U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an inside attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Associated Press reported.
As a result, the FBI is now vetting all service members on hand in the capital to support the inauguration, an Army official told NBC News on Sunday.
“The Army is working with the FBI to vet all service members supporting the Inauguration National Special Security Event,” the official said.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the AP that officials were conscious of the potential threat, and warned commanders to be on the lookout for any issues as the inauguration approaches.
The heightened security measures come after former and current members of law enforcement agencies and the military appear to have participated in the Capitol insurrection. A corporal in the Virginia National Guard was charged last week in federal court in connection with the violence, which has been linked to five deaths as well as widespread damage throughout the building.
Pentagon officials have told NBC News that they have seen no evidence of any threats.
FBI vetting would involve running peoples’ names through databases and watchlists maintained by the bureau to see if anything alarming comes up.
The Army and the Department of Justice are investigating members for involvement as well, and U.S. Capitol Police announced last week that the agency had suspended “several” of its own and will investigate at least 10 officers for their actions.
The FBI’s vetting of all service members is a change from last week when the Army said it was working with the Secret Service to determine which troops would require additional background screening.
Security in Washington D.C. has been dramatically tightened since Jan. 6, when pro-Trump supporters overran the Capitol and tried to stop the certification of Biden as next president. There are 25,000 National Guard troops on hand in Washington for this inauguration, with more armed Guard troops than in the past, a defense official told NBC News.