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Increased extremism in U.S. military over past year, senior official says

15 Jan 2021 / 03:28 H.

    WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - There has been an increase in extremism in the United States military over the past year, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, but did not provide data on the scope of that increase.

    While extremism in the military has long been an issue, it is likely to face increased scrutiny after President Donald Trump's supporters last week stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee the inner chambers of the building, fearing for their lives.

    The Army has said it is working with the FBI to see if any attackers on Jan. 6 were current service members. It is also investigating whether any of the thousands of National Guard troops securing President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration would need additional screening. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

    Five people including a police officer died as a result of the attack. The assault marks a critical moment for extremists who have seized on false claims, spread by Trump, that the U.S. election system is fraudulent and rigged.

    "I think there is an increase based on the societal increases," the senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters.

    The official added there was also an increase because of more reporting in the military, and said the military was tracking down leads.

    (Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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