Security on high alert in Washington DC in days before presidential inauguration

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As investigators continue to track and arrest those believed to be involved in the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, security preparations continue with just two days until the presidential inauguration.

The defensive strategy in Washington D.C. features multiple fence lines, perimeters and buffer zones with thousands of National Guard members from Illinois and other states. This huge mobilization in Washington continues even though threatened armed violence both in Washington and across the country last weekend never materialized.

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The defensive strategy in Washington D.C. features multiple fence lines, perimeters and buffer zones with thousands of National Guard members from Illinois and other states.

A security alert at the U.S. Capitol Monday morning sent people scrambling, even though it was a fire at a homeless camp a mile away and no threat to the Capitol. The incident revealed nerves on edge despite several protective rings of heavily armed soldiers, public checkpoints and citywide closures.

Federal investigators continue to put together the pieces of what happened during the Capitol riot, now including an urgent search for Riley June Williams of Pennsylvania. According to court filings, a tipster who was previously in a relationship with Williams told investigators that she allegedly stole a laptop from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and plotted to sell it Russia. The tipster told the FBI the apparent sale to Russia fell through and it's believed that Williams "still has the computer device or destroyed it." The FBI said the matter remains under investigation.

SEE ALSO | Illinois gears up against possible attacks ahead of Inauguration Day
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250 Illinois National Guard troopers will be deployed to the Capitol complex and downtown Springfield.

Also, in order to prevent an insider threat at the Inauguration, military authorities say all 25,000 National Guard members assigned to Washington D.C. are being vetted in the wake of the attacks.

"There was a kind of toxic mix of groups from across a far-right spectrum," said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, American University professor. Miller-Idriss is an extremism and terrorism expert and in a Monday interview with the I-Team, she said one problem for public safety is the threat from within security forces from an unknown number of radicalized military and police.

Chaos at the Capitol: Minute-by-minute video shows how riots, violence unfolded
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"Unfortunately, we can now add Jan. 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy," said Sen. Chuck Schumer. See how things escalated in our minute-by-minute video as chaos erupted.

"One of the most frustrating things from the perspective of someone who... has been working on this for a long time is that we just don't have the data because the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, there are no sort of systematic ways of collecting or reporting, or mandating reporting of that to the public, meaning that what we have is anecdote after anecdote after anecdote, but no real way of knowing whether what we're talking about is more than a few bad apples or something more systemic," Miller-Idriss told the I-Team.

"The FBI is part of it. The Secret Service is part of it and once they are certain that there's no insider threat, then that soldier, guardsman or airman is given a credential," said Major General William Walker, DC National Guard Commander. Maj. Gen. Walker is a Chicago native and Leo High School graduate who went to UIC and has a master's degree from Chicago State.
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