The Defense Department will “vet” the National Guard troops present in Washington, DC that are meant to ensure a safe inauguration ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden later this week, acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said Monday.
In a statement, Miller said that it was “normal” for the vetting procedure to take place when there are large security events.
But the US official said there was no intelligence indicating an “insider threat,” as had been reported in recent days in US media. Nevertheless, “we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” he said about Wednesday’s event at the US Capitol complex.
Miller did admit, however, that the scope of the military participation was “unique.” He added that there were more than 25,000 troops “who answered their Nation’s call and rapidly deployed to the NCR.”
The Pentagon has also reportedly deployed more than 700 troops to help with safety measures.
The DC National Guard is currently providing additional training to troops that come to DC from out of town. The FBI is also helping coordinate to ensure a safe inauguration ceremony after the chaos that broke out on Jan. 6 following a raid of the Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
During the riot, some Trump supporters called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Democrat Biden’s November election victory.
In a measure of how nervous the capital city has become, US Capitol Police on Monday briefly locked down the Capitol complex and paused inaugural rehearsals after a small explosion at a nearby homeless encampment. Authorities urged staff working inside the complex to stay away from exterior windows and those outside the building to take cover as they briefly prohibited entry and exit from the grounds as a precaution.
Visitors and tourists have been urged to avoid the DC-area until after the inauguration.
- with Reuters