US Army soldier Ethan Melzer, 22, of Louisville, Kentucky, was indicted on terrorist charges Monday after he provided sensitive details about his Army unit to extremist organization Order of the Nine Angles (O9A), according to the US Justice Department (DoJ).
Melzer provided information such as location, movements and security to the neo-Nazi and white-supremacist group, the DoJ said. He has been charged with “conspiring and attempting to murder US nationals, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country,” the DoJ release notes.
The O9A group holds violent, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and Satanic beliefs and has “expressed admiration for both Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such as Osama Bin Laden,” according to the release.
According to the indictment documents, Melzer said “you just gotta understand that currently I am risking my literal free life to give you all this” and that he was “expecting results” to a confidential source when discussing the attack on his unit. When prodded by the same source on whether he understood that he could jeopardize his own life, Melzer responded: “Your [sic] kidding right. If we were to trigger this the right way the amount of s**t this would cause would cover it. My life would be absolutely meaningless in the amount of s**t it would cause after. Okay that sounds r******d but really it’s true.”
The DoJ release also notes that during a voluntary interview with military investigators and the FBI, Melzer said he wanted the attack to kill as many of his fellow service members as possible and that he considers himself to be a traitor against the US.
The FBI and the US Army prevented Melzer’s plot some time in May, and Melzer was arrested by FBI agents on June 10.
“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,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers is quoted as saying in the DoJ release.
“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,” he added.
Melzer joined the US Army in 2018 and became a member of O9A “by approximately 2019,” according to the release.
Many members of the group have committed violent acts. Before planning the attack, Melzer consumed propaganda from several extremist groups including O9A and Daesh, the DoJ release revealed. The FBI discovered an iCloud account owned by Melzer that included a Daesh-issued document with outlines of attacks against US personnel.
“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,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office William F. Sweeney Jr. is quoted as saying in the DoJ release.
“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.”
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