enforcement at the local and federal levels was put on high alert to ensure that President-elect Biden is inaugurated peacefully. Approximately 25,000 U.S. National Guard troops will be deployed in the nation’s capital Wednesday for the inauguration. However, some lawmakers have raised concerns that among these Guard members may be supporters of President Trump who might, in the words of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), “want to do something.”

Last week, a senior defense official speaking anonymously briefed reporters on law enforcement efforts to identify potential risks among the guardsmen stationed in D.C.

“We know that some groups actively attempt to recruit our personnel into their cause or actually encourage their members to join the military for the purpose of acquiring skills and experience in our military force,” the official reportedly said.

“We recognize that those skills are prized by some of these groups, not only for the capability it offers them, but it also brings legitimacy in their mind to their cause. The fact that they can say they have former military personnel that align with their extremist and violent extremist views. So this clearly is of great concern to us.”

The National Guard, Army, Secret Service, and FBI jointly coordinated to vet the 25,000 National Guard members from 44 states for extremist ideologies or ties to radical militia groups.

Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said Monday that there is no evidence of an insider plot to disrupt the inauguration or attack Biden or members of Congress.

“While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” Miller said in a statement.

Some critics have spoken out against the vetting, which they see as disrespectful to service members.

Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott on Tuesday tweeted, “This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard.”

“No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard,” he added. “I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”

Miller said Monday that the vetting taking place is typical for “significant security events.”

“This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique.”

Insider Threat Intelwars National Guard Steve Cohen terror suspects Trump voters

Democratic congressman: National Guardsmen who voted for Trump should be ‘suspects’ of an insider attack

As more than 25,000 National Guard troops head into Washington, D.C., ahead of Inauguration Day, new concerns over the potential of an “insider threat” have reportedly risen to the surface — and now one Democratic lawmaker is suggesting that every Guardsmen who voted for President Trump should be a “suspect.”

What did he say?

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), who chairs the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, made the wild suggestion during an interview with CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Monday.

“This morning I was reading about this on my Twitter account I guess, and people were reminding people of Anwar Sadat and Indira Gandhi who were killed by their own people,” Cohen said in reference to two political leaders who were assassinated by those tasked with protecting them.

“You know, I was thinking, the [National] Guard is 90 some odd percent I believe male, only about 20% of white males voted for Biden. You got to figure that in the Guard which is predominately more conservative — and I see that on my social media and we know it — there’s probably not more than 25% of the people that are there protecting us who voted for [President-elect Joe Biden]. The other 75% are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something,” he continued. “And there were military people and police who took oaths to defend the Constitution and to protect and defend who didn’t do it, who were in the insurrection. So, it does concern me …”

When Sciutto cut in to push back at Cohen’s suggestion that simply having voted for President Trump should make someone a threat, the Democratic lawmaker dug his heels in.

“You draw circles of people, and in the first circle is people who were for Trump and not for Biden as far as people who would be within the zone of folks who you would be suspect of, and the suspect group is large,” he said.

What’s the background?

The Associated Press reported Sunday that the FBI began vetting thousands of service members stationed in the nation’s capital after U.S. defense officials express concern over the potential that individuals charged with protecting the city may present a threat to Biden or other government officials.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy reportedly told the news agency that commanders have been instructed to be on the lookout for problems within their ranks. He added that no issue has been discovered yet.

“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said.