Reports: Alleged Capitol Attacker Previously Served As Marine One Crew Chief

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
|
March 11, 2021 1:11 p.m.

One of the military veterans charged in the deadly Capitol insurrection earlier this year previously served as a crew chief on Marine Helicopter Squadron One, the presidential helicopter unit that requires top-secret security clearance.

The Washington Post and CNN reported that John Daniel Andries was arrested last month and charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds. Andries pleaded not guilty.

Andries served in the Marine Corps from 2004 to 2009 and joined the highly restrictive unit Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which requires top-secret security clearance, in 2006. Andries was not a pilot, but served a presidential helicopter crew chief and worked on aircraft maintenance. Marine Corps records obtained by TPM confirmed Andries’ service history.

According to a criminal complaint released in late January, prosecutors alleged that Andries entered the Capitol Building during the insurrection through a broken window, when a mob breached the Capitol following then-President Trump’s incitement urging his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the electoral victory of Joe Biden.

In screenshots of a YouTube video provided to the FBI by a tipster, Andries is seen throughout the Capitol wearing a tan jacket during the riot. Once inside the building, Andries appears to turn to the crowd and waves his arms in a back-and-forth motion. Video footage also shows Andries walking up to officers several times and getting “within inches” of them.

Andries is charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, impeding passage through the Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

He was charged in a sealed complaint in late January, though more charges were added on Feb. 8. Andries pleaded not guilty to all counts against him in mid-February. By then, D.C. District Court Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather had signed off on Andries’ release from detention.

In all, roughly 300 people and counting so far face charges related to the Capitol breach. The Marine Corps veteran is one of about three dozen defendants with military ties, according to a recent George Washington University Program on Extremism study of alleged Capitol rioters earlier this month.

More than a third of charged Capitol rioters with military ties also had ties to extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, the tally found.

Prosecutors have not alleged that Andries was connected to any extremist group; he appears to have allegedly participated in the riot as what the George Washington University study termed an “inspired believer” — someone who arranged on their own to participate on Jan. 6, rather than attending as part of an organized group or interpersonal network. These individuals have made up the bulk of those charged so far.

Extremism researchers have said the attack on the Capitol marks a new chapter in their work, one marked by Capitol attack participants who, rather than being drawn to violence by their membership in an openly anti-government or white supremacist organization, were pulled by their devotion to Donald Trump and his so-called “big lie” that the election had been stolen.

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