Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on January 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Virginia National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on January 17, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Fearing Possible 'Insider Attack,' Feds Vetting 25,000 National Guard Troops Ahead of Biden Inauguration

"The very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president."

Jake Johnson

Federal authorities are heavily vetting the tens of thousands of National Guard troops that are heading to Washington, D.C. from around the nation to help secure President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, additional screening reportedly prompted by fears of a possible "insider attack" on the event by right-wing extremists among the soldiers' ranks.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that all 25,000 National Guard members deployed to D.C. are undergoing FBI vetting that involves "running peoples' names through databases and watchlists maintained by the bureau to see if anything alarming comes up." The FBI screening, which has reportedly not yet turned up evidence of a plot, is being conducted on top of routine vetting carried out by the U.S. military.

"The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters," AP noted. "And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance."

Concerns of an attack by National Guard members come in addition to growing fears of violence by outside right-wing extremist groups emboldened by President Donald Trump's incessant lies about the 2020 election and the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building, which left five people dead. Trump—who, along with Republican lawmakers, incited the attack—has said he will not attend Biden's inauguration and reportedly plans to leave Washington, D.C. for Florida on the morning of the event.

The presence of white nationalists and other right-wing extremists within the ranks of the U.S. armed forces has long alarmed observers. As HuffPost's Christopher Mathias tweeted in response to the FBI's heightened security vetting, "In 2019, I wrote a series of stories exposing a dozen U.S. servicemen as members of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa."

"Among them were two National Guardsmen... both of whom, after being exposed as fascists, were allowed to stay in the National Guard," Mathias wrote.

Citing Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, the AP reported Sunday that "service members from across the military" attended the January 6 pro-Trump rally near the White House that precipitated the deadly January 6 invasion of the Capitol Building.

"It's not clear how many were there or who may have participated in the breach at the Capitol," AP reported. "So far only a couple of current active-duty or National Guard members have been arrested in connection with the Capitol assault."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·


'This Is on You!' Beto Interrupts Abbott Press Conference on Texas Massacre

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke accused Texas' GOP leaders of "doing nothing and offering us nothing" in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo