Army soldier Killian Mackeithan Ryan allegedly linked to racist online extremism

A U.S. Army soldier wrote on Instagram that he joined the military “based on combat experience so I would be better at killing black people,” investigators say.

Killian Mackeithan Ryan also had five Instagram accounts that were in touch with others “connected to racially motivated extremism,” according to court documents.

Ryan’s alleged social media activities are documented in a case filed in US District Court in North Carolina late last month, alleging that he provided false information on a security clearance form for the Fort Bragg service.

The case was first reported by Rolling Stone and comes at a time when the US military is trying to purge its ranks of extremists and white supremacists.

For example, last year Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed commanding officers to initiate a one-day standstill on extremism. The military also updated its social media policy that liking and reposting certain content may result in disciplinary action.

And just this week, the names of more than 100 current military personnel appeared in the leaked membership rolls of a far-right group accused of playing a key role in last year’s US Capitol uprising.

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Killian Mackeithan Ryan has been accused of linking multiple Instagram accounts to racist extremism online.

Ryan is accused of claiming on the security clearance form that he had had no contact with his biological father for more than 10 years, according to court records. He also said his biological father was not listed on his birth certificate.

According to court records, Ryan’s birth father is a convicted felon with a criminal record in Washington state and California for drug violations and auto theft.

Ryan was investigated by a Fayetteville, North Carolina police officer who works as part of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The military is trying to purge extremists from its ranks.

Ryan served in the Regular Army at Fort Bragg until his Aug. 26 arrest by the FBI and “was separated for serious misconduct,” U.S. Army officials said in a statement.

The statement did not elaborate on what the wrongdoing was. According to court documents, Ryan was also charged with driving under the influence in Fort Bragg in July.

The Army said the FBI informed them earlier this year that Ryan was under investigation.

“The US Army does not condone racism, extremism or hatred within our ranks,” the statement said.

Ryan served as a fire support specialist gathering intelligence on enemy targets for artillery forces. The Army said he had no deployments.

For one of his Instagram accounts, Ryan used an email called “naziace1488,” according to court records.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, 1488 is a combination of numeric symbols popular with white supremacists.

The first is the number 14, which is shorthand for a 14-word slogan about the “future for white children,” the ADL said. The second is 88, which stands for “Heil Hitler” because H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, the ADL said.

According to court records, Ryan was in touch with his birth father through Instagram. His father also posted a photo of the two at Ryan’s high school graduation in 2019.

Legal experts say Ryan could have jeopardized his security clearance by listing recent contacts with his birth father.

“You’re looking at whether you could be compromised in any way because of your personal situation,” said Colby Vokey, a military criminal defense attorney.

Ryan would have needed authorization to work with information about enemy positions as well as information about US weapons systems, Vokey added.

Phillip Stackhouse, another military criminal defense attorney, said prosecuting someone for providing false information on a security clearance form is not routine in his experience. Many people are often simply stripped of their clearance, with no charges being brought.

“Maybe they’ll make an example of him,” Stackhouse said of Ryan. “Maybe to put pressure on him to cooperate with another investigation.”

Ryan’s federal public defender James E. Todd, Jr. did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. Army soldier Killian Mackeithan Ryan allegedly linked to racist online extremism


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