A U.S. Army reservist with a secret-level security clearance and “access to a variety of munitions”—described in court papers as a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer—has been charged with taking part in the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli of Colts Neck, New Jersey, works as a contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle, which is also in Colts Neck, according to an FBI affidavit filed last week.
He now faces five federal counts: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority; disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; disrupting the orderly conduct of government business; parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building; and obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Naval Weapons Station Earle is the operational support base for four Military Sealift Command combat logistics ships: USNS Arctic, USNS Robert E. Peary, USNS William McLean, and USNS Medgar Evers.
At least 22 present or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have now been accused of taking part in the Capitol riot, according to the Associated Press. The first U.S. military member to be arrested for their participation in the deadly riot was Jacob Fracker, a Virginia police officer and current Army National Guardsman.
Hale-Cusanelli, who does not have a lawyer listed in court records and could not be reached for comment, was outed by a confidential source to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on Jan. 12, six days after the deadly siege. A charging document filed by prosecutors says Hale-Cusanelli showed the source videos on his cell phone of himself “making harassing and derogatory statements toward Capitol Police officers both inside and outside the Capitol building.”
“During our meeting on January 12, 2021, the [source] reported to me that Hale-Cusanelli is an avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer who posts video opinion statements on YouTube proffering extreme political opinions and viewpoints under the title the ‘Based Hermes Show,’” NCIS Special Agent Daniel J. Meyers wrote in an affidavit.
“Prior to traveling to the rally and protest on January 6, 2021, Hale-Cusanelli wrote ‘Trust the plan, it’s the final countdown, stay tuned next episode,’ and ‘Trust the plan, major announcement soon.’”
Two days later, the source secretly recorded a conversation with Hale-Cusanelli, who “admitted to entering the Capitol and encouraging other members of the mob to ‘advance’—giving directions via both voice and hand signals,” the affidavit explains.
“Hale-Cusanelli told the [source] that if they’d had more men they could have taken over the entire building. Hale-Cusanelli also admitted to taking a flag and flagpole that he observed another rioter throw ‘like a javelin’ at a Capitol Police officer, which Hale-Cusanelli described as a ‘murder weapon.’”
Many of Hale-Cusanelli’s “Based Hermes” content has been removed from the internet, but some of it remains available. In one April 2020 video, Hale-Cusanelli, as Based Hermes, rails against Jews and references the “Boogaloo,” a slang term used by white supremacists for the second civil war they claim to be fomenting.
The Jan. 6 sacking of the Capitol “was a failed attempt to overthrow a duly elected branch of government and undermine our democracy,” Reps. Ruben Gallego and Sara Jacobs, Democrats from Arizona and California, wrote in a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller last weekend. “Congressman Gallego and I agree that the Department of Defense must actively and aggressively investigate any potential active duty or retired service members who took part in the violence. Any service member who violated their oath to the Constitution should face the fullest extent of military justice.”
FBI agents are chasing thousands of leads related to the attempted insurrection, according to the Department of Justice. Prosecutors on Friday charged four additional men for taking part in the riots.
Louisiana resident Cody Connell incriminated himself and his cousin, Daniel Page Adams, through his own Facebook posts, according to an FBI affidavit.
“I have more videos of us breaching the Capitol but not gonna post them,” Connell allegedly wrote. “We will be back and it will be a lot worse than yesterday!”
Andrew Wrigley of Pennsylvania posted selfies on Facebook he allegedly took at the Capitol riots, and wrote that he “got tear gassed” inside the building, says a Capitol Police affidavit. Wrigley later tried to delete his posts, but investigators obtained screenshots which are included in the complaint against him.
And Brandon Fellows, an upstate New York resident, is facing charges for his role in the Capitol riots after giving an interview from the scene to CNN.
“We took the Capitol and it was glorious,” Fellows allegedly wrote on Facebook according to an FBI affidavit.