It was only a matter of time before one of the insurrectionists who stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 turned out to be a former Navy SEAL.
ABC News first reported that retired Navy SEAL Adam Newbold had seemingly bragged in a Facebook video about “breaching the Capitol; our building; our house.”
In the video, Newbold acknowledged that rioters had destroyed windows and doors of the Capitol building in order to force their way inside.
“Maybe they just didn’t get the message, unfortunately,” Newbold said in the video, which has since been taken down from Facebook. “I’m hoping the message was strong enough. Unfortunately, maybe it wasn’t. I hate to see this escalate more.”
Speaking to Task & Purpose on Wednesday, Newbold said that he did not personally go inside any of the Capitol buildings along with the rest of the mob.
“I absolutely did not go through the Capitol building,” Newbold said.
Newbold said he initially felt a surge of pride about how the pro-Trump rally had gone, but it was only after he made his Facebook video that he learned the extent of the damage inside the Capitol building and that Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt had been killed while trying to crawl into the building.
That is why Newbold has quit his former job as a contractor with the Navy Warrior Challenge program, he said, The program helps potential SEAL trainees prepare for the rigors of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.
“I immediately resigned that position as soon as this video started getting passed around,” Newbold told Task & Purpose. “There is a certain understanding that anything that can be construed negatively on the Navy or anywhere that I work would not in their interest and not fair to any potential candidates; and, truthfully, dealing with the potential legal ramifications, as I’m being called a traitor and people are accusing me of sedition and insurrection: I cannot fulfill my obligations with that job, nor other obligations that I had.”
Although he says he has resigned his position with the Navy Warrior Challenge Program, Newbold’s name and contact information are still listed on a Navy website as a point of contact for those in Ohio who are thinking about training to become SEALs.
He enlisted in the Navy in January 1994 and he retired in April 2017 as a reserve special warfare operator senior chief petty officer, according to the Navy. His awards include two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals w/Combat” V;” the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo campaign medals; and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/”M” Device.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss the actions of an individual whose reserve service ended almost four years ago,” said Capt. Ryan Perry, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command. “However, Rear Adm. Howard made it clear earlier this week in his message to the current Naval Special Warfare Force that the attack on Capitol Hill serves “as an imperative for each of us to reflect on, and reaffirm, our oath to support and defend the Constitution. We serve this great nation and our fellow Americans – all of them – equally, and without political bias.”
Newbold’s Linkedin profile says he is also co-owner of RAPTOR Training Services, which was awarded a contract by the Army in 2014 for nearly $98 million in 2014 to provide “Special Operations Forces requirements analysis, prototyping, training, operations, and rehearsal and for operations and maintenance training support,” according to a Defense Department announcement.
Newbold told ABC that he now feels the events of Jan. 6 on Capitol Hill were “all taken too far.”
“I would like to express to you just a cry for clemency, as you understand that my life now has been absolutely turned upside-down,” Newbold told ABC during a contrite 45-minute interview. “I am not a terrorist. I am not a traitor.”
Retired Army Gen. General Raymond A. Thomas III, the former head of U.S. Special Operations Command, was not persuaded by Newbold’s mea culpa to ABC.
“’I’m not a traitor.’ Yeah, you are. And you are a stain on your former profession,” Thomas tweeted on Wednesday.
In a Jan. 5 video posted on his Facebook page, Newbold urged supporters of President Donald Trump to treat police officers and National Guardsmen with respect at the pro-Trump rally that would end up immediately preceding the riot at the Capitol.
He also said that Black Lives Matter protesters include “good people with real reasons to chant the Black Lives mantra,” unlike Antifa, which he said only wants to create anarchy.
“We are not going down looking for a fight – keep that in mind,” Newbold said in the video before the insurrection. “We are not going down looking for a fight. We are just very prepared, very capable, and very skilled patriots ready for a fight. And we will react without hesitation when called upon to do so.”
This latest news comes after Portland police sought to question another former SEAL this summer in connection with reports that someone threw a pipe bomb at protesters.
Louis Garrick Fernbaugh told Task & Purpose he did not throw an explosive device at the protesters; instead, he claimed he was at the event to do reconnaissance on members of Antifa.
UPDATE: This story was updated on Jan. 13 to include Adam Newbold’s comments about resigning from the Navy Warrior Challenge program.