US soldier charged with plotting to attack own Army unit: Prosecutors

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A U.S. Army soldier gave classified information about American troops stationed overseas to a white supremacist group based in Britain, federal prosecutors alleged Monday.

Ethan Melzer, 22, allegedly planned to attack his own Army unit by sending sensitive details about its location, movements and security to members of an extremist group, Order of the Nine Angels, according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.

The FBI and the U.S. Army thwarted Melzer's plot in late May and he was arrested on June 10.

Melzer is charged with conspiring and attempting to murder U.S. nationals, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country.

"As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within," said acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. "Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group. Melzer allegedly provided this potentially deadly information intending that it be conveyed to jihadist terrorists. As alleged, Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal."

During an interview with military investigators and the FBI, Melzer admitted his role in plotting the attack. He said that he intended the planned attack to result in the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible, officials said. He also declared himself to be a traitor against the United States, and described his conduct as tantamount to treason.

"This case is another example of the international responsibilities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York Joint Terrorism Task Force," said NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. "Its FBI agents and New York City police detectives will travel anywhere in the world to bring terrorists to justice, in this case a soldier who is alleged to have forsaken his oath to the United States military and his fellow soldiers."

Officials say members and associates of O9A have expressed violent, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and Satanic beliefs, and have expressed admiration for both Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such as Usama Bin Laden, the now-deceased former leader of al Qaeda. Members and associates of O9A have also participated in acts of violence, including murders.

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