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Three Marines on intelligence assignments were charged with trespassing at the Capitol on January 6

Three Marines on intelligence assignments were charged with trespassing at the Capitol on January 6

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Three active-duty members of the Marine Corps assigned to intelligence-related work, including one at the National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland, are accused of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, according to unsealed court documents Thursday and military service.

Corporal Micah Coomer, Sergeant Joshua Abate and Sergeant Dodge Dale Halonen was arrested Tuesday and Wednesday near Camp Pendleton, California, Fort Meade, Maryland, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, respectively, and appeared in local federal courts.

The FBI said Abate admitted to entering the Capitol “with two ‘buddies'” during a June 2022 interview that was part of his security clearance process while assigned to the cryptographic battalion. supporting the Marine Corps, which is a partner and NSA is headquartered at Fort Meade. According to charging documents, Abate said they were “walking around and trying not to be hit with tear gas” and “admitted that he had heard the event being portrayed negatively and decided that he should not tell anyone about entering the building US Capitol. “

Any person counts, including disorderly conduct, disorderly conduct and unlawful parading or picketing in a restricted building or Capitol grounds, in connection with the riots, which injured dozens of police officers, ransacked offices and forced lawmakers to evacuate the premises time of Congress meeting to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The sergeants’ occupations as special communications signal analysts and the corporal’s work as a surveillance and reconnaissance intelligence system engineer were first reported by and were confirmed in their service records.

A Marine Corps spokesman said: “We are aware of the investigation and the allegations. The Marine Corps is cooperating fully with the appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.

Abate’s attorney, David Dishley, declined to comment. Federal defenders for the other two men did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The men are the first active duty military to be charged in the Capitol attack since then Major Christopher Varnagiris of the Marine Corps was arrested in May 2021. He is awaiting trial on felony charges including assaulting or obstructing police and obstructing official proceedings. About 120 of the roughly 940 people arrested in the break-in at the Capitol served in the Army, Reserves or National Guard.

According to charging documents filed Tuesday and unsealed Thursday, Coomer posted photos on Instagram taken from inside the Capitol during the breach with the caption, “Glad to be a part of history.” Data provided by Facebook in connection with an August 2021 federal search warrant show that in a Jan. 31 direct message on Instagram, Coomer allegedly “stated his belief that everything in this country is corrupt.” We really need a new reboot. I’m waiting for a boogaloo.”

Coomer described the term as “Civil War 2,” according to an FBI arrest affidavit. US prosecutors described “boogaloo” as a term adopted by fringe groups to refer to racially or ethnically motivated civil war.

Video from Capitol surveillance cameras captured the three Marines entering the Capitol through the Senate door less than 10 minutes after it was first breached, according to the FBI. The trio moved together and spent 52 minutes inside the building, with Helonen carrying a yellow Gadsden flag with the “Don’t Tread on Me” logo, according to the FBI. That included a time in the Rotunda where “they placed a red MAGA hat on one of the statues to take pictures with,” an FBI arrest affidavit said.

All three men had previously been awarded the Good Conduct Medal, which is given for every three years of service without discipline, according to service records.

Separately, another military reservist from the Washington area assigned to the US intelligence community and facing charges in the January 6 Capitol riot was convicted Wednesday of unrelated weapons offenses.

Hatchett M. Speed, a Navy Reserve Petty Officer First Class assigned to Naval Space Field Operations at the National Intelligence Service in Chantilly, Virginia, was found guilty of in possession of three unregistered firearm silencers by a jury in Alexandria Federal Court.

Speed ​​pleaded not guilty to federal felony charges in Washington after being described by U.S. prosecutors as heavily armed Nazi sympathizer with top-level US government security clearance who stormed the Capitol with members of the extremist group Proud Boys. A new indictment this month added a felony charge of obstructing an official congressional proceeding against Speed, who until recently worked with a U.S. defense and intelligence cyber operations contractor based in nearby Vienna, Virginia.

Speed ​​has not been charged with violence, has no criminal record and maintained a Top Secret/Sensitive Information clearance at the time of his arrest. But prosecutors cited Speed’s alleged statements to an undercover FBI agent about using violence to promote “anti-government and anti-Semitic ideologies,” including many “enemies” who live near Washington as the seat of government, and his $50,000 “panic” buying of firearms after the Capitol attack, which included a dozen pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns.

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