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Two National Guardsmen Removed from Inauguration Duty over Ties to Militia Groups

Members of the National Guard arrive to the U.S. Capitol days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 11, 2021. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Two Army National Guard members were removed Tuesday from the security operation to secure President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after they were found to have ties to fringe right group militias, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

No plot against Biden was uncovered.

Defense Department officials did not reveal what unit the Guard members serve in or to what fringe groups they belong.

“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration,” the National Guard said, adding that further questions should be directed to the Secret Service.

The FBI is vetting service members who will be providing security for the inauguration on Wednesday due to defense officials’ concerns about a potential insider attack this week.

About 25,000 National Guard troops from various states have been sent to Washington as officials in the city work to ensure the inauguration will be secure in the wake of the deadly riot at the Capitol earlier this month.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Monday that some members of the military were at President Trump’s rally in front of the White House just before the Capitol riot and warned military officers to be aware of potential issues among service members but said that they have seen no evidence of threats so far.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller also said Monday that no intelligence indicating an insider threat has been uncovered yet.

“As is normal for military support to large security events, the Department will vet National Guardsmen who are in Washington, DC. While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” Miller said. “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.”

Biden will be inaugurated on January 20, exactly two weeks after a group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing their way past security and into the halls of Congress. The violence ended with five dead.

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