With U.S.-President-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated Wednesday, the FBI is conducting security screening of the 25,000 members of the National Guard assigned to Washington to protect the event amid worries of a potential insider attack.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press that he and other leaders have not seen evidence of any threats, and that so far the vetting had not turned up any issues among the Guard members.
McCarthy said there are intelligence reports suggesting outside groups are organizing armed rallies ahead of Inauguration Day.
Security is an even bigger focus than usual with the inauguration coming two weeks after thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. Trump had urged them to march to the building as lawmakers met to certify Biden’s victory.
The immediate area around the Capitol is a virtual armed encampment, with fencing and concertina wire encircling the grounds. Authorities have also closed the National Mall along with roads and Metro stations in much of downtown Washington. Bridges into the city from the state of Virginia are also being closed. Thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers are stationed across the area to protect against further violence.
Despite the heightened security concerns, Biden plans to go ahead with the inauguration ceremony in its traditional location. (VOA)