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February 13, 2023

Getting to Ground Truth on the Reach of Domestic Violent Extremist Groups into the Military, Veteran, and Law Enforcement Communities

By Katherine L. Kuzminski, Carrie Cordero and Arona Baigal

On Jan. 17, three active-duty Marines, Cpl. Micah Coomer, Sgt. Joshua Abate, and Sgt. Dodge Dale Hellonen, were each charged with four misdemeanors in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Among the charges were allegations of disorderly conduct and trespassing in the Capitol building. Unlike many of the more than 100 veterans who were charged in Jan. 6-related offenses, these Marines were still serving on active duty and held senior-level intelligence positions: one as an intelligence surveillance reconnaissance system engineer and two as special communications signals intelligence analysts.

Existing professional military education and law enforcement in-service training should provide opportunities to remind those who are currently serving of the oath they took to defend the Constitution and the nation.

While the Marines were charged for relatively minor nonviolent offenses, FBI affidavits nonetheless indicate troubling findings. Cpl. Coomer shared on social media that, when he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, he was “glad to be apart [sic] of history.” Further, in private messages to others, he used phrases such as “everything in this country is corrupt” and wrote that he was “waiting for the boogaloo” (which he later clarified to mean “Civil War 2”). Court documents further reveal that Sgt. Abate was stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland, supporting the National Security Agency’s Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion, and disclosed his participation in entering the Capitol building during his most recent security clearance interviews. While the Marine Corps stated that it is cooperating fully with the Department of Justice’s investigation, it remains unclear whether the three will face additional military justice charges.

Read the full article from Lawfare.

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