Joining the growing number of military and law enforcement ranks involved in the U.S. Capitol insurrection, an Army Reservist from New Jersey described in court documents as an “avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer” faces five charges tied to the siege.
En route to the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli allegedly spouted a message common to believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory: “Trust the plan, it’s the final countdown, stay tuned next episode.”
As of Saturday, the Associated Press counted some 22 armed service members and law enforcement involved in the riot. Hale-Cusanelli’s arrest that day expanded that number, and court papers indicated that his position as a Reservist posed specific threats in terms of information and physical security.
Authorities say Hale-Cusanelli worked as a contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle, where he maintained a “Secret” security clearance and had “access to a variety of munitions.”
Prosecutors’ investigative breakthrough for Hale-Cusanelli came after he allegedly boasted about his participation in Capitol invasion to a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent who became a confidential human source (CHS) on Jan. 12.
“Hale-Cusanelli then showed CHS videos on his cell phone which depicted Hale-Cusanelli making harassing and derogatory statements toward Capitol Police officers both inside and outside the Capitol building,” an affidavit supporting his arrest states.
The source told prosecutors that Hale-Cusanelli propagated extremist views on YouTube under the title “Based Hermes Show.”
Three days later on Jan. 15, authorities say, the informant used a NCIS-approved recording device to tape Hale-Cusanelli admitting to entering the Capitol and giving directions via both voice and hand signals to encourage others to “advance.”
“Hale-Cusanelli told the CHS that if they’d had more men they could have taken over the entire building,” the affidavit states. “Hale-Cusanelli also admitted to taking a flag and flagpole that he observed another rioter throw ‘like a javelin’ at a Capitol Police officer, which Hale-Cusanelli described as a ‘murder weapon.’ Hale-Cusanelli stated his intent to destroy or dispose of the flag and flagpole as soon as he could.”
Other members of the military charged in the siege included Larry Rendell Brock, an Air Force veteran from Texas spotted carrying tactical restraints that prosecutors claim he wanted to use to take hostages. Ashli Babbitt, another Air Force vet, was shot as a mob of insurrectionists tried to break down the door of the Speaker’s Lobby, to get through to members of Congress on the other side. Dominic Pezzola, a 43-year-old former Marine and Proud Boy, was part of the group that authorities believe wanted to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence.
The mob was also infested with white supremacists, like Proud Boy Bryan Betancur, whose social media posts holding the Confederate flag and flashing an “ok” sign appropriated by many extremists groups as a symbol for “white power.” Betancur expressed support for James Alex Fields, the neo-Nazi convicted of murdering anti-racist counter-protester Heather Heyer at the far-right rally in Charlottesville.
Hale-Cusanelli currently faces five charges of knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disrupting government business, violent entry into the Capitol building, demonstrating inside the Capitol building, and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
He was arrested on Sunday in the District of New Jersey.
White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement and the military continues to raise alarm in the lead up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, whose security personnel are being heavily vetted before he takes office on Wednesday.
[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
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