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Threat of Armed Protests Ahead of Inauguration Prompt Increase in Security Among State Capitals

US Capitol  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
US Capitol (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Security in the nation's capital is growing tighter by the day. National guard troops in and around the US Capitol are literally working around the clock and napping on the floor when they have a chance.  

Now there is word that troops guarding the Capitol Building will be armed beyond the protective gear they've been carrying. That step concerns national security strategist Brad Bowman with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"I do worry about violence, I absolutely do," Bowman said. "I do worry about lethal force in our nation's capital, in the hands of national guardsmen, but they are trained for this. The last thing we would want, I would think is to put those men and woman in uniform in between the Constitution and insurrectionists and not give them the tools they need to fulfill their mission and protect themselves."

The Secret Service is organizing the massive effort to protect the city now and prepare inauguration security. That will include some 20,000 national guard troops plus thousands of police and tactical officers. It's a tight net being established around downtown DC.

"Individuals entering the perimeter may be subject to screening and asked to describe their essential business so be prepared to do that," said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Security is also tightening across the country given credible reports of threats and protests against State houses in all 50 states that could begin this weekend.  

In the nation's capital, intelligence has revealed threats of execution against lawmakers who approved the impeachment of President Trump. Bowman says a FDD colleague is raising a major red flag.  

"He's saying just in the last few days that what he's seen in the United States looks very much like the pre-insurgency dynamic that he's seen in Iraq and Afghanistan," Bowman explained.  

And he is calling this a moment of truth, with no gray area. Either Americans stand on the side of the Constitution or they don't. He adds that line of division could take us into territory worse than we've already seen.

"Americans should be very, very careful what you're doing because it can get much, much worse," Bowman added.

A memo onTuesday from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the US military calls the riot at the Capitol a "direct assault on the US Congress" and reminded troops of their oath to support and defend the Constitution.

"It's one of the most important documents in years and I think people will be reading it for decades and 100 years from now," said Bowman.

President Trump released a written statement Tuesday saying there must be "no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind." He also called on all Americans to "help ease tensions and calm tempers."

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