Kahele calls for explanation on how U.S. military is handling internal extremists

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 5:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - U.S. Representative Kai Kahele was one of several congressional members on Capitol Hill Tuesday calling for more accountability of present and retired military members who may have played a role in the January 6 insurrection.

The Democrat from Hawaii joined a group of others on both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and the Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen last week, calling for an investigation of extremists with the ranks of the U.S. military or among retired service members.

Some of the individuals arrested in connection with the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol had military connections.

“We write with grave concerns over reports that multiple active duty and retired military service members and veterans are under investigation, or have been arrested,” the letter said.

It was also reported Tuesday that at least a dozen National Guard members had been removed from duty ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, the result of the FBI conducting security vetting on some 25,000 guard members who are participating in the protection effort.

Kahele is a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard.

The lawmakers who signed onto the letter wanted answers to specific questions relating to the administrative tools being used to prosecute those on active duty, those retired from the military, veterans and federal contractors.

Military experts like Lawrence Wilkerson, Adjunct Professor at William & Mary University, calls the extremists domestic terrorists.

“The FBI and others have been exceedingly worried, and I must say, in the last year I have become even more worried,” he said

Wilkerson worked for the U.S. State Department in 2001, when the September 11 terror attacks happened.

He said attacks from within are much more difficult to identify.

“We can track al-Qaeda, we can track ISIS, we know who their leaders are,” Wilkerson said. “We don’t know who half these people are in the United States.”

Wilkerson said manpower makes it difficult for agents to track down everyone making questionable statements, especially on social media.

Local military leaders told Hawaii News Now that extremists will be not be tolerated and they have protocols to identity and address individuals within their ranks.

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