WASHINGTON - Security will be top priority at Joe Biden’s inauguration -- in light of the US Capitol attack.
Massive fences surround the Capitol and White House, and dozens of streets will be closed this week.
Two-hundred plus Illinois National Guard members will be part of the more than 15,000 on hand. In addition, 40 Chicago police officers will be helping with security.
This will be the nation’s 59th presidential inauguration, and it is coming two weeks after the siege on the Capitol. It will no doubt have the most security of any inauguration.
With the inauguration now just a day and a half away, Washington DC looks like a military zone, with tall fencing and checkpoints surrounding the Capitol complex.
The tension was visible Monday when a fire at a homeless encampment triggered the evacuation of the nearby Capitol Building.
An FBI bulletin warns that domestic extremist groups -- like the ones that stormed the Capitol two weeks ago -- still pose the most likely threat, saying extremists "remain a concern due to their ability to act with little to no warning, willingness to attack civilians and soft targets, and ability to inflict significant casualties with weapons that do not require specialized knowledge."
"Everyone’s pretty much on their toes. You’re seeing it. People are more engaged. You see activation of the National Guard," said Steve Gaytan of Monterrey Security.
At least 15,000 National Guard troops, including 250 from Illinois, will be on hand for the inauguration.
The National Mall, which has been a gathering place for previous inauguration crowds, is being essentially shut down.
Thirteen subway stations will be closed, buses are being re-routed and the TSA is boosting the number of air marshals on all flights into Washington DC.
Former Secret Service agent Mike Verden says intelligence experts are scouring social media and the Internet where extremists organize.
"A lot of it could be a hoax or irrelevant. It’s the responsibility of these authorities to find the information, determine what is credible and then take action on that intelligence," said Verden.
There is also heavy security outside state capitols around the country.
In Springfield, National Guard troops will remain in place through at least Wednesday, with their presence over the weekend perhaps deterring planned protests.
"It changed the tone. So you’re going to see people thinking twice about coming out. How vocal, how active, how violent they will be," Gaytan said.
While many have suggested the inauguration should be moved indoors, the security experts we talked to say they believe it is important to continue the tradition of holding it in front of the Capitol as a show of strength.