Governor Greg Abbott took to Twitter Monday in response to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller’s announcement of background checks on 25K National Guard members deployed in Washington, D.C.
“This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard,” Abbott tweeted. “No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard. I authorized more than 1,000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they are disrespected like this.”
Miller’s statement released on Monday emphasized the precautionary nature of checks. He said that “while we have no intelligence indicating an insider threat, we are leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital.” He added: “this type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events.”
Service members undergo regular reviews for extremist connections, but the FBI screening is an addition to previous monitoring. According to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, as of Sunday, the vetting had not flagged any issues.
These measures are a response to reports that troops and veterans may have taken part in the Capitol Hill riot on January 6. An Army Special Forces officer is under investigation for appearing on the Capitol grounds that day. Additionally, one of the five left dead in the riots was later revealed to be a veteran. The information prompted calls from Congress on Thursday for the Pentagon to investigate white supremacy in its ranks.
“This is a national priority. We have to be successful as an institution,” said McCarthy. “We want to send the message to everyone in the United States and for the rest of the world that we can do this safely and peacefully.”