- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Army will not investigate thousands of National Guard troops that have been deployed to Washington, D.C., in the leadup to next week’s presidential inauguration to uncover evidence of potential extremism that could disrupt the event.

Rep. Jason Crow, Colorado Democrat, asked Army Secretary Ryan McCatrhy to authorize a military criminal investigation into “troops deployed for the inauguration to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”

In a phone call, Mr. McCarthy agreed to take “additional measures” related to the request but stopped short of promising a full investigation into the 10,000-15,000 troops that have been deployed to the nation’s capital.

“The Army is working with the Secret Service to determine which service members supporting the national special security event for the inauguration require additional background screening,” the Army said in a statement Tuesday. 

“Per Department of Defense policy, all service members are trained annually on the Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (TARP), which requires department personnel to report any information regarding known or suspected extremist behavior that could be a threat to the department or the United States.”

The Army said that “there is no place for extremism in the military, and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action.”

Several American service members have been identified as taking part in the riots last week, including Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was killed in an attempt to enter the Capitol building. Five people, including one Capitol Police officer, died as part of the incident. 

Two Democratic lawmakers have also demanded that the Pentagon take steps to penalize any current or former members of the military who were involved in the riots. 

“If accurate, it would be a disgraceful insult to the vast majority of servicemembers who honorably serve our nation in accordance with the core values of their respective Services,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat and Iraq War veteran, said Tuesday amid reports that a number of current or former service members played a role in the incident. 

“Upholding good order and discipline demands that the U.S. Armed Forces root out extremists that infiltrate the military and threaten our national security,” she continued. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democrat and U.S. Marine veteran, over the weekend also called for an investigation.

“In attacking the Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution that they swore to protect, any current or former military members who may have participated have disgraced themselves and committed serious crimes against the people of the United States,” he said. “Any such individuals should have the book thrown at them for violating their oaths and duty to the nation.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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