Following the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, a massive force of 25,600 National Guard soldiers flowed into Washington, D.C. to reinforce federal law enforcement for Wednesday's Inauguration. On Thursday, the National Guard Bureau announced that approximately 15,000 Air and Army National Guard troops would begin returning to their home states as early as this weekend.
The Governors of Texas, Florida and New Hampshire have nonetheless ordered the immediate return of their National Guard contingents from Washington, D.C. after they were instructed to vacate multiple federal buildings on Capitol Hill and move to a nearby parking garage to rest during duty shifts. This decision has caused widespread public outrage at the treatment of the service members.
According to the National Guard, the U.S. Capitol Police ordered the troops to move their rest area during their 12-hour shifts to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage.
Quoting one Guard member:
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed."
Only after the public outrage began were the orders reversed. But the damage is done.
Trump Opens Hotel to Guard and Law Enforcement
On learning of the situation, President Trump gave thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement permission to stay at his Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C..
200 National Guardsmen Contract COVID-19
At least 200 Guardsmen sent to Washington, DC, to protect the nation’s capital during the presidential inauguration have tested positive for COVID-19 after enduring cramped rest areas and close working quarters. Some Guardsmen were told to disregard their quarantine — or cut it short — leading up to the deployment.
These numbers are only the beginning. Hundreds more are expected to test positive in the coming days.
7,000 Troops to Remain in D.C
According to a Guard official, while the inauguration took place peacefully, the Guard is still supporting requests from the U.S. Secret Service and federal law enforcement. As of Friday, the plan is to have up to 7,000 troops remain in D.C. through March 12.
FBI / ATF Announce Reward
On Thursday of this week, the FBI and ATF announced they were now offering a $75,000 reward for information about the person or persons responsible for the January 6th placement of pipe bombs at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee on First Street and the Democratic National Committee on Capitol Street in Washington, D.C. The bombs caused the evacuation of multiple congressional office buildings. Both devices were disrupted by Metropolitan Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams. A suspect in a grey hoodie and sneakers was captured on surveillance video carrying a purple backpack near the Capitol and is believed to be the perpetrator.
The pipe bombs were not the only explosives found during the Capitol riot. A 70-year-old Alabama man, Lonnie Coffman, has been indicted on multiple charges for allegedly bringing Molotov cocktails and a list of “good guys” and “bad guys” to the Capitol.
FCC / ARRL Issue Warnings
On Sunday, January 17th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) issued warnings about the misuse of radios by amateur and personal radio users to commit crimes. Specifically, the FCC was notified of discussions on social media platforms suggesting some radio services could be used as “an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities”. The warnings also follows reports of Morse code being used to transmit two messages via HAM radio that allegedly translated to the “storm is coming" and "Patriots it’s time to take our country back."
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