Twelve National Guard members have been removed from inauguration duties and sent home, following screenings to see if any of the troops were involved in extremist activity, Defense Department officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Two of the troops made threatening comments about politicians via text and on social media, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters. He would not reveal the exact threats, only saying they were "inappropriate." The other 10 National Guard members were removed due to domestic abuse, criminal investigations, and outstanding complaints, The New York Times reports.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, officials have been looking to root out any troops with anti-government or white supremacist sympathies, and the FBI helped the military vet the more than 25,000 National Guard members being deployed to D.C amid the inaugural festivities. "At this point, we don't have the time to rundown every single piece of information," Hokanson said. "But there's enough information for us to determine to remove them from the Capitol."
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Hokanson and other officials stressed that most of the National Guard troops are dedicated to protecting the United States, with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) saying in a statement they "put their lives on hold to answer the call to service. They will defend the U.S. Capitol with their lives, and I trust them implicitly with mine."
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