By: Daniel Carson — Community Editor
National security concerns have arisen surrounding President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, which is planned to be held on January 20th, just two weeks after right-wing insurrectionists raided the Capitol Building.
On January 6th, right-wing extremist Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Building while the Senate was in session in an attempt to interrupt the certification of President-Elect Biden’s election victory. Outnumbering the Capitol Police, rioters continued to push back barriers until they were able to gain entry to the building itself.
Officials are concerned that similar violence could occur on Biden’s Inauguration Day.
In an intelligence bulletin, officials wrote that right-wing extremists aiming to incite a second Civil War “may exploit the aftermath of the Capitol breach by conducting attacks to destabilize and force a climactic conflict in the United States.”
Since the breach at the Capitol, U.S. intelligence services have been tracking Chinese, Iranian, and Russian efforts to instigate further violence.
In an effort to prevent conflict at the inauguration the FBI, Secret Service, and National Guard, as well as local D.C. area police have taken drastic steps. 25,000 troops have been mobilized to protect the Capitol, a number nearly three times greater than the American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. In addition, two “First Amendment Zones” have been designated for peaceful protests in downtown Washington D.C.
But in a National Park Service statement officials said that the capacity of these areas for protestors are severely limited. “Based on the current assessment, no more than 100 individuals at each location can be safely accommodated,” they said.
David P. Pekoske, the T.S.A. administrator, said in a statement that along with the security measures in place for the January 20th inauguration, the T.S.A along with the FBI are vetting hundreds of passengers attempting to travel to Washington D.C. in the coming days. “Our intelligence and vetting professionals are working diligently around the clock to ensure those who may pose a threat to our aviation sector undergo enhanced screening or are prevented from boarding an aircraft,” said Pekoske.
A separate bulletin from the Department of Justice noted that commercial airlines across the country have tracked a rise in passengers checking in firearms as they attempt to travel to the D.C. area.
In response to this, most large airlines have banned firearms in not only carry-ons but checked baggage as well on all flights to Washington D.C.
In a joint F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security bulletin obtained by The New York Times, federal officials wrote that right-wing extremists “remain a concern due to their ability to act with little to no warning, willingness to attack civilians and soft targets, and ability to inflict significant casualties with weapons that do not require specialized knowledge.”
“We saw white extremists storm the Capitol building who were trained and organized, we all have to think about a new posture,” said Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington D.C.
image from bbc.co.uk