No Big, FBI Just Worried About ‘Insider Attack’ During Biden Inauguration
We are two days away from the end of Donald Trump's presidency. Now we just need to make sure Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stay alive. According to the Associated Press, US defense officials are concerned that MAGA goons might've infiltrated Biden's inauguration. Yes, they're actually worried about an “insider attack" against the president-elect from servicemembers assigned to secure the event. The FBI is in the process of vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington. That doesn't seem like a lot of time. Sarah Palin had a lengthier vetting process and we saw how that turned out.
This does not look like a party or a peaceful transition. It stands out as more than just petty now that the outgoing president won't attend his successor's inauguration for the first time since 1869. Trump's just been impeached for raising a lynch mob against Congress and his own vice president. Leaving Washington DC early Wednesday morning seems to draw a big honking target on the event, which should really be virtual for the safety of all involved. The situation calls for a nice, comfy bunny slippers inauguration from secure locations.
It only takes one Trump true believer to make a tragedy.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy revealed on Sunday that his team is aware of the potential threat, but there's no evidence so far of any issues. That's still not reassuring.
"We're continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation," McCarthy said in an interview after he and other military leaders went through an exhaustive, three-hour security drill in preparation for Wednesday's inauguration. He said Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats.
Presumably, the vetting process is more extensive than seeing who responds positively to “Hail, Hydra."
How did we get to this point? No one was seriously worried about al Qaeda sympathizers infiltrating George W. Bush's second inauguration in 2004. Now we're on high alert for servicemembers who were radicalized by QAnon or just maybe by watching too much Tucker Carlson. This is all on Trump.
Not all of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol were losers bonding with their equally disturbed mothers. There were also ex-members of the military and police and way too many active employees of the armed services and law enforcement.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
"It's an incredibly disturbing trend," retired U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey D. McCausland, a professor of national security at Dickinson College and former dean at the U.S. Army War College, said in an interview. "These are people who are supposed to uphold the Constitution and the law, yet they were doing the exact opposite.
McCarthy points out that while servicemembers from all branches of the military were at the January 6 rally, they don't know how many in total attended or actually breached the Capitol. That's a lot of uncertainty. This also wasn't simply a conservative cookout. The so-called “Save America Rally," also known as “Stop the Steal," promoted the fascist Big Lie that Trump's "landslide" election victory was stolen from him.
The existing threat against Biden's inauguration includes devoted Trump supporters, far-right militants, white supremacists and other radical groups. This Venn diagram appears to look a lot like a circle.
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, is meeting with troops as they arrive in DC.
"If there's any indication that any of our soldiers or airmen are expressing things that are extremist views, it's either handed over to law enforcement or dealt with the chain of command immediately," he said.
The normal FBI vetting process involves running names through databases and watchlists, but it's not clear if affiliation with QAnon or MAGA in general would raise flags. It might seem extreme to exclude Trump supporters, but very few trust the election results. Assuming they'd do their best to defend an incoming president they believe is illegitimate is asking a lot of their ability to compartmentalize. Personally, the best bet is to just recruit a few thousand Black aunts with switches and call it good. We know they won't let anything happen to Joe and Kamala.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."