WASHINGTON – A Navy reservist described by prosecutors as a heavily armed Nazi sympathizer with top-level U.S. government security clearance was arrested Wednesday in McLean, Va., and charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys, according to court filings.
Hatchet M. Speed, who worked until recently with a U.S. defense and intelligence cyberoperations contractor based in nearby Vienna, Va., posed an “alarming” threat to public safety, prosecutors said in court filings unsealed Thursday.
They cited his alleged statements to an undercover FBI employee in which he “espoused the use of violence to further his anti-government and anti-Semitic ideologies,” and his firearm-related purchases totaling over $50,000 after the Capitol attack in a bout of “panic” buying that included a dozen pistols, revolvers, shotguns and rifles.
U.S. prosecutors did not ask to jail Speed, but they requested a judge detain him until court authorities could find and remove weapons that were not seized in a search of his home and storage unit when he was arrested. An FBI search found 13 firearms, seven silencers, evidence of three more unrecovered suppressors and 25 firearms belonging to housemates, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb wrote.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ordered that Speed be held on home detention at a motel for the time being, in keeping with a standard release condition that defendants not possess firearms.
A spokesman for Speed’s assistant federal defenders, Brooke Rupert and Courtney Dixon, declined to comment after his initial appearance Thursday in federal court in Washington on charges of misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct in the restricted Capitol building. Speed is not accused of violence, has no criminal history and retains Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance, the government said.
In charging papers, however, the FBI said Speed in private praised the writings of Eric Rudolph, the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bomber in Atlanta, and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, a mathematician-turned-domestic terrorist active from 1978 to 1995, while criticizing their attacks and the efforts of domestic armed groups as ineffective.
Speed approved “jihadist,” or Islamist militant, efforts to “wipe out” the opposition, referring to Jewish people, and called Adolf Hitler “one of the best people that’s ever been on this earth,” the FBI said. He added that he “really want[s] somebody like Hitler to stand up and say, ‘We’re going to stand against this moral incineration that we’re seeing in the western world,’ ” the FBI said.
Speed, a petty officer first class, is assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Va., part of the U.S. intelligence community, according to court filings. He previously worked as a software developer for Novetta Solutions, a cyber analytics firm cleared for classified work for the Pentagon and other federal agencies, the FBI said.
In a charging affidavit, the FBI said it sent an undercover employee to befriend Speed “as a like-minded individual” after his phone was identified inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and he was recorded by cameras inside. In several meetings this March and April, Speed allegedly told the employee, identified as “UCE-1,” that he went to the Capitol with friends who were members of the Proud Boys and blamed police and supposed leftists for triggering violence.
In an agent declaration seeking conditions on Speed’s release, the FBI alleged that his comments indicated that he had “developed an anti-government ideology.”
Speed recently quit his job after working for government his entire career, he told UCE-1 in March, according to the FBI agent, who wrote, “Speed commented that he previously viewed himself as being a good patriot by working for the government but that he did not see it that way anymore and that he had come to believe that he was ‘lending [his] skill set to evil.’”
The agent said Speed remarked in an April conversation: “[B]ecause we do live in the D.C. area, so there’s actually … a lot of these … enemies that appear because this is where the seat of government is … So we have an advantage … Everybody is here.”