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Texas Gov. Abbott rips move by Pentagon and FBI to vet National Guard troops ahead of Inauguration: 'Most offensive thing I've ever heard'

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Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has had it with what he sees as "offensive" treatment of National Guard troops by the Pentagon and the FBI ahead of Wednesday's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the Pentagon had vowed to vet the tens of thousands of troops being sent to Washington, D.C., for Inauguration Day, with assistance from the FBI. The added scrutiny, the paper said, was based on "concern about potential internal threats" after multiple suspects from the Jan. 6 Capitol riots were found to have ties to both law enforcement and the military.

Gov. Abbott, who sent more than 1,000 Texas National Guardsman to D.C. to assist with security, said he's not at all happy with what he sees as disrespect for the men and women in uniform. In at Twitter response to the Post story, Abbott called the move to vet troops "offensive" and stood behind the integrity of the Texas National Guard personnel.

"This is the most offensive thing I've ever heard," Abbott vented. "No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard."

Noting that he had sent more than 1,000 troops for the inauguration, he vowed that, if this is how they're going to be treated, then Texas troops would just have to sit it out the next time they're needed for such an event.

"I'll never do it again if they are disrespected like this," the governor said.

According to Fox News, defense officials are worried about an "insider attack" or other possible threats from service members charged with Inauguration security.

A Sunday statement from the U.S. Army, Fox News reported, said the military and the Secret Service were working to determine if there were any troops in D.C. needing additional background screening.

The Defense Department instituted the increased scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and subsequent threats of violence across the nation uncovered by the FBI last week.

Shortly after the Capitol attack, the government was seeking 6,000 to 8,000 National Guard troops for the inauguration. The number of troops quickly ballooned to 20,000 by the end of last week. On Monday, multiple reports put the personnel level at 25,000.

Last Tuesday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy authorized the thousands of troops providing security in the area around the Capitol to use lethal force.

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