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Pentagon Marching The place It As soon as Feared to Go: Armed Troops on the Streets

International interference which may be masked as home unrest is one other level of concern. If the protesters can not get close to the inaugural occasions, Division of Homeland Safety officers are frightened they could flip to cyberinterference, in an effort to black out Mr. Biden’s first phrases to the nation, and the world. There are comparable issues about infrastructure assaults, maybe removed from the inaugural occasions, that will convey a way of chaos, at a second that Mr. Biden is looking for a restoration of order.

The choice Tuesday night time by the Military secretary to arm some of the National Guard troops deploying to Washington got here after a gathering with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Ms. Pelosi, in accordance with congressional employees members, demanded that the Pentagon take a extra muscular and proactive posture to the inauguration than it did final week, when Protection Division officers waited till Trump loyalists overtook the Capitol earlier than deploying extra troops. And even then, these troops that confirmed up didn’t carry deadly weapons.

This contrasts sharply to the Nationwide Guard response over the spring in the course of the Black Lives Matter protests. Many states known as up the Nationwide Guard troops, and in Washington, two navy helicopters, in a present of power, terrified protesters in Chinatown, producing winds much like a tropical storm.

The overwhelming majority of navy forces in Washington will probably be Nationwide Guard. But a small number of elite commandos from the Joint Particular Operations Command, a secretive command based mostly at Fort Bragg, N.C., will probably be available, as they’re for each inauguration, to assist counter any terrorist assault or different nationwide emergency, particularly any involving nuclear, chemical or organic weapons.

Pentagon officers specific deep fear about protests that are planned for the inauguration. Some 16 teams — a few of them saying they are going to be armed and most of them made up of hard-line supporters of Mr. Trump — have registered to stage protests in Washington, officers stated.

One Protection Division official stated regulation enforcement companies are planning for a spread of outcomes, together with a worse-case state of affairs through which individuals with firearms attempt to assault dignitaries, “suicide sort plane” attempt to fly into the Capitol’s restricted airspace and even remote-controlled drones that might be used to assault the group.

A second Pentagon official expressed fear a couple of repeat of the pipe bombs that were placed in Washington final week. The official stated regulation enforcement companies have been additionally frightened that some protesters had threatened to point out up on the properties of lawmakers, or to focus on their households.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.

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