US Soldier Plotted to Ambush His Own Unit: Officials

Ethan Melzer has been charged with hatching plot with extremist group
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2020 2:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – A US soldier stands accused of plotting a deadly ambush on his own unit with the help of a violent extremist group. Officials say Ethan Melzer, 22, sent sensitive information about his unit, based in Turkey, to a group called the Order of the Nine Angles, the BBC reports. Officials call that group an "occult-based neo-Nazi and racially motivated violent extremist group," and say that Melzer was planning for the information to ultimately be passed on to a jihadist group that would carry out the attack. The plan was thwarted by the FBI and the US Army, however, and Melzer was arrested June 10. Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss referred to Melzer, who is from Kentucky, as "the enemy within," per the AP.

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"Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group," she said. "Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal." Officials say O9A, as the group is sometimes called, admires both Hitler and the Nazis as well as Osama bin Laden and Islamic jihadists. Melzer is 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. If convicted, he could face life behind bars. (Read more US Army stories.)

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