Army Secretary Says Commanders on Lookout for Potential Insider Threats Ahead of Inauguration Day

January 18, 2021 Updated: January 18, 2021

U.S. Army commanders are on the lookout for any potential insider threats ahead of inauguration day, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a recent interview.

McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that defense officials are keeping an eye out for threats from within their ranks. But so far, he and other leaders have not seen any evidence of such threats, and the vetting of National Guard troops in Washington has not flagged any problems.

”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy told the news wire. He added that National Guard members are also receiving training on how to identify potential insider threats.

Potential insider threats have been a consideration for law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

According to the report, the FBI is currently conducting the vetting of National Guard members, who are coming to Washington to support operations for Jan. 20.

The FBI press office referred The Epoch Times to the U.S. Secret Service when asked questions about the vetting. The U.S. Secret Service is coordinating the security efforts for inauguration day.

A U.S. Secret Service spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that: “In order to maintain critical operational security surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, the U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement partners will not be commenting on the means and methods used to conduct the agency mission, inclusive of protective intelligence matters.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense and the National Guard Bureau did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Up to 25,000 National Guard members from across the country will be stationed in the city next week, the U.S. Army previously confirmed.

National Guardsmen were given the authorization to be armed on Jan. 12 in order to support law enforcement in the Capitol and the city, according to a statement by the D.C. National Guard. The authorization came after a request by federal authorities. Troops have been on 24-hour watch in the U.S. Capitol, and off-duty troops have been photographed sleeping in building hallways.

Epoch Times Photo
National Guard troops near the Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 15, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The increased number of National Guard members will be there to supplement the already ramped-up forces from the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Capitol Police, and D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.

“The National Guard has a long and proud history of inauguration support,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said during an inauguration security briefing with Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 14. “The forefathers of today’s National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and we have been part of every inauguration since.”

The nation’s capital is seeing increased security put in place ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, rendering it one of the most unusual inaugurations in history.

Epoch Times Photo
Security around the Capitol building in Washington on Jan. 15, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
Extra security barriers block the roads at F and 14th streets in Washington on Jan. 15, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
The south side of the White House in Washington on Jan. 15, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Videos by reporters, workers, and residents in the area show street closures, workers putting up miles of barricades and fencing with coiled barbed wire, shops and offices being boarded up, and an increased military presence. Military vehicles can be seen parked on downtown streets, and armed guards are checking identification for people leaving and entering the city.

Meanwhile, the city has already seen a number of streets closures with more to follow leading up to Jan. 20.

FBI Director Christopher Wray previously said they’re tracking an “extensive” amount of “concerning online chatter” about potential threats to the inauguration, including armed protests, potential threats linked to the Capitol breach, and other types of potential threats.

This comes amid concerns that the civil unrest and violence observed on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol may repeat next week.

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