The Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys….
As federal prosecutors unveil charges in the assault on the Capitollast month, they have repeatedly highlighted two militant groups — the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — as being the most organized, accusing them of planning their strategy ahead of time and in some cases helping escalate a rally into an attack.
The two organizations stand in contrast to a majority of the mob. Of the more than 230 people charged so far, only 31 are known to have ties to a militant extremist group. And at least 26 of those are affiliated with the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys.
The groups differ in their focus and tactics: The Oath Keepers are part of an anti-government militia movement that emphasizes military-style training, while the Proud Boys espouse an ideology of male and Western superiority, with members often expressing white-supremacist and anti-immigrant views. But the groups have been united in their allegiance to former President Donald J. Trump.
Conspiracy charges, among the most serious levied so far, indicate that members of these groups may have worked together and planned their activities, potentially in ways that made them more dangerous than other rioters. Federal prosecutors have said that some members used teamwork to help people escape arrest and to direct and provoke protesters to overwhelm police defenses.
Of the 22 people charged with conspiracy crimes by mid-February, 18 were known to have ties to one of those two groups.
Another likely factor in the groups’ activities: More than a third of the militants were also known to have military experience, a far higher proportion than in the crowd as a whole.
“Right-wing groups targeted military veterans for having the skill sets that they were looking for,” said Peter D. Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University who specializes in military-civilian relations. “They weren’t recruiting from among the Columbia Journalism School.”
Although militants were a small part of the mob, their organizational tactics could have influenced others’ behavior and made the riot more violent…