WASHINGTON, DC -- A total of a dozen Army National Guard members have now been removed from the inauguration security mission after vetting found they had ties to far-right fringe groups, a U.S. official told ABC News Tuesday.
“We don’t allow extremism of any type in our organization,” said Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Two of the individuals were flagged due to “inappropriate” comments and texts while another 10 were removed for questionable behavior found in the vetting process, Hokanson said.
The twelve Guard members are among the 25,000 National Guard troops who have been sent to Washington to augment security at the inauguration in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Initially Tuesday morning, it was just two Guardsmen who were removed from the mission after vetting conducted by the FBI determined they had ties to extremist groups; that number grew as the day went on.
No details were immediately available about which State Guard units the twelve belonged to or about the nature of of the alleged ties
“Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration," said a National Guard statement that referred additional questions to the U.S. Secret Service.
Every single one of the 25,000 Guardsmen now in D.C. has been vetted by the FBI that carries out background checks as part of the credentialing process, officials said.
The ramp-up in the number of Guardsmen in the nation's capital means there could be four times as many American military service members in the city than there are in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.