12 National Guard members removed from Biden inauguration after vetting

Inauguration Day

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Twelve National Guard members have been removed from the mission providing security for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration due to issues that arose during the vetting process, U.S. defense officials confirmed.

Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and General Daniel Hokanson, of the National Guard Bureau, spoke to reporters Tuesday. The briefing comes as the FBI works to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops headed to the Washington, D.C., area for Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Gen. Hokanson said that 12 National Guard members who were removed from the mission were done so out of an abundance of caution. Hokanson singled out two who he said were removed due to “inappropriate” comments or texts. He said one was removed after being flagged by the chain of command while the other was through anonymous reporting.

Hokanson declined to clarify reasoning for the removal of the other 10 identified.

There was no specific threat to Biden.

“If there’s any identification and if there’s anything whatsoever that needs to be looked into, out of an abundance of caution, we automatically pull those personnel off the line and make sure they’re not part of the mission,” Hokanson said. “In certain cases, we make sure that we get them sent home.”

A Pentagon spokesman said the vetting went beyond ties to extremist groups.

Hoffman said they cover any “questionable behavior in the past or any potential link to questionable behavior.”

“We’re not asking questions right now,” Hoffman said. “We’re not asking question of people who are flagged. We’re out of an abundance of caution, taking action, and immediately removing them from the line of duty at the Capitol and the events taking place, and then we will address them whether it’s through law enforcement, if necessary, or through their own chain of command.”

U.S. defense officials have been worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 by supporters of President Donald Trump. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat.

Miller said the vetting is “normal for military support to large security events… While we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Check back with NewsNation for updates.

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