Soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers assist the Minneapolis Police Department with security efforts for Super Bowl 52. (Minnesota National Guard/Sgt. Luther Talks)
A 19-year-old Minnesota National Guard recruit is being investigated for alleged ties to a white supremacist group.
The unnamed serviceman from Chaska, Minn., was exposed as a part of a leak of internet chat logs in March, the Star Tribune reported.
The man made posts in a a chat room on Discord — an app created for use by gamers, but also increasingly used by members of the far-right — to communicate with members of the white supremacist, anti-immigration group called Identity Evropa between October 2017 and February 2019.
The messages posted in Identity Evropa's Discord chat named "Nice Respectable People Group" were leaked by Unicorn Riot, a non-profit media organization "dedicated to exposing root causes of dynamic social and environmental issues."
Unicorn Riot obtained "hundreds of thousands" of messages from neo-Nazi and white supremacist chat servers in Discord after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., resulted in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. The organization's goal is to open "far-right activity centers to public scrutiny through data journalism."
The Star Tribune reported that the man has denied being a member of the group, but on Oct. 11, 2017 he wrote "Great to finally join up with IE" and exactly a year later, wrote "Operation Evropa."
Under the alias "Hyphenstein," the man wrote about his plans to attend Identity Evropa's "Defend the Rockies!" anti-immigration rally in Colorado, writing "I've been sold on Denver, will register tomorrow" on Oct. 10, 2018. Three weeks later he asked the members to wish him luck on his "long drive" to Colorado.
Earlier this year, he talked of joining the military and expectations that he would quickly rise through the ranks in the National Guard.
On Feb. 24, 2019, he made his last post in the Discord chat.
"Last day in Minnesota before army basic training. Wish I could have made it to LoPF19. Looks like a lot of fun!" the man wrote, referencing the national Identity Evropa "Leading Our People Forward" conference in Kentucky.
He currently holds the rank of private and attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was recalled to Minnesota in April and is now under investigation, a Minnesota National Guard spokesman told the Star Tribune.
So far, the man's name has not been revealed because the Guard is still investigating and he has not been charged with a crime.
Identity Evropa, which rebranded itself as American Identity Movement after its Discord messages were leaked, is identified as a white supremacist organization by the Anti-Defamation League and is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Minneapolis Army recruiting manager Sgt. Maj. Shawn Kor told the Star Tribune the man was required to disclose any affiliation with groups like Identity Evropa at multiple points during his recruitment process and again during his final pre-recruitment interview, but never did.
"This individual's check came back just fine," Kor told the Star Tribune — evidence that people with white supremacist ties can and often do slip under the radar in any profession.
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At least two defense contractors have also been killed in Afghanistan. One was a Navy veteran and the other had served in the Army.
U.S. Air Force officer passes in front of a MQ-9 Reaper drone, one of a squadron that has arrived to step up the fight against the Taliban, at the Kandahar air base, Afghanistan January 23, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)
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A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defenses had brought down a U.S. drone.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday.