- The Pentagon is beneath growing stress to deal with white supremacist and extremist ties inside the ranks of the US navy.
- Present and former members of the US navy have been arrested in reference to the Capitol siege on January 6.
- The FBI is vetting 1000’s of troops in DC for inauguration, and the Pentagon’s inner watchdog launched a probe into whether or not the navy is doing sufficient to root out extremism.
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For roughly 20 years, the Pentagon has handled terrorism as a largely overseas risk. Following the Capitol siege, nonetheless, the Division of Protection is lastly being pressured to reckon with extremists inside the navy’s ranks after years of warnings.
The Capitol riot has been described as an act of domestic terrorism by President-elect Joe Biden, amongst different distinguished politicians, a stunning act that ignited a nationwide dialog about the specter of homegrown extremism within the US.
Forward of inauguration, the FBI has been screening troops from the DC Nationwide Guard and numerous states for potential extremist ties.
“As is regular for navy help to massive safety occasions, the Division will vet Nationwide Guardsmen who’re in Washington, DC. Whereas we now have no intelligence indicating an insider risk, we’re leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” Appearing Protection Secretary Chris Miller wrote in a statement on Monday. “Such a vetting usually takes place by legislation enforcement for vital safety occasions. Nonetheless, on this case the scope of navy participation is exclusive.”
On Tuesday, 12 Nationwide Guard members have been pulled off the safety mission for Biden’s inauguration, together with two who have been discovered to have ties to far-right militias. Addressing these unsettling developments, Nationwide Guard chief Gen. Dan Hokanson on Tuesday stated, “Extremism isn’t tolerated in any department of the U.S. navy … If there are reported points our leaders will tackle them instantly.”
Nonetheless, the screenings have outraged amongst some Republican leaders.
“That is probably the most offensive factor I’ve ever heard. Nobody ought to ever query the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas Nationwide Guard,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, tweeted on Monday. “I am going to by no means do it once more if they’re disrespected like this.”
Each current and former members of the US navy have been amongst these arrested over the riot on the US Capitol on January 6, which was provoked by President Donald Trump. Insurrectionists on the Capitol might have been seen carrying navy flags, in addition to markings belonging to far-right extremist teams. The FBI has arrested folks related to armed gangs like the Oath Keepers, a self-styled militia that’s largely made up of former navy and ex-law enforcement, in reference to the pandemonium.
Because the lethal neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and lengthy earlier than it, proof has constantly turned up pointing to ties between the armed forces and right-wing extremist groups. In the meantime, the Pentagon has a historical past of downplaying any ties between members of the navy and white supremacist or far-right teams.
“These persons are not consultant of our nation’s navy,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, recently told the New York Instances. However many congressional lawmakers are evidently not happy with how the navy has responded.
After the violent rebel on the Capitol, a gaggle of Democratic senators called on the Pentagon to “examine and tackle white supremacy and extremist ideology within the ranks of the navy.”
“The problem of white supremacy and extremist ideology inside the ranks of our navy isn’t new, however the assault on the Capitol makes clear this alarming pattern should be instantly addressed,” the group of lawmakers, which included navy veterans, wrote in a letter. “We urge you to launch a complete investigation into situations of white supremacist and violent fringe extremist exercise inside the navy.”
The Pentagon’s inner watchdog on Thursday introduced a probe into the effectiveness of the Division of Protection’s insurance policies and procedures for prohibiting active-duty troops from “energetic advocacy and energetic participation” in white supremacist or extremist teams.
In the meantime, the Division of Protection has underscored it doesn’t tolerate extremism on any degree.
“We … are doing all the things we will to get rid of extremism within the Division of Protection,” Gary Reed, the director for protection intelligence and counterintelligence, legislation enforcement and safety, said on Thursday. “Merely put, we is not going to tolerate extremism of any kind in DOD.”
After the riot, which resulted in 5 deaths, the Joint Chiefs of Workers additionally issued a remarkable memo reminding US forces of their sworn obligation to help and defend the Structure, whereas urging troops to reject extremism. One of many folks killed in the course of the mayhem was an Air Force veteran.
There might be as much as 25,000 Nationwide Guard troops in Washington, DC, to assist present safety on Inauguration Day, roughly 5 occasions the variety of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan mixed. The large troop presence is a stark reminder that homegrown extremism is a higher risk to the US than overseas terrorism — and has been for a while.