- US Army Pvt. Ethan Melzer, 22, has been charged with terrorism offences for planning a “mass casualty” attack on his fellow service members with a satanic neo-Nazi group, the Department of Justice announced Monday.
- The young soldier provided the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A) with sensitive details, such as location, movements, and strength, about a recent deployment with the intent of having that information make it to violent jihadists, federal prosecutors allege.
- In interviews with authorities, Melzer called himself a traitor and said that his aim was to kill as many of his fellow soldiers as possible.
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The Department of Justice announced on Monday that 22-year-old US Army private Ethan Melzer is being charged with terrorism offences for his alleged role in the planning of a “mass casualty” attack on his unit with an extremist neo-Nazi group.
Melzer, a Louisville, Kentucky native who joined the Army in 2018, provided sensitive information about his unit, such as location, movements, and security status, to the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A) with the intent that it be distributed to violent jihadists, federal prosecutors said in a Monday press release.
The Army private is said to have joined O9A, a satanic white supremacist group known for its violent beliefs and hateful ideologies, in 2019, according to the DOJ.
After he was informed by the Army in April 2020 about plans for his unit’s next deployment, federal prosecutors allege that Melzer used an encryption app to send sensitive information about the deployment to O9A and a related group and make plans for a “jihadi attack” on the unit.
The objective, as laid out by the DOJ, is said to have been a “mass casualty” event that would kill Melzer’s fellow service members.
Melzer also sent information in May to a purported member of al Qaeda, including where the soldiers would be and their surveillance and defensive capabilities, federal prosecutors allege. He told his contact he would provide more information later that would increase the likelihood of success.
Federal prosecutors said that in electronic communications with his co-conspirators, he acknowledged that he would likely be killed in the attack. He said that he was willing to die. “Who gives a fuck?” he wrote, according to the criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
Federal authorities and the Army successfully thwarted Melzer’s plot in late May, and he was arrested on June 10. In interviews with military investigators and the FBI, he described himself as a traitor.
He confessed to role in the plot and revealed that his plan was to kill as many of his fellow soldiers as possible, the criminal complaint released by the Department of Justice said.
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York said that Melzer was “motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal.”
Melzer has been charged with conspiring and attempting to murder US nationals, specifically US service members, providing material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country. If convicted, he faces life in prison.