Three marines arrested this week for their alleged participation in the January 6th, 2021, attack on the Capitol are some of the highest-ranking active-duty military to have been charged in the attack so far — and perhaps more concerning, they hold some of the higher levels of intelligence clearance.
The arrests of Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate, and Dodge Dale Hellonen were facilitated by Coomer’s social media posts, boasting that he was “proud to be apart [sic] of history” and showing photos of himself inside the Capitol.
It seems the military’s lessons about caution in social media presence didn’t stick, and a search warrant for his Instagram and other accounts was obtained.
Among other things, Coomer discussed in his Instagram messages his desire for “Civil War 2” and declared that “everything in this country is corrupt,” declaring the need for a new start.
He also claimed to have evidence of voter fraud, citing a friend who obtained a ballot for his dead cat, though, as seen in recent cases, safeguards are in place to catch fraudulent ballots when submitted.
Investigators, with the help of the Marine Corps, were able to identify Coomer on security footage, then use the same images to identify Abate and Hellonan in his vicinity.
All three work in or adjacent to U.S. Intelligence, and at least one has a high-level security clearance. Military.com reports:
“[A]ll three men have been enlisted in the Marines for more than four years, with Hellonen, who enlisted in August 2017, being the most senior. On paper, the three Marines hold demanding jobs tied to the intelligence community, are stationed at major commands, and have personal commendations and awards to their name.”
They are not, however, charged with some of the more severe crimes of the day.
Their charges at this time are knowingly entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct (2 counts), and parading or picketing inside the U.S. Capitol.
While some of their confederates were assaulting police, destroying property, and stealing items from the building, Coomer, Abate, and Hellonan walked around the Capitol Rotunda, placed a MAGA hat on a statue and took photos with it, and, in Abate’s description as he confessed during a security clearance interview, “tried not to get hit with tear gas,” the Statement of Facts in their case details.
However, their access to intelligence information combined with their apparent willingness to join an attack on the U.S. Government is a bad combination, and if they are found guilty, the military could add its own consequences atop those imposed by the court.