Twelve National Guard members have been removed from Wednesday's inauguration detail, after vetting by the FBI found them guilty of "questionable behavior," CNN reports.
The Associated Press reports that all 12 were removed for their ties to right-wing extremist groups, while 2 of the members specifically posted fringe right content related to Wednesday's inauguration. “We have two individuals that were identified as making inappropriate comments or texts,” said spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman. He said the other 10 were pulled "for a number of different reasons.” One of the two individuals was reported by a colleague, while the other was found via an anonymous tip.
No further details about the specifics of the groups or the infractions were revealed. Officials who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity called all 12 members "security liabilities.”
“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration," read a statement from the National Guard.
"I'm not concerned as a large part of our organization, if you look at 25,000, we've had 12 identified and some of those they are just looking into, it may be unrelated to this, but we want to make sure out of an abundance of caution as I stated earlier that we do the right thing until that gets cleared up," Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson told reporters. He declined to specify what the nature of the infractions of the other
The National Guard is providing additional security in the form of 25,000 members, following a riot at the Capitol spurred on by outgoing President Donald Trump, that shut down the certification of Biden's election victory and left five people dead. State capitals around the country and Washington D.C. in particular are on high alert, fearing the potential for violence from pro-Trump forces. The United States Postal Service has been wary of its mailboxes near potential targets, removing some of them in the lead-up to Biden's inauguration.
At least two people have already been arrested for attempting to bypass Capitol security using fake credentials. A Virginia man who was caught with a falsified pass was also carrying a loaded firearm and 500 rounds of ammunition.
In the days ahead of Biden assuming power, photos of National Guard members sleeping in the Capitol building have been widely shared. The detail has stayed in the halls of Congress to avoid a repeat of the riot that unfolded earlier this month.