Republican Gov. Greg Abbott (TX) on Monday night ripped into the so-called “loyalty” screening of tens of thousands of National Guards troops to secure the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Linking to a piece from The Washington Post concerning the excess screening of 25,000 National Guard troops, Abbott posted: “This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard. No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard.”
Notably, service members are already screened for ties to extremism or other potential flags. Thus, the latest screenings seem to be excessive and perhaps linked to suspicion directed at supporters of President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot. The Associated Press in a Monday report on the screening, for example, named supporters of the president as potential threats to a Biden inauguration.
“I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this,” warned Abbott.
“[T]he Defense Department, assisted by the FBI, will conduct special vetting for National Guard personnel in Washington, who are expected to number up to 25,000 for the inauguration on Wednesday, said acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller,” The Washington Post reported.
“While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” said Miller in a statement.
The Post noted, “Even as expected follow-on protests have failed to materialize, authorities have promised to keep a high alert throughout a scaled-back inauguration.”
The AP reported Monday that U.S. defense officials have said they are conducting the vetting process out of concern about an “insider attack or other threat” from service members involved in securing the inauguration.
The “threats against Biden’s inauguration,” AP underscored, “have been fueled by supporters of President Donald Trump, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups”:
Insider threats have been a persistent law enforcement priority in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But in most cases, the threats are from homegrown insurgents radicalized by al-Qaida, the Islamic State group or similar groups. In contrast, the threats against Biden’s inauguration have been fueled by supporters of President Donald Trump, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups. Many believe Trump’s baseless accusations that the election was stolen from him, a claim that has been refuted by many courts, the Justice Department and Republican officials in key battleground states.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Sunday that “officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches,” the report states, noting that, thus far, McCarthy and other leaders “say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues that they were aware of.”
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