The Democrat-controlled House Veterans’ Affairs Committee introduced an investigation Friday into the recruitment of navy veterans by “extremist groups,” explicitly naming the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters.
Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) mentioned in a press release:
Since final fall, our Committee has been working to grasp who teams such because the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and others are, the place they match into the broader panorama of extremist and hate teams, and why they particularly search to recruit veterans into their ranks.
In addition, the committee’s Twitter account introduced the investigation with a graphic that included logos from the three aforementioned teams.
Exploiting veterans is unacceptable, and it’s our job to establish potential means to establish, intercept, and help veterans which were ensnared in such recruitment efforts.
— House Veterans’ Affairs (@VetAffairsDems) March 4, 2021
Some members of the teams participated within the January 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, prompting Democrats and progressives to label the organizations as far-right, anti-government extremist, and white supremacist. Some leaders of the teams reject these characterizations.
Tom Kampert, a veteran and member of the Oath Keepers, denied such claims in a Friday op-ed for the Daily Independent:
The Oath Keepers is an affiliation of like-minded individuals who, in some unspecified time in the future of their life, took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Veterans, law enforcement officials, active-duty navy are what makes up their membership. They aren’t a militia. They aren’t white supremacist. Their membership is made up of all races. They aren’t anti-government. Their message is that there isn’t any expiration date on their oath. That they’ll at all times honor it. They anticipate the identical from authorities officers, each appointed and elected.
The Three Percenter is a person who has said that he’ll take up arms, if required, to uphold and defend our Constitution. That, I might argue, is the responsibility of any American patriot. The Constitution is the regulation of the land so how can defending it’s known as subversive or anti-American?
The chief of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, is a Cuban-American and former FBI informant who has not too long ago mentioned he’s considering working for workplace. He has additionally denied accusations the Proud Boys is a racist or extremist group.
“I denounce white supremacy,” Tarrio (pictured, left) mentioned in an interview with WSVN-TV. “I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism. I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced toward people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin.”
Tarrio additionally instructed CNN in a February 25 interview he didn’t assume the 2020 presidential election was stolen and condemned the actions of Proud Boys who engaged in violence on the Capitol on January 6.
While Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said he desires to “stamp out” extremism within the navy, and the Pentagon has cited the January 6 riot as an impetus for launching an internal investigation, the division has not explicitly recognized these three teams as “extremist.”
Further, the Pentagon doesn’t prohibit membership in extremist teams however quite prohibits energetic participation in them.
The FBI to this point has additionally shunned referring to the three organizations as “extremist groups.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned in testimony to the Senate final week that the U.S. authorities doesn’t maintain a listing of home terrorist teams corresponding to the one saved of international terrorist organizations.
“Under federal law, under U.S. law there is no list of domestic terrorism organizations the same way there is for foreign terrorist organizations,” Wray mentioned.
When requested if the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers have been home terrorist teams, Wray mentioned the FBI didn’t deal with them as such, however there have been people who related themselves with the teams who’re thought of home terrorists or violent extremists.
Takano mentioned in his assertion the Veterans’ Affairs Committee will proceed to research how the teams recruit veterans and “what role we can play in stopping it.”
“Exploiting veterans is unacceptable, and it’s our job to identify potential means to identify, intercept, and assist veterans who have been ensnared in such recruitment efforts. That’s why my committee is continuing to investigate how these groups continue to recruit veterans with extremist ideology and what role we can play in stopping it,” he mentioned.