Conspiracy theorists may pose as National Guard members to disrupt Biden inauguration, FBI warns
"While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital."
Far-right extremists have reportedly discussed posing at National Guard members in order to disrupt Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to an FBI intelligence report obtained by the Washington Post.
The report, privately distributed to law enforcement agencies on Monday, apparently warned that adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory — which posits that President Donald Trump is waging a one-man crusade against a worldwide child sex trafficking ring — may appear as members of the military as they arrive in Washington D.C. this week.
There are currently more than 25,000 members of the National Guard deployed to the North Capital Region as part of increased security surrounding the Biden inauguration following the violent insurrection that struck the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The FBI is currently screening all 25,000 National Guard members for potential extremist ties and other insider threats ahead of Biden’s inaugural, the Associated Press reported.
“While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” Acting Defense Secretary Christoper Miller said in a statement on Monday.
At least six people with links to the U.S. military are among the more than 100 who federal investigators have identified as participants in the Capitol insurrection, according to the New York Times.
They include a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, an Army reserve sergeant and Navy contractor, a Navy veteran-turned-‘QAnon shaman,’ a Marine veteran, and a National Guard infantryman, among others.
Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and reported QAnon adherent, was shot and killed by a member of the Capitol Police while attempting to enter the Senate chamber during the insurrection.
The sheer number of military veterans who attempted to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 has induced the Defense Department to take a long, hard look at the ever-present problem of extremism in the ranks, according to the New York Times.
“These people are not representative of our country’s military,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told the New York Times in an interview.
Related: The military needs to crack down on extremists within the ranks, Pentagon report finds