National Guard soldiers posted in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President elect Joe Biden have all been vetted for any extremist behavior as part of a yearly process, according to the Montana Army National Guard.

Public Information Officer Major Dan Bushnell said the vetting is part of the standard security clearance protocol.

“Those soldiers have to have a security clearance to be soldiers,” said Major Bushnell. “That's part of what we do anyhow, their background is checked, and they are the best and the brightest that the Montana National Guard has to offer, but given the security concerns that are there in DC, certainly there's some additional vetting that occurs for them.”

Major Bushnell said the vetting process is actually being processed on Tuesday, before the inauguration.

“That is done by federal law enforcement agencies to ensure that there isn't anything in their background that might at all lead them to be a bad actor, if you will,” he said. “So that vetting has occurred or will occur today.”

Major Bushnell said the vetting is part of an annual process.

“We have a program that's annual for us to take that is preventative with regards to these kinds of activities,” he said. “So, really, the Army National Guard does not tolerate extremist type behavior. We do not allow it in our ranks.”

Major Bushnell said that National Guard soldiers have a duty to report such behavior to their superior officers.

“It is really peer to peer,” he said. “If you see that occurring, you need to share that with your chain of command, and our soldiers do that. We're required to attend that training annually to ensure that those types of behaviors are just not tolerated, and that's really what this is, it’s just one last check to ensure that the Guardsmen, and that isn't just Montana National Guardsmen, it's all guardsmen, are the best of the best, and that they are there to ensure we're going to see this peaceful transition of power in the United States and then we're all going to come home.”

165 Montana National Guard personnel are on the ground in Washington, D.C. working under the authority of the Capitol and Washington, D.C. Police Departments.

 

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