News World US Dozen US National Guard members tied to right-wing militia

Dozen US National Guard members tied to right-wing militia

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Pentagon officials say 12 Army National Guard members have been removed from securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after vetting by the FBI, including two who posted and texted extremist views about the event.

There was no specific threat to Mr Biden.

Two US officials told the Associated Press on Tuesday (local time) that all 12 were found to have ties to right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online.

The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in.

The officials were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

General Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard, confirmed on Tuesday that the Guard members had been removed and sent home but said only two were for inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration.

The other 10 were for other potential issues that may involve previous criminal activity, but not directly related to Wednesday’s inaugural event.

The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.”

It’s unclear whether they will face discipline when they return home.

National Guard vehicles are parked at the California State Fair and Exposition grounds, where they can be deployed to the Capitol or other government buildings. Photo: AAP

American soldier arrested

Meanwhile, US army soldier Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, has been arrested on charges that he plotted to blow up New York City’s 9/11 Memorial and attack US soldiers in the Middle East.

He was in custody on charges of attempted material support of a terrorist organisation – the Islamic State group – and attempted murder of a military member, said Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for Manhattan federal prosecutors.

The 20-year-old soldier, also known as Cole Gonzales, was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, Mr Biase said.

He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Georgia on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear who would represent him.