Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said in a statement there was “no intelligence indicating an insider threat” from the National Guard after some reports and at least one Democrat lawmaker suggested that National Guard members securing the inauguration could pose such a threat.
He also confirmed reports that National Guard members were being vetted, but portrayed it as somewhat normal for large security events.
He said in his statement:
As is normal for military support to large security events, the Department will vet National Guardsmen who are in Washington, D.C. While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.
He did, however, acknowledge that the scope of military participation was unique. Federal authorities requested approximately 25,000 National Guardsmen to help secure the inauguration. He added:
However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command. We appreciate the support of the FBI in assisting with this task and for each of the more than 25,000 Guardsmen who answered their Nation’s call and rapidly deployed to the [National Capitol Region].
Earlier in the day, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) suggested that National Guard members were a threat because they were predominantly male and white, and wrongly claimed that only 25 percent of white men voted for Biden.
Cohen said on CNN:
Only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden. You have got to figure that the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative and I see that on my social media, and we know it, they are probably 25 percent of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden.
The other 75 percent are in the class that would be the large class of folks who might want to do something. And there were military people and police who took oath to defend the Constitution and to protect and defend who didn’t do it who were in the insurrection. So it does concern me.
Federal law enforcement, lawmakers, and members of the incoming Biden administration are on edge after some Trump supporters and at least one alleged pro-Black Lives Matter activist, John Sullivan, were arrested after they entered unauthorized into the Capitol building on January 6.
After the breach, local and federal authorities boosted the request for support from the National Guard, and the Pentagon authorized from approximately 6,200 on January 6 to 25,000 on January 15.