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Snippet of PBS NewsHour: Extremism in the ranks; some at Capitol riot were police, active military

From Audio: Extremism in the ranks: some at the January 6 Capitol riot were police, active military

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station description Listen to all of the PBS NewsHour's coverage of U.S. politics, from Yamiche Alcindo... read more
PBS NewsHour - Politics
Duration: 04:02
Right-wing extremists have infiltrated the ranks of the military and law enforcement, as watchdogs and counterterrorism experts have been warning for years -- and some were present at, and later arrested for participating in, the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
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Right-wing extremists have infiltrated the ranks of the military and law enforcement, as watchdogs and counterterrorism experts have been warning for years -- and some were present at, and later arrested for participating in, the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
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But according to Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, he was far from the only alleged attacker to have a background in the uniform services. What we found in the January 6th insurrection was that we had active duty service members who were part of that mom. We had persons that had top secret clearances that were part of that mob. We had police officers who were active duty who were part of that mob, and we had veterans who were part of that law. This reality has forced the government to acknowledge that the ranks of the military and law enforcement have been infiltrated by right wing extremists, as counterterrorism experts and watchdogs have been warning for years. Here's President Joe Biden's new defense secretary admitting to the problem last month. And when I think about you know the issue of extreme extremism in the ranks and I expect for the numbers to be small, but quite frankly, they will probably probably be a little bit larger than most of us would guess. What I would just say that you know, small numbers in this case can have an outsized impact. These comments to journalists were made shortly after Lloyd Austin ordered a department wide stand down to discuss ways to expose and expel extremists. Hail Cucinelli has a history of alleged criminal activity that's easily searchable online and regularly posted his anti Semitic YouTube videos. Yet somehow he managed to keep his security clearance, which allowed him to retain both a job at a naval weapons depot and a job with the U. S Army Reserve. Federal investigators alleged Hail Cucinelli encouraged the mob at the Capitol to advance past police lines. When questioned, he told an N. C. I s agent. He was able to continue moving forward even after having been exposed to pepper spray because of his military training and overcoming various chemical irritants. He worked here as a security guard through a private military contractor called HBC Management. A representative of the company said he was terminated immediately upon his arrest but wouldn't answer questions about why he had been employed in the first place, given his history of anti Semitic posts on the open Internet, an alleged criminal activity that's been reported in the local media, Both the Navy and the Army turned down interview requests from news our weekend, but the army said in an email that Hail Cuccinelli's leadership, wasn't aware of his YouTube videos or run ins with law enforcement prior to the current federal charges. As an Army reservist, active Army reservist, he's a government contractor at a naval weapons depot, and he's got a top secret security clearance. So it's something I've been concerned about as a member of the House Intelligence Committee for years that social media is not a component of the in depth investigation that goes on before someone gets a top secret clearance. Yes, you heard that right. Despite asking highly intrusive questions about personal finances, behavioral health and even neighbors, the military does not routinely check the social media accounts of people it puts insensitive security positions. What we're asking the president to do is use his authority under his executive order privileges to require all top secret clearance reviews to include a review of the social media presence of individuals who are seeking these clearances and for the military undersecretary Austin to begin immediately under the authority they have to review social media of potential recruits
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