Nearly 1,000 people joined the Oath Keepers militia group — or renewed their memberships — in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, according to hacked materials from the extremist organization's website.
More than a dozen members of the Oath Keepers — which is made up mostly of former law enforcement officers and military vets — have been indicted for allegedly conspiring to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The subsequent surge in Oath Keepers membership "included people who joined under their military ranks, including combat veterans, retired servicepersons, at least one serving national guardsman, several members of the clergy and others involved in security contracting and the firearms industry," the Guardian reported Friday.
The report is based on payment records from the Oath Keepers website, which were among the hacked materials provided to reporters by the transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets.
"They (the payment records) show that 801 people either joined the organization or made donations after 4 January, when founder Stewart Rhodes posted an article on the website headlined 'Oath Keepers Deploying to DC to Protect Events, Speakers, & Attendees on Jan 5-6: Time to Stand!'" the Guardian reported. "But almost all of that number – 788 altogether – joined or donated after Oath Keepers members participated in the incursion into the Capitol building on 6 January, with the records showing that the surge built momentum in January before slowing in February, March and April, where the records end."
While none of the new members' email addresses were linked directly to military or government employers, 10 recruits noted their military ranks in an optional "title field," the site reported, including three who said they were lieutenant colonels.
"The Guardian's investigation of the record showed that the majority of these are retired, but some have gone on to work in other sensitive roles," the site reported.
"The records show, for example, that one sign-up was a former lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps and that his service included stints at the corps' headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, before taking a position at Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor," according to the Guardian. "Another sign-up, on 7 January, was apparently another Marine veteran who also worked as a bodyguard for the military contractor Blackwater, in a US government program to provide personal protection in theaters of war like Afghanistan and Iraq."
The hacked materials have also sparked an internal investigation by the New York Police Department, after they appeared to show that two active officers are affiliated with the Oath Keepers. And the materials included emails in which Rhodes stoked conspiratorial fears about a "decapitation strike" against the group by the Biden administration.