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850 MN guard members among soldiers securing inauguration

MINNEAPOLIS — About 850 members of the Minnesota National Guard are among 25,000 soldiers streaming into Washington from across the country for Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.

The number of guard members is at least two and a half times the number for previous inaugurals.

Before this year, states rotated sending National Guard soldiers to inaugurations. Fewer than 10 from Minnesota were at President Donald Trump’s swearing-in and about 350 were at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

“It’s sad that we got to this state that we have to have all those troops out there, but it’s comforting to know as leaders that we have the very capable airmen and soldiers out there,” Brig. Gen. Dan Gabrielli, the Minnesota Air Guard’s chief of staff, said.

The FBI is vetting all of the National Guard troops coming into Washington for Biden’s inauguration. U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing the event.

The massive vetting process reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have followed the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.