At present, Biden’s inauguration has attracted global attention. However, in addition to fear of external attacks, possible internal security loopholes also keep security personnel busy.
In preparation for Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. National Guard is “takingly painstakingly”. Earlier, the National Guard issued a statement that 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be deployed from the states to Washington, D.C., to ensure the smooth inauguration ceremony.
At present, in addition to the 3.6-meter-high fence outside the Capitol, the U.S. Secret Service has also divided Washington into “red zones” and “green districts”.
Those who want to pass through the green zone must show their documents; while the “red zone” is only for authorized vehicles to pass.
Foreign media described that this was not a festive inauguration ceremony, and Washington, D.C., turned into a “military base”.
In addition to internal checkpoints, the public transportation system near Congress, 13 subway stations in Washington, D.C. and the suburbs will also be closed.
Despite such careful preparations, it still can’t stand the unexpected. On January 18th local time, the U.S. Capitol was rehearsing for the inauguration ceremony intensively.
However, a small fire broke out in the homeless camp about a mile away. The rehearsal ceremony was immediately suspended, the relevant personnel were required to evacuate, and the Capitol was urgently closed.
Although it was finally found to be a “false alarm”, the Associated Press captured an unusual breath, pointing out that “anxiety is still soaring”.
No wonder they are anxious, because in addition to external threats that need to be guarded against at all times, there may also be internal security loopholes.
Defense officials say they are worried about internal attacks.
According to the Washington Post, investigators found several people with links to law enforcement and the military among Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 local time, increasing concerns about potential internal threats.
Not only the people, but also officials expressed the same concern.
Defense officials said they feared internal attacks or other threatening acts by military involved in securing Biden’s inauguration, according to the Associated Press.
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said officials were aware of the potential threat, warning commanders to focus on issues within the military as the inauguration was approaching. McCarthy pointed out that they are constantly reviewing each person involved in the activity twice or even three times.
In addition to internal reviews, the FBI will be involved in reviewing all 25,000 National Guard soldiers responsible for safeguarding inauguration activities. The Associated Press pointed out that although the military regularly reviews whether service personnel are linked to extremists, the FBI’s investigation will complement previous reviews.
National Guard Director Daniel Hockenson believes that the current procedure is sufficient to identify any potential threat.
He noted that “if there is any indication that our soldier or pilot has expressed extremist views, we either hand him over to law enforcement or immediately to the chain of command superiors”.
Secret Service found that someone released the details of the operation.
Details of the inauguration ceremony were also leaked.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller confirmed that the FBI was indeed assisting the Department of Defense in vetting the 25,000 National Guard soldiers participating in the inauguration ceremony, but the review was “normal” for major security incidents.
“We currently have no intelligence to prove an internal threat, and we will do everything we can to keep Washington, DC safe,” Miller said in a statement. He added, “Law enforcement usually conducts censorship before a major security incident.
However, considering that the scope of military participation is unique (so the FBI participation review was enabled).
Despite Miller’s repeated emphasis on censorship as “normal”, internal threats are “nothing.” However, a notice issued by the U.S. Secret Service still attracted people’s attention.
The Secret Service announcement said that many people in the National Guard posted photos and details of their operations on the Internet.
The announcement said that no service personnel should publish photos of the location and descriptions of the operation related to the current operation online, and urged them to stop these behaviors immediately.
U.S. media said that the censorship reflected concerns about extremism in the military.
Concerns about internal security loopholes have a long history.
The Washington Post reported that through a close scrutiny of the National Guard, it reflected the Pentagon’s growing extremism among veterans and active-duty military personnel, including their support for white nationalism and anti-government organizations.
The authorities acknowledge that eradicating the problem has proved challenging, which also reflects the trend of American society to some extent.
More than one-third of active-duty military personnel and more than half of ethnic minority soldiers said they have witnessed white nationalism and racist behavior in the military, including the use of discriminatory language, according to a survey released last year by the Military Times.
Why is there extremism within the army?
A Fox News report tried to give an answer. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, pointed out that 90% of the National Guard are men, while only 20% of white men voted for Biden.
Cohen seriously concluded that “at least 75% of the National Guard want to do something to Biden.”
However, Cohen’s remarks were immediately refuted by CNN reporters, saying that Trump supporters could not be confused with those involved in violent threats. The Washington Post also pointed out that Cohen was implying that Trump’s supporters are demagogues.
MarketWatch notes that the connection between the U.S. military and white nationalists dates back to the 1990s, when many extremists saw military service as an opportunity to hone combat skills and recruit new people.
White nationalists with military training experience may have violence after retirement. For example, in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1994, the murderer McVeigh was a veteran who participated in the First Gulf War.
The connection between the army and extremists has also attracted the attention of parliamentarians.
In 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a provision requiring screening potential recruiters for white racist tendencies, which would be part of the Pentagon’s annual budget. However, the Senate deleted this clause before submitting the bill for Trump to sign.
Military experts expressed different ideas.
They believe that if Congress can prohibit white nationalists from joining the army, these extremists will not only not receive military training, but also their important recruitment networks can be cut off.