Two Army National Guard members have been removed from inauguration day duty after the vetting process showed that they had connections to far-right militia groups. According to a USA Today report, the two guard members had ties to "fringe, right-wing militias," though the names of the organizations were not specified. The news comes amid fears that there may not be time to ensure that all security personnel present are trustworthy.
U.S. Army officials anonymously said that two Guard members have been removed, but that no plot against Biden or the inauguration itself was uncovered in the process. The extent of these individuals' connection to far-right militias, and whether or not there was a connection between them, remains unknown. The sources said that it was against Defense Department policy to give more information, and the Secret Service said the same when asked for a statement.
"Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration," the statement read. The Secret Service is heading up security for inauguration day in general, as more attacks along the lines of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot have been threatened.
The Pentagon announced this weekend that it was vetting all 25,000 National Guard members who would be at the inauguration this weekend in the hopes of determining whether they have ties to the far-right or criminal backgrounds. However, some skeptics have questioned how thorough such a vetting process could be in so short a time.
"The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?" Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press. "We need to be conscious of it and we need to put all of the mechanisms in place to thoroughly vet these men and women who would support any operations like this."
Still, the precautions are necessary, as the FBI warned on Monday that QAnon followers have discussed disguising themselves as National Guard members in their online plotting for another attack. The bureau's security bulletin was obtained by The Washington Post, warning other law enforcement agencies that militias and "lone wolves" alike had designs on the inauguration. There have been credible threats made at all 50 state capitol buildings as well, the FBI said.
At the time of this writing, Washington D.C. appears to be on track for a secure and celebratory presidential inauguration. Biden will be sworn in at 12 p.m. ET on Jan. 20, 2021.