Two National Guard members with ties to militia groups removed from inauguration

Alex Woodward
·1 min read

Two National Guard service members have been removed from president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after authorities discovered they have ties to right-wing militia groups.

The discovery follows Defense Department efforts to screen National Guard members as more than 20,000 troops support law enforcement in Washington DC ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, days after a far-right mob breached the US Capitol.

Federal authorities have identified a growing number of law enforcement and military personnel who joined the insurrection on 6 January.

In a statement on Monday, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said that while it’s “normal” to vet service members for “large security events” like the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, the Pentagon has "no intelligence indicating an insider threat. The FBI is assisting with screening efforts.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” he said. “However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The DC National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in DC that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command.”

It was not immediately clear on Tuesday which states the two service members were from or what militia groups they are connected to.

More than 30 sworn police officers from more than a dozen states participated in the rally that incited the riot to support Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and several other officers – as well as US military veterans – joined the mob inside the Capitol, underscoring warnings from civil rights groups about the far-right radicalisation inside law enforcement departments across the US.

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