DC and federal law enforcement agencies have for the most part been preparing for the upcoming inauguration of Joe Biden without any specific threats in mind. The scale of the security arrangements is on par with previous years, despite the fact that attendance in 2021 will likely be significantly lower due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is one threat that some agencies fear could come to pass and that they are struggling to prepare for – domestic unrest and violent protests in DC, Newsweek reported, citing a dozen anonymous sources involved in the preparations.
While Iran and its potential retaliation for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani a year ago remain the key national security threat when it comes to the inauguration, according to the sources, nothing so far suggests that Tehran will strike on inauguration day, unlike potential protests hitting the streets, the media outlet's sources claimed. They specifically point the finger to President Donald Trump, who has been encouraging supporters to protest the certification of the election results this week. The fact that POTUS might be partially involved in a potential security threat makes dealing with it all the more difficult, Newsweek's contributors claimed.
"If al Qaeda or Iran undertakes an attack, even if the Russians nuke us, we'll be ready. But if there's a domestic breakdown, I'm not so sure. Even preparing for one is tricky", an anonymous senior military officer told Newsweek.
DC Attorney General Karl Racine previously slammed President Trump for "literally" giving a "breath, fresh air and encouragement" to violent "hate groups", but added that she is engaged in "intense" preparations for what is to come on inauguration day or in the run-up to it.
According to the news outlet, the FBI and the Metropolitan DC Police are working together to identify the possibility of pro-Trump supporters causing trouble and resorting to violence. At the same time, the two purportedly fear that the Department of Homeland Security, which they allegedly suspect of being biased towards POTUS, and GOP congressmen could somehow complicate the situation even further.
Newsweek's sources claim the FBI is tracking the activities of domestic extremist groups and armed militias in order to figure out whether they have plans for violent protests in DC. The Metropolitan DC Police and the FBI are also engaged in various exercises to prepare to respond to domestic violence, according to some sources, while one senior officer, who has taken part in the security preparations for several inaugurations, stated that there were no "clear plans or rules of engagement", should riots break out.