(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Three U.S. Marines who entered the Capitol illegally on Jan. 6, 2021, were later given “sensitive” new intelligence assignments within the federal government—including one at National Security Agency headquarters, according to a new report from Pulitzer-winning journalist James Risen.
Cpl. Micah Coomer and Sgts. Joshua Abate and Dodge Hellonen were arrested last month on several charges, including disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. FBI agent Kelsey Randall noted in her affidavit that Abate admitted to entering the Capitol building last June while being interviewed for a security clearance.
It turns out, Abate’s security clearance interview was reportedly for a highly sensitive intelligence assignment at NSA headquarters, according to Risen.
Writing for The Intercept, Risen reported that Abate was assigned to the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion, which acts as a liaison between the Marines and the NSA at Fort Meade.
“The transfer into the liaison unit after the Capitol riot placed Abate inside one of the most sensitive facilities in the entire U.S. government,” Risen noted.
Hellonen and Coomer were also reportedly given new intelligence assignments after Jan. 6, 2021.
Hellonen was assigned to the 3rd Marine Raider Support Battalion, which provides intelligence support to the Marine Forces Special Operations Command at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina; and Cpl. Micah Coomer was assigned to a battalion that provides signals intelligence and electronic warfare support for the Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Pendleton, California, according to Risen.
The Marine Corps provided scant details about the three defendants when they were arrested last month. Risen wrote that The Intercept “independently discovered” that all three of them had been given new intelligence assignments after Jan. 6.
The NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence both reportedly declined to comment.
The Intercept framed its bombshell story as the latest indication of right-wing extremism run amok in the U.S. military.
However, skeptics have suggested that the heavy presence of informants, law enforcement and military personnel among the Jan. 6 protestors shows that the federal government had foreknowledge of plans to storm the Capitol—or worse, even encouraged the plan.
Notable examples of alleged federal provocateurs include Jan. 6 protestor Ray Epps, a retired Marine who encouraged people to storm the Capitol, though he did not do so himself and was never charged over the matter; as well as FBI informant Dan Chappel, an Army combat veteran who helped organize meetings and supply members of the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Additionally, retired Marine and FBI informant John Matthews came out as a whistleblower in 2011 to allege that the bureau was infiltrating right-wing groups to incite them to violence.
In the case of Coomer, Abate and Hellonen, there is no public evidence that they encouraged others to enter the Capitol or commit violence therein. They are scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Thursday.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.