National Guard screening, Airbnb cancellations: 5 heightened security measures for Biden's inauguration

View of the U.S. Capitol as the sun sets ahead of the 59th inaugural ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C., on January 19, 2021. |

When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office to become the next president of the United States, there will be a host of unprecedented security measures taken to ensure his protection.

Although tighter security for inauguration ceremonies is far from unprecedented, the actions taken to secure the District of Columbia have garnered many headlines — from news about travel and hotel cancellations to reports on how the FBI vetted 25,000 National Guard soldiers amid fears that some might be a threat to Biden. 

These heightened security measures, which many say haven't been seen in the nation's capital since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, are in response to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the building. Some of them violently pushed their way in by force while others gained easy entry, leading to questions about why there wasn't more security.  

The FBI had said it knew about in advance and had warned U.S. Capitol Police about the possibility of violence. After urging federal law enforcement to maintain light security around the Capitol on the day of the Jan. 6 protest, Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf requesting enhanced security for Biden's inauguration.

“Following the unprecedented terrorist attacks on the United States Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, and the continued threat of violence in the District of Columbia, we are extremely concerned about the upcoming National Special Security Event (NSSE) led by the United States Secret Service,” wrote Bowser.

“We believe strongly that the 59th Presidential Inauguration on January 20 will require a very different approach than previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury, and death experienced at the United States Capitol during the insurrection.”

Bowser said some enhanced security measures will continue even after Biden's inauguration, describing it as a "new normal" for the city and country. One area where small protests have been allowed to continue is at Black Lives Matter Plaza, where Biden, BLM and Antifa flags are also on display.

The following pages highlight five security measures being taken by government agencies and companies. 

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