As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaches, there are an estimated 21,500 National Guard troops, plus thousands more law enforcement officers, stationed throughout the city in anticipation of another civil uprising at the nation's Capitol.
Despite tightened security, the Federal Bureau of Investigations is warning law enforcement officials that followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory may try to infiltrate Wednesday's ceremony by posing as National Guardsmen, according to a report first obtained by The Washington Post.
It is possible that potential fraudsters would dress in fake U.S. military uniforms in an attempt to pose as guardsmen. Troops are being instructed to tell their commanders to say something if they "see or hear something that is not appropriate," Capt. Chelsi B.Johnson, a National Guard spokesperson, told the outlet.
During an intelligence briefing Monday, the FBI summarized a document that outlines numerous threats that have been addressed in the days leading up to the inauguration.
The agency says that despite "suspicious traffic" found, there is "nothing mentions that points to any specific action."
Officials warned that both "lone wolves" and adherents of the QAnon extremist ideology, including some who were present during the Capitol riots two weeks ago, are among those planning to attend the ceremony, the outlet reported.
The FBI also disclosed that people have been downloading and sharing maps of locations throughout Washington that are considered "sensitive". These locations have been referenced as possible ways to interfere in security during the inauguration.
At the briefing, officials declined to go into specifics of the gravity of the threats but reiterated that they will be "extensively" monitoring "online chatter." The Post also refrained from revealing all pieces of the report, to preserve certain confidential pieces that might compromise national security.
The FBI is actively working to decipher the difference been "what's aspirational" and "what's intentional."
Justine Whelan, a Secret Service spokesperson, told the Post that they are taking all threats "seriously" and will "continue to work with our federal, state, local, and military partners" to ensure a safe ceremony.
At least two National Guardsmen were removed from the mission after they were found to have ties to fringe right group militias, the Associated Press reported, citing a U.S. Army official and senior U.S. intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It was not disclosed which radical groups the troops belonged to,
Five people died in the aftermath of the Capitol attacks, including one Capitol police officer.