NATIONAL Guard troops are preparing for improvised explosive device threats ahead of Inauguration Day – and have been sleeping on the Capitol building floor.
The units have been told that individuals planning to attack the Capitol leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration may use IEDs, two Guardsmen briefed on the matter told Politico on Wednesday.
Last week, an individual planted bombs at the Democratic National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters and law enforcement officials in Washington, DC, think it could happen again.
The individual responsible for those IEDs has not been arrested.
FBI agents have been asking residents for photos and videos that could help them capture the suspect, two neighbors told Politico.
Law enforcement agencies have been ramping up their efforts to protect the Capitol, after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building last Wednesday in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win.
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of National Guard troops slept on the stone floor of the Capitol building with their rifles and riot gear beside them.
The National Guard members slept were spotted lying down in various parts of the Capitol building, including the Rotunda and the visitor’s center.
Some of the troops leaned their heads against statues, or used their backpacks as pillows.
Republican Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Mike Waltz gave boxes of pizza out to the troops.
Outside the Capitol building, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi thanked the troops for their “commitment to our American democracy.”
Civil authorities including the DC Metropolitan Police Department requested the National Guard units, and up to 20,000 Guardsmen could be stationed at the Capitol over the next few days.
While some National Guard units are trained to respond to IEDs, including infantry and military police and combat engineers, not all Guardsmen have been, especially if they have not been deployed overseas.
National Guard spokesperson Tracy O’Grady Walsh did not comment on whether Guardsmen at the Capitol were briefed the IED threat.
O’Grady Walsh said the National Guard’s objective is to support local authorities with crowd management, traffic control, medical and logistical support and coordinating parking, and that “the public’s safety is our top priority.”
The right-wing extremest group Patriot Actions for America is organizing and encouraging a violent rally at the Capitol on Jan. 16, according to an unclassified Secret Service intelligence bulletin obtained by Politico.
After thousands of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol with relative ease, National Guard troops and police officers are fortifying the building with an increases presence and anti-climb steel fences.
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