Pentagon Removes 12 From Capitol Duty After Background Checks

The National Guard has removed 12 people from duty protecting the U.S. Capitol after background checks found links to extremists or other issues that raised concerns.

“We’re not taking any chances. Anything that’s flagged is brought to the attention of the command,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman told reporters at a briefing. “We’re not even asking what the flag was, we’re just removing them.”

The two National Guard troops with links to extremism were flagged to the military by law enforcement and an anonymous tip about inappropriate text messages and comments. Hoffman declined to characterize the communications or say if they represented threats against President-elect Joe Biden or other dignitaries.

The other 10 were flagged by law enforcement as they underwent background checks and their removal from service doesn’t necessarily mean the troops were suspected of committing a crime or otherwise unfit for future duty, Hoffman said.

He declined to specify what caught the attention of law enforcement in those cases.

The soldiers were among 25,000 National Guard members sent to secure Wednesday’s inauguration following a Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and fears of more violence.

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