US soldier leaks classified information to al-Qaeda terrorists
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Affected Countries: united-states;
The Department of Justice announced today that they are indicting US Army soldier Ethan Melzer, 22, of Louisville, Kentucky for allegedly sending sensitive materials about his unit – “including information about its location, movements, and security”- to a neo-Nazi white supremacist group called the Order of the Nine Angels (O9A).
He is being charged with conspiracy to murder and attempting to murder US military service members, along with providing/attempting to provide information to terrorists and conspiring to murder/maim in a foreign country.
“As the indictment lays out, Ethan Melzer plotted a deadly ambush on his fellow soldiers in the service of a diabolical cocktail of ideologies laced with hate and violence,” said Assistant Attorney-General for National Security John C. Demers. “Our women and men in uniform risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own.
The National Security Division is proud to support the efforts of those who disrupted this planned attack and to seek justice for these acts.” Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss further went into detail, adding that US Army private Melzer attempted to plot an “ambush” on members of his former unit, “unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group” who later intended to provide said information to “jihadist terrorists,” including al-Qaeda.
“Melzer allegedly provided this potentially deadly information intending that it be conveyed to jihadist terrorists. As alleged, Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal,” Strauss noted.
Her colleague Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division Jill Sanborn added that “as alleged, Ethan Melzer sought to facilitate a deadly mass attack on his fellow service members by disclosing sensitive information to multiple extremists, including al-Qaeda.”
Within the criminal complaint, it’s stated that Melzer joined the military in 2018. A year later, he joined O9A, who have notably “espoused violent, neo-Nazi, antisemitic and Satanic beliefs, and have expressed admiration for both Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such as Osama bin Laden.” O9A members have also been linked to violence and murders, according to the DOJ statement.
He deployed abroad with the Army in October 2019, around which time he started to become radicalized by ISIS and O9A propaganda. The FBI even seized a ISIS-issued document titled “HARVEST OF THE SOLDIERS,” from an iCloud linked to Melzer, describing attacks and the murders of US personnel – nearly two months prior to his June 10 arrest.
Melzer was due to deploy again in April 2020, where he “thereafter sought to facilitate a deadly attack on his fellow service members.”
Once learning of his Army assignment, he began to send encrypted messages to O9A members and a related group called the “‘RapeWaffen Division,’ including communications regarding Melzer’s commitment to O9A and sensitive information related to his unit.”
“Melzer and his co-conspirators planned what they referred to as a ‘jihadi attack’ during the deployment, with the objective of causing a ‘mass casualty’ event victimizing his fellow service members. Melzer acknowledged in electronic communications that he could be killed during the attack, and, describing his willingness to die, wrote “who gives a [expletive] [. . .] it would be another war . . . I would’ve died successfully . . . cause  another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark,” the criminal complaint read.
The complaint continued that “on or about May 17, 2020, Melzer exchanged electronic communications regarding passing information about the anticipated deployment to a purported member of al-Qaeda.”
“Between approximately May 24 and May 25, 2020, Melzer sent additional electronic messages with specific information about his unit’s anticipated deployment, including, among other things, the number of soldiers who would be traveling, the location of the facility to which Melzer expected the unit would be deployed, and information about the facility’s surveillance and defensive capabilities.”
He intended to leak more information once he arrived at base. Melzer admitted to the crimes in a voluntary interview involving the military police and the FBI, noting he wanted the attack to result in as many deaths as possible, and declared himself and his actions as treacherous and tantamount to treason. Three of the six charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, the other three each delve out a blow of 15-20 years each.
“Melzer declared himself to be a traitor against the United States, and described his own conduct as tantamount to treason. We agree. He turned his back on his county and his unit while aligning himself with members of the neo-Nazi group O9A,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office William F. Sweeney Jr. “Today, he is in custody and facing a lifetime of service – behind bars – which is appropriate given the severity of the conduct we allege today.”