Suspected Sikh temple shooter Wade Page served in the US military and also identified himself as a white nationalist. He wasn’t alone, though — violent extremists are believed to be doing a large chunk of their training under Uncle Sam’s command.
Although the man authorities believe was single-handedly responsible for the shooting that left six people dead is thought to have taken his life during the August 5 massacre near Milwaukee, an unknown number of other veterans with extremist attitudes may still be planning and plotting hate crimes across the country.
Page, 40, was not the only servicemen — active or retired — who identified with organizations and clans considered extremist by the US military. And although federal investigators are no doubt trying to prevent another shooting from scarring America, the number of extremists who have learned their way around weapons thanks to the best training the government can buy is anyone’s guess. The Pentagon is well aware that the military has both been infiltrated by extremist groups and has served as a breeding ground for others to join after their Armed Forces tenure is over. That doesn’t mean, though, that they’ve found a way to reverse either of those trends.
“We don’t really think this is a huge problem, at Bragg, and across the Army,” Colonel Kevin Arata, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, tells Reuters in a report the newswire published this week. “In my 26 years in the Army, I’ve never seen it.”
The FBI, on the other hand, has openly acknowledged that gangs of all sorts have infiltrated the military. In the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, the agency writes, “Gangs encourage members, associates and relatives to obtain law enforcement, judiciary or legal employment in order to gather information on rival gangs and law enforcement operations.”