Though together these groups make up about six percent of the United States population, they account for about 14 percent—or 21 out of 150—of defendants in cases for the events that transpired on Jan. 6. At least one of them received a Purple Heart for their service, CNN reports. The others include two National Guardsman, and two Army personnel, and 17 veterans who previously served in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
The most well-known among the veterans arrested for their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack is Joseph Randall Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys who served in the Army. He’s been charged with unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of a proceeding, like many people who were arrested for breaching the Capitol. And federal prosecutors said he also “did aid, abet, counsel, command, induce, or procure others to unlawfully enter the U.S. Capitol by means of destruction of federal property” as one of the first people to enter the building.
The results of this analysis aren’t exactly surprising. Following the Capitol attack, several police offers were either suspended or under investigation as part of a larger probe into officers’ activities on that day, which included one officer taking a selfie with a Trump supporter, and another who appeared to be directing people around the building. Mere days before the inauguration, the FBI announced it would vet all 25,000 National Guard troops coming to D.C., fearing the possibility of a mutinous insider attack. In the process, officials removed two members who were discovered to have expressed extremist views about the inauguration online, or some connection to right-wing militia groups.
“What we’ve seen too often is that this kind of ideological militancy is allowed to exist in the military,” Michael German, a fellow with the Brennan Center For Justice and a former FBI agent, told CNN. “And there isn’t enough effort to root it out and to actually paint it as what it is: an anti-democratic movement that’s a threat to our security within our security forces.”
The exchange between law enforcement and the military and extremist thought has always been free-flowing, both ways. Now that it’s clearer than ever, one can only hope that someone decides to do something about it.