A reported tip-off from the FBI has the US bracing for violence ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden.
A document obtained by The Washington Post, which reportedly contains police intelligence, warns of far-right extremists posing as National Guard members and suggests some may have reviewed vulnerable areas in Washington to attack.
Biden is set to be inaugurated on Wednesday (local time) and US President Donald Trump does not plan on being in attendance.
US defence officials are concerned about insider attacks which has led the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on 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.
So far, however, he 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.
”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” Mr McCarthy said.
The insider threat, however, was just one of the security concerns voiced by officials on Sunday, as dozens of military, National Guard, law enforcement and Washington, DC, officials and commanders went through a security rehearsal in northern Virginia.
As many as three dozen leaders lined tables that ringed a massive colour-coded map of DC reflected onto the floor. Behind them were dozens more National Guard officers and staff, with their eyes trained on additional maps and charts displayed on the wall.
The Secret Service is in charge of event security, but there is a wide variety of military and law enforcement personnel involved, ranging from the National Guard and the FBI to Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, US Capitol Police and US Park Police.
Commanders went over every aspect of the city’s complicated security lockdown, with Mr McCarthy and others peppering them with questions about how the troops will respond in any scenario and how well they can communicate with the other enforcement agencies scattered around the city.
The confirmation of a Biden presidency on January 6 was marred by violence from supporters of Trump, leading to the deaths of five people at the US Capitol building.
Trump had, in the months before the attack, unfoundedly claimed the election was rigged.
It led to Trump’s Twitter account being suspended over concerns he was inciting violence.
with The Associated Press
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