D.C. National Guard Commander: 'This Level of Security Is Required so We Can Have a Peaceful Transition'

By Susan Jones | January 19, 2021 | 5:52am EST
 Members of the National Guard patrol downtown Washington on January 15, 2021, as part of preparations for the inauguration of Joe Biden. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the National Guard patrol downtown Washington on January 15, 2021, as part of preparations for the inauguration of Joe Biden. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Major General William Walker, the commander of the D.C. National Guard, says he's "certain" there will be a peaceful transfer of power on Wednesday, but it will come with unprecedented security -- including security checks on the National Guard members providing the security in the first place.

"We're asking the community to cooperate with us, to be patient and understand that this level of security is required so we can have a peaceful transition of presidential power," Walker told Fox News's Bill Hemmer on Monday.

"And do you believe that will be the case on Wednesday?" Hemmer asked.

"I'm certain of it," Walker said.

Walker said security checks on thousands of National Guard members so far have turned up nothing concerning, such as involvement with extremist groups. He described the security checks as a "multi-layered approach."

"So, the United States Army CID (Criminal Investigations Division) and the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations are conducting checks on all 25,000 guardsmen that will be here supporting the United State Secret Service," Walker said.

"In addition to those checks from CID and OSI, the FBI will be conducting checks. And after that -- those guardsmen are confirmed to be available, the U.S. Secret Service will issue credentials."

Walker said the security checks are being done "to make sure that everybody in this bubble of security that we're providing has the privilege to be there."

"So, in an abundance of caution, we are definitely -- we want to make sure that we have the right people in this security bubble."

Walker said reports that the vetting has turned up nothing worrisome are "accurate."

Hemmer asked him, "If that's the case, then is this necessary?"

"Well, we can either do it or be second guessed after the fact for not doing it," Walker replied.

‘No stone unturned’

Likewise, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Peter Gaynor told Fox News on Monday the FBI decided that background checks on some 25,000 National Guard members "would be a prudent move."

"And, again, I served in the military for 26 years. I have the highest confidence in the men and women that wear a uniform. I was up there on Capitol Hill yesterday with the secretary of defense, truly impressive about the dedication and enthusiasm of the young National Guard men and women up there defending their nation."

Gaynor also said he has not seen evidence of an insider attack:

"You know, there are -- there is some chatter about that on the Internet, about those that seek to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on the 20th, and the FBI and Secret Service and all our partners, the intel community, are looking into that to make sure that, again, no stone unturned when it comes to somebody thinking about threatening the peaceful transfer of power."

Gaynor said after the events of January 6, when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, "everyone is on heightened senses, heightened alert. What happened on the 6th is absolutely uncalled for. You know, it's horrible in our history.

"And to make sure that, again, we have a peaceful transfer of power on the 6th, we want to make sure that -- you know, we don't wish we didn't go far enough."

MRC Store