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National Guard Commanders on Alert for Inside Attack on Inauguration, Army Secretary Says

Newsweek logo Newsweek 1/18/2021 Christina Zhao
a man wearing a suit and tie: Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill December 03, 2019. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill December 03, 2019.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has warned National Guard commanders to be on the lookout for any potential inside threats from service members assigned to security operations for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Concerns about a possible inside attack among defense officials have prompted the FBI to screen tens of thousands of National Guard troops sent to Washington D.C. to help secure Biden's inauguration, according to the Associated Press.

"We're continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation," McCarthy told the outlet on Sunday.

The official noted that the vetting has not yet produced any evidence of such threats, and leaders have also not seen other evidence to suggest any problems from within their ranks. Regardless, he said that National Guard members are being trained to identify potential insider threats.

Fears of violence surrounding Biden's inauguration have mounted in the days following the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, which left five dead, including a Capitol police officer.

Multiple officials told the outlet that the FBI began screening the Guard troops over a week ago and will likely conclude the process by inauguration day. "The question is, is that all of them? Are there others?" McCarthy said. "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."

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Newsweek reached out to the Defense Department for comment.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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