REPORT: In Secret Facebook Groups, Elite U.S. Troops Share Racist Attacks, Disparage Biden and Promote QAnon
Thousands of current and former U.S. special operations force members routinely share racist rants, disparage President Joe Biden, lament Donald Trump’s election loss and even promote the false QAnon conspiracy theory in secret Facebook groups. NBC News reports that its review of hundreds of posts from current and former Army Rangers, Green Berets and other elite soldiers found them expressing disturbing, extremist views.
It found that a member of a special forces group was lamenting that several aides to former Vice President Mike Pence were part of a “Concerted effort by the thieves and pedophiles walking the hallowed halls of the peoples government” to undermine former president Trump. Another member commented, “In a just world, they would have already been taken out behind the court house and shot.”
In another post, a member of one of the groups responded to criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement with an image of a noose and the message “IF WE WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE EVIL PEOPLE FEAR PUNISHMENT AGAIN.”
Posts often ridicule President Biden — describing him as “senile” and weak compared to leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin — and refer to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin with derogatory terms like “bubba,” “racist punk” and “pus-gut maggot.”
NBC News reviewed posts from four private groups that describe themselves as solely for special operations forces. While the majority of the content in two of the groups, SF Brotherhood – PAC and US Special Forces Team Room, is political in nature, the forums shouldn’t be seen as reflective of the overall views of the whole special operations forces community.
Collectively, the two groups have more than 5,000 members, with some belonging to both. U.S. Special Operations Command has about 70,000 personnel, and there are tens of thousands more retired members of special operations forces.
“The story of radicalization in special operations is a story that needs to be told,” said Jack Murphy, a former Army Ranger and Green Beret who has written extensively about the special operations forces community. “It has shocked and horrified me to see what’s happened to these guys in the last five or six years.”
Robert Wilson, a former Green Beret who was commander of the 3rd Special Forces Group, said members of the community “are radicalizing themselves online, just like many of these lone-wolf ISIS terrorists did.”
“It’s a problem, and it’s an internal threat to the United States,” said Wilson, who was counterterrorism director on the National Security Council during the Obama and Trump administrations.
The FBI is investigating active-duty troops and reservists as part of its investigation into the riot. There is growing concern that the problem is more pervasive than it appears among those currently serving.
“I am concerned about active duty,” Wilson said. “I don’t think special operations forces just develop these ideas in their head when they get out and are in their late 40s. So I think it starts in the military and probably gets worse when they’re out.”