The Marines accused in the Capitol riots got highly sensitive spy jobs after January 6

A marine accused A highly sensitive intelligence assignment at National Security Agency headquarters was transferred after a violent attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election along with his participation in the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, Marine Corps officials have acknowledged. Marine admitted to his role in the Capitol riots during a security clearance interview last summer, but was not charged until last month.

After his alleged participation in the 2021 rebellion, Sgt. Joshua Abbate, a special communications signal analyst, was assigned to the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion, which operates communications between the Marines and the NSA at Fort Meade. The move to the liaison unit after the Capitol riots placed Abbott in one of the most sensitive facilities in the entire US government.


Left to right, Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen are seen inside the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Still: The Intercept/ITN, Getty Images

The two other Marines accused of breaking into the Capitol along with Abbott on Jan. 6 were also assigned sensitive new intelligence within the Marine Corps after the mutiny, according to a corps statement. Sergeant Dodge Dale Halonen was assigned to 3rd Marine Raider Support Battalion, which provides intelligence support to the Marine Forces Special Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. and Cpl. Mika Kumar was assigned to Marine 1St Radio Battalion, which provides signals intelligence and electronic warfare support for Marine Expeditionary Forces based at Camp Pendleton, California. Like Abbate, Halonen and Kumar are highly trained in communications and signals intelligence.

The assignment of three Marines to highly sensitive intelligence work after joining the riots on January 6 was not previously reported. All three were indicted last month for their roles as part of a violent mob that forced members of Congress to flee for their lives and delayed confirmation. 2020 Election Results. Abbate, Halonen and Kumar are charged with offenses including trespassing into a restricted building, disorderly conduct and unlawful parading or picketing.

The Marine Corps initially released little information about the three men; The service provided only brief descriptions of their current assignments and did not publicly acknowledge that all had been given new assignments after January 6. Three Marines have been exposed. “The Marine Corps is fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.”

But after The Intercept independently discovered that three Marines were given new intelligence assignments after the mutiny, the Corps confirmed that all of them had been transferred to new roles after Jan. 6, 2021, and provided information about their assignments during the mutiny. Abbott and Halonen were also promoted after the Capitol riots, according to the corps.

The reassignments raise serious new questions about the ability of both the military and the US intelligence community to identify right-wing extremists among them. Since the Capitol riots, the Pentagon has claimed it is trying to root out extremists, but there are few signs the problem has yet subsided or even that the threat level has been adequately measured. What’s more, the Pentagon’s efforts are now being blocked by congressional Republicans, who want to block efforts to purge right-wing radicals from the military. An early warning of Republican opposition came last summer, when the Senate Armed Services Committee voted in favor of legislative language designed to end the Pentagon’s efforts to counter extremist influence in the military. Every Republican senator on the panel voted to block the anti-extremist training, and they succeeded when Maine independent Sen. Angus King joined them.

Now that Republicans control the House, they are promising to follow the Pentagon’s “weak” policies; Efforts to root out right-wing extremists are sure to be among their main goals.

Although Pentagon officials have spoken widely about the problem of right-wing extremism in the military, the US intelligence community has so far been largely secretive about the issue. Intelligence officials report growing threats posed by white nationalism and right-wing domestic terrorism, but there is no public information on the extent of the problem within its ranks and little evidence that it is taking significant steps to prevent the spread of extremism within. their own organization.

Intelligence officials declined to discuss whether any investigation was underway to determine how Abbott, Halonen and Kumar could have been given such sensitive intelligence positions after attending the Jan. 6 mob allegation. An NSA spokesman declined to comment on Abbott’s role in the Marines’ NSA liaison office and declined to say whether the NSA is conducting a counterintelligence investigation to examine whether Abbott compromised any operations. A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment.

The three Marines are not the first with links to the intelligence community to be accused of involvement in the January 6 mutiny. Last September, Hatchet Speed, a Navy reservist who previously worked on NAVWAR Space Field Activities at the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nation’s spy satellites, was indicted after telling an undercover FBI agent that he had visited the US Capitol with members. The Proud Boys, an extremist group that was at the center of the insurgency.

It seems clear from interviews and court documents that investigators were slow to identify Abbate, Halonen and Kumar. During the rebellion, the three friends were all assigned to the Marine Corps Information Operations Center in Quantico, Virginia, about 30 miles south of Washington. The center is involved in psychological warfare training and development for Marines, among other tasks.

On January 6, 2021, the three went to the U.S. Capitol together, entering the building at 2:20 p.m. through the Senate Wing doors, according to video footage and photos taken during the attack. They were inside the Capitol for about an hour amid the riot, according to the criminal complaint filed by the government in their case. Halonen was holding a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

The three began roaming the halls with the crowd flooding the Capitol. According to the complaint, at 2:32 p.m., they entered the Capitol Rotunda, placed a red Maga hat on a statue and took pictures with it.

They walk through the building using their cellphones to take pictures and videos.

The three fled without immediately identifying themselves. Abete later said that “he heard how the incident was being portrayed negatively and decided not to tell anyone about going to the U.S. Capitol building,” according to the complaint.

Kumar was apparently first identified by the FBI. On August 13, 2021, a federal search warrant was served on Facebook authorizing a search of “mrcoomer08’s” Instagram account. Kumar posted the photo from inside the Capitol on his personal account on January 6, with the caption: “Glad to be apart. [sic] of history.” In a separate Instagram conversation on January 31, 2021, Kumar said that “everything in this country is corrupt. We really need a fresh restart. I’m waiting for Boogaloo.”

“What’s Boogaloo,” the user he was talking to asked, according to the government’s complaint.

“Civil War 2,” replied Kumar.

In addition to admitting his involvement in the riot through his social media posts, Kumar was also identified by a Marine witness who picked him up from footage taken inside the Capitol, the indictment said.

It took nearly another year for investigators to confront Abbott about his presence at the Capitol that day. In June 2022, Abbott was interviewed as part of his security clearance process and admitted to visiting the US Capitol during the uprising with “two friends”.

Abete said that as they walked through the rotunda, one of his friends smoked a cigarette and they were “trying not to get hit by the tear gas,” according to the complaint. Abte also admitted that he decided to keep his involvement a secret. When contacted by phone, relatives of Kumar and Halonen declined to comment on the case. David Disley, an attorney for Abbate, said the next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 21 in federal court in Washington.