Pentagon, Secret Service Prep for Threats to Inauguration Day

National Guard troops who are deployed to Washington, DC, will be armed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2021 12:56 AM CST
Armed National Guard Troops to Be Deployed for Inauguration
A woman walks past security fencing protecting the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Officials in Washington, DC, are preparing for a range of possible threats on Inauguration Day. As many as 15,000 National Guard troops will be deployed to the nation's capital in advance of President-elect Joe Biden taking the oath of office on January 20, and the Pentagon has decided to order them all to bring their weapons with them, sources tell the New York Times. At a minimum, the troops guarding the US Capitol will be armed, the Defense Department sources say. And the Washington Post reports the Secret Service is launching a "massive" security operation that will pull in the FBI, US Marshals Service, and other federal and law enforcement agencies. The Secret Service takes command of security prep at federal buildings in DC on Wednesday, six days earlier than originally planned, as the final days of President Trump's term loom.

The Times' sources say the range of threats being prepared for is wide: Around 16 groups, most of them pro-Trump and some of them promising to be armed, have registered to protest in DC, but officials are also preparing for such "worst-case scenarios" as "suicide-type aircraft," remote-controlled attack drones, coordinated attacks by gunmen, and groups surrounding the Capitol or the White House. Thousands of police and tactical officers will be deployed, roads will be blocked and Metro stations closed, and layers of eight-foot steel and "non-scalable" fencing will be used. "It’s no longer game planning," a former Secret Service official tells the Post. "Radiation protection. Bomb detectors. Amtrak sweeps." NBC 4 reports the White House, Capitol building, and Supreme Court are already fenced off, and the Washington Monument soon will be. Officials are also prepping for possible violence Sunday, as Trump supporters have called for marches in DC and all 50 state capitals. (Read more inauguration stories.)

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