(AmericanPoliticalDaily)- Units from the National Guard are being warned to prepare for possible “improvised explosive devices” being used by people plotting attacks on the U.S. Capitol in days around next week’s presidential inauguration.
A Politico report cited two Guardsmen who were briefed on the situation. They indicated law enforcement in Washington, D.C., believes IEDs that were planted at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee last week weren’t isolated incidents.
The person suspected of planting those bombs hasn’t been apprehended yet. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been going door-to-door in Washington, D.C., asking residents if they have any videos or photos that could help identify the suspect, Politico reported.
Guardsmen are also being prepped for the possibility that protesters in the city next week could come heavily armed. Guardsmen have been authorized to carry lethal weapons by Ryan McCarthy, the Army secretary. Previously, Guardsmen could only carry protective gear. A good number of the Guardsmen will be carrying M-4 rifles, while others will have M-9 handguns.
Tracy O’Grady Walsh, a spokesperson for the National Guard, said:
“Our primary objective is to provide support to local authorities. The public’s safety is our top priority.”
The National Guard, according to Walsh, will provide traffic control, crowd management, parking coordination, as well as medical and logistical support to local agencies during the inauguration.
This week into next, as many as 20,000 Guardsmen will likely be stationed around the city. Civil authorities as well as the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department requested the support.
Walsh said that some Guardsmen are trained for IED response, typically in advance of any deployment overseas. It’s standard that Guardsmen are trained to respond to civil disturbances.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling spoke to Politico about the process of identifying and stopping IEDs. He said:
“The most important element of defeating IEDs is knowing what to look for, knowing where to look, and understanding how to either quickly defuse or mark them for eventual destruction.”
IED training, he said, principally involves “early reconnaissance of anticipated routes by drones and engineers and scouts, the use of intelligence to plot and predict potential locations of placements of IEDs that would cause the most damage or destruction, and the interference of networks.”
Politico obtained an unclassified intelligence bulletin the U.S. Secret Service compiled. It warned that at least one extremist group that sides with the right “is organizing and encouraging a violent demonstration” at the U.S. Capitol on January 16. That group is known as Patriot Actions for America.
That report from the USSS relied primarily on social media materials. Local law enforcement also said they are tracking a “Million Militia March” that’s been planned for Inauguration Day. They warned that “although no civil disobedience has been confirmed, organizers have encouraged attendees to bring weapons to the event through the use of images of weapons on promotional materials for the event. The group claims they will not attack, but defend.”