The Secret Service, armed members of the FBI, around 15,000 National Guard troops, and even Amtrak officials, will be on hand to protect President-elect Joe Biden, federal lawmakers, and the United States Capitol in the week leading up to the Inauguration, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
Photos, released Wednesday, show uniformed National Guard soldiers already on duty in the Capitol building, in some cases “asleep or resting on floors inside the Capitol, their black rifles leaning against the polished stone walls of the building’s halls,” per the International Business Times.
Wednesday morning, operations began in earnest for the Inauguration and a group of more than 40 separate agencies united under a Multi-Agency Command Center, or MACC, in preparation for possible violence.
“On Wednesday, the Secret Service will take command of security preparations at the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings, backed by as many as 15,000 National Guard troops, thousands of police and tactical officers, and layers of eight-foot steel fencing,” WaPo reported. “The high-alert security posture is starting six days earlier than planned to coordinate roles for the FBI, National Guard, U.S. Marshals Service, and a host of other federal agencies that will fall under Secret Service command.”
The task force reportedly met for the first time on Wednesday “at the Secret Service’s Washington field office where hundreds of people will work in 12-hour shifts to protect the city amid three new violent threats against the Capitol, which was attacked by a mob of MAGA supporters last week,” the Daily Mail added.
Federal agencies are also lending a hand to states, over concerns that protests are already planned for all 50 state capitals on Inauguration Day.
“Everyone can just rest assured they are throwing the kitchen sink at this event,” a Secret Service source told The Washington Post.
An additional source noted to WaPo that the MACC is designed to create a central hub for coordinating security efforts across Washington, D.C., and, in some cases, across the country — something that was not in place last week when a rally in support of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of November’s presidential election turned into a riot and an attack on the United States Capitol that left five people dead.
In the wake of last week’s incident, the Capitol Police and the Defense Department are pointing fingers at each other, arguing over whether the city of Washington, D.C., asked for help in an appropriate way, and whether National Guard troops should have been deployed earlier given that investigative agencies now say signs of the coming violence were evident in the days ahead of the rally. Both agencies do seem to agree that the response was lacking.
Sources told The Washington Post that the agency wants to avoid repeating last week’s mistakes.
“Unlike January 6, nobody has to ask for the National Guard anymore,” the source told the outlet. “Nobody has to send out an emergency call for the FBI SWAT team. They’re all there, pre-positioned and ready. Radiation protection. Bomb detectors. Amtrak sweeps. All the security personnel – they’re all now in place.”
President-elect Biden is planning on being sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol despite the security risk.
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