20,000 National Guard troops expected in Washington for Biden's inauguration

CNN's Brian Todd looks at the reinforced security around the Capitol building as the second impeachment of President Donald Trump begins and the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaches.

Posted: Jan 13, 2021 12:57 PM
Updated: Jan 13, 2021 7:00 PM


More than 20,000 National Guard members could be in the nation's capital to help secure President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, as sources tell CNN that officials are considering raising the terrorism threat level and are worried about explosives being used in the capital city.

The US Secret Service on Wednesday officially took charge of security for Biden's inauguration as authorities warned of new threats across the country after last week's violence at the Capitol.

Multiple defense officials have told CNN that the National Guard and law enforcement expect improvised explosive devices (IEDs), like pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails, to be a threat in the unrest surrounding the inauguration in Washington. The planning is to assume perpetrators will come with high 'aggression,' one senior defense official said.

'Their intentions are very serious,' the official added.

FBI Director Chris Wray and other federal officials said Wednesday on a call with nationwide law enforcement leaders they remain concerned about the prospect of extremists appearing at planned rallies and conducting violence, a source said.

The physical security perimeter around the Capitol and other key buildings also continues to expand. Road blocks and steel barriers are extending many blocks from the Capitol. Road blocks are also being set up further out from the White House and the National Naval Observatory, where the vice president lives.

The Secret Service is leading the overall security effort working in coordination with federal law enforcement agencies and the Pentagon. Multiple senior defense officials told CNN that there is a major interagency 'requirements' meeting Wednesday to discuss in depth security requirements.

Asked if he's ever seen this much law enforcement reinforcement coming to the District, the newly installed Washington, DC, Police Chief Robert Contee, who is a veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department and a lifelong DC resident, answered, 'not at this level, no.'

Massive National Guard presence in Washington

Multiple defense officials tell CNN that the total request for National Guard is close to 30,000 guardsmen to support US Capitol Police, Park Police and Washington Metropolitan Police Department but officials believe that the actual number needed is closer to 20,000. The final numbers will be provided by the Secret Service.

The officials added that there is no concern that there will be any shortage of Guard forces to meet requirements from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The more than 20,000 National Guard members expected for Biden's inauguration is more than three times the number of active duty US troops currently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined, a staggering statistic that underscores just how massive the security presence will be.

The Defense Department is meeting Trump's January 15 deadline to draw down the number of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500 in each country, according to the Pentagon. About 900 US troops will remain in Syria, multiple defense officials said.

Biden has given no indication of wanting other than a small number of troops in Afghanistan for counterterrorism missions.

The numbers of US personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan are likely higher officials said because hundreds of contractors provide services to the military in both countries.

Officials consider raising national terror threat level

Discussions are underway about raising the terrorism threat level, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, though one source cautioned no changes are expected as of now.

The National Terrorism Advisory System -- which replaced color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System -- falls under the Department of Homeland Security. Advisories are pushed out in the event of an imminent or elevated threat to the public.

One of the officials said the discussions began following last week's insurrection and was based on information that a similar attack by 'armed militias' could happen at the Capitol or elsewhere.

The latest advisory issued stemmed from an Iran-related terrorism threat to the United States last January. It's since expired. According to the DHS website, decisions about issuing an advisory, and what form it takes, are informed by 'intelligence assessments and risks to the public and critical infrastructure.'

DHS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

'The chatter is off the charts'

The Secret Service is taking the lead of inauguration security planning efforts as there is a growing concern among law enforcement officials that violent mobs' success in breaching the Capitol has increased the potential for attacks because people may be emboldened to carry out violence.

'The chatter is off the charts right now,' one official said.

CNN reported on Tuesday that thousands of armed pro-Donald Trump extremists are plotting to surround the US Capitol ahead of Biden's inauguration, according to a member of Congress who was among those briefed late Monday.

But the Secret Service is prepared to secure the inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security's second-in-command Ken Cuccinelli told CNN, while acknowledging there are always 'problem players' that show up.

'There's always problem players that talk before an inauguration, and there are always some that show up,' Cuccinelli, the DHS senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary, when asked about threats to the upcoming event. Cuccinelli also said that the Secret Service is preparing for the possibility of a bigger security problem than the events of January 6 but added that the agency is 'thoroughly prepared to contend with it.'

Several officials told CNN that there is a much better feeling that things are organized and being put into place correctly because the Secret Service is in charge, with one official simply saying: 'They don't mess around.'

Cuccinelli, who has been the public face for the department on security issues since the Capitol attack, said the biggest change to security preparations has been moving the start date for the National Special Security Event (NSSE) up six days, with the official designation coming Wednesday morning.

An NSSE is intended to bring in the full force of the federal government and its resources and puts the Secret Service as the lead for security operations.

The security measures even include parking spots.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said public parking garages in areas of downtown DC and near the Capitol will be closed off starting at 6:00 a.m. ET Friday through the inauguration. Any cars left in those garages will be inaccessible until after the Inauguration.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 446380

Reported Deaths: 5995
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin927471474
Ramsey39820736
Dakota32876338
Anoka30877363
Washington20066227
Stearns17813187
St. Louis13609241
Scott1191796
Wright11570104
Olmsted1041375
Sherburne818965
Carver692436
Clay650280
Rice604168
Kandiyohi553471
Blue Earth538933
Crow Wing481374
Otter Tail454466
Chisago450832
Benton418685
Winona387246
Douglas373466
Nobles368746
Mower363329
Goodhue345358
Polk327956
McLeod324245
Morrison311144
Beltrami309447
Lyon300636
Becker284139
Itasca284043
Isanti281641
Carlton278543
Steele27229
Pine266013
Freeborn243420
Todd231630
Nicollet223836
Brown214534
Mille Lacs213646
Le Sueur208815
Cass207323
Meeker199233
Waseca188916
Wabasha16953
Martin169326
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139527
Renville137139
Houston135613
Dodge13384
Chippewa130932
Cottonwood126818
Fillmore12245
Wadena119616
Rock109712
Sibley10837
Aitkin107633
Watonwan10638
Faribault104616
Pennington98815
Kanabec97418
Pipestone93923
Yellow Medicine93514
Murray8785
Jackson85210
Swift83118
Pope7375
Marshall70315
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63215
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59310
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4553
Unassigned43668
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1901
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303464

Reported Deaths: 4269
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45396448
Linn17695274
Scott15387163
Black Hawk13659236
Woodbury12953175
Johnson1204749
Dubuque11312150
Pottawattamie8942112
Dallas882171
Story863834
Webster467571
Cerro Gordo463568
Sioux453756
Clinton448861
Warren438838
Marshall425761
Buena Vista391929
Muscatine386777
Des Moines380941
Plymouth348968
Wapello341698
Jasper320458
Lee314430
Marion302152
Jones270449
Henry263430
Carroll253434
Bremer242248
Crawford228522
Boone216417
Washington214531
Benton208844
Jackson191131
Mahaska190736
Tama185857
Dickinson184226
Delaware172336
Kossuth171343
Clay166019
Wright163024
Fayette160022
Buchanan158323
Hamilton157929
Winneshiek155119
Harrison154762
Hardin154229
Cedar151819
Clayton150748
Butler146824
Page143715
Cherokee138227
Floyd138036
Mills136016
Lyon133832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129024
Allamakee126927
Iowa123922
Calhoun12209
Grundy120226
Jefferson119524
Madison11899
Winnebago118529
Mitchell115734
Louisa114330
Cass112641
Chickasaw110612
Sac110615
Emmet110331
Appanoose109838
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102424
Franklin101618
Shelby101426
Unassigned9160
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82819
Monroe80818
Clarke7847
Pocahontas77211
Ida74030
Davis68921
Greene6887
Adair68620
Lucas6488
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5993
Taylor5919
Fremont5046
Van Buren49412
Decatur4804
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4118
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 11°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
16° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 7°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
18° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 18°
Austin
Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 13°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
16° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 6°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events