The continued presence of at least 5,000 members of the National Guard in Washington until March is unusual, unprecedented, unnecessary, and is in danger of becoming akin to an “occupation force,” a former military intelligence officer said on Jan. 25.
Retired Lt. Steven Rogers, a former FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force member, suggests that the planned presence of thousands of Guard members even after the inauguration of President Joe Biden—which saw more than 26,000 on duty—is cause for concern.
As of Jan. 25, about 13,000 Guard members remain in Washington, according to U.S. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the head of the National Guard Bureau. A spokesman for the agency confirmed to The Epoch Times last week that it will draw down Guard members to 5,000 until mid-March.
“The purpose of the National Guard is to supplement law enforcement agencies, to help them with crowd control, to help them with enforcing laws, just to supplement their manpower. That job was done,” Rogers, president of “Campaign 4 America”—a new organization that aims to bring the country together and advance what it believes to be a conservative agenda—told NTD.
“And unfortunately, what the message the American people are receiving is that this is slowly becoming an occupation force that is absolutely unnecessary,” he said.
Thousands of National Guard personnel poured into the nation’s capital for a presidential inauguration like no other in history on Jan. 20, after a group stormed the Capitol building a week earlier during the Joint Session of Congress. No members had to deal with any security problems on Inauguration Day, spokesman Maj. Matt Murphy told The Epoch Times on Jan. 21.
Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said during a Jan. 25 briefing that there had been FBI warnings about possible unrest in the coming weeks that require Guard troops to remain in Washington until March.
Rogers, however, said he believes the continued presence of Guard personnel is “political,” given that the National Guard hasn’t been deployed to handle the incessant riots and acts of violence that have been carried out across the country by the far-left Antifa group in recent days.
“What’s more perplexing is the fact that as our troops are in Washington D.C., there are cities on the West Coast coast that are burning down,” Rogers said. “We’ve had a situation where Antifa is attacking city halls, they’re taking over neighborhoods, they’re burning buildings, they’re assaulting police officers.”
Antifa members last week smashed windows and vandalized the offices of the Democratic Party in Portland, Oregon, during rioting that took place just hours after Biden’s inauguration, while others toppled garbage cans and lit one on fire. A crowd mainly dressed in Antifa’s characteristic black marched holding banners that read: “We don’t want Biden. We want revenge for police murders, imperialist wars, and fascist massacres,” and “We are not governable,” along with numerous anarchy symbols.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Jan. 25 that Biden “condemns violence and any violence in the strongest possible terms.”
“Right now, I can only say this is political, what kind of message is being sent, it’s not a good message for our world leaders. It’s not a good message for the American people,” Rogers said.
“There is an underlying issue, and that issue is the influence of communism, of socialism, in this country, and the optics of troops in our capital doesn’t fit well with the American people when there is a concern about a socialist communist agenda of being advanced by some of this country. And the only conclusion that I could draw now is, it simply is not healthy for America. It’s not a good sight for anyone to see.
“It’s time for these troops to come home,” Rogers said. “They’re not cops, they have to be combat-ready. They have to be ready to fight wars, and may I add, they have to be ready to go to areas of the country when they’re called upon to help law enforcement agencies.”
With reporting from NTD reporter Grace Coulter.