Washington, D.C., has been transformed over the last few days into a militarized zone. There have been rumors running rampant that violence has been planned for the inauguration ceremony on January 20, but none of these rumors have been decisively confirmed.
In any event, the military and National Guard have essentially taken over the nation’s capital—so much so that National Guard forces will be nearly the only people physically present at the ceremony. All other people have been urged to watch it either on television or over the internet.
An Extreme Abundance of Caution
Originally, it was reported that 20,000 National Guard troops would be present at Joe Biden’s inauguration to provide security. Since the day of that original announcement, however, some reports indicate that that number has doubled to a whopping 40,000.
That’s more troops than are currently being used in the war in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in American history.
Not only this, but roads like Interstate 66 and bridges like Interstate 395 will be completely closed from 6:00 a.m. on January 19 to 6:00 a.m. on January 21. The Arlington Memorial Bridge will also be closed.
Government officials from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have urged Americans to stay home and enjoy the inauguration virtually.
Conflicting and Ambiguous Intelligence
The FBI and other organizations claim to have received credible intelligence that there are plans by armed extremist groups—presumably right-wing extremist groups—to flood into D.C. and cause chaos. It is not clear what sort of intelligence the FBI may be referring to as Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Deputy Secretary of DHS, says that he has not identified any specific threats and many conservative commentators have urged Trump supporters not to go to Washington.