Neo-Nazi Marine Corps vet accused of plotting terror attack possessed classified military materials: sources
A neo-Nazi Marine Corps veteran jailed for allegedly plotting to attack the power grid and commit acts of racial terror stands accused by the government of possessing classified Defense Department materials on a computer drive at the time of his arrest, Raw Story has exclusively learned.
The nature of the classified materials found on Jordan Duncan’s hard drive upon his arrest in Idaho in October 2020 is unclear. The government has not described the contents of the materials, which were found amid a tranche of documents about chemicals and bomb-making, or provided any explanation about how Duncan allegedly obtained them.
But the revelation about apparent classified materials in the possession of Duncan, as alleged by the government in a court filing, adds an explosive new dimension to the federal case against him — as the nation’s defense apparatus continues to reel from a separate classified document leak allegedly committed by a National Guard airman.
It also comes amid previously reported details of Duncan’s role in an alleged neo-Nazi plot to target power substations and carry out a campaign of racial violence. Duncan’s background as a Russian linguist trained by the Marine Corps in electronic communications raises the provocative question — yet unanswered — about whether he passed on classified information to a foreign government or otherwise used it to harm the United States by advancing an agenda to promote social discord and undermine democracy.
Following Duncan’s arrest, in October 2020, authorities executed a search warrant on his apartment in Boise and seized an external hard drive. Three months later, in January 2021, a federal prosecutor informed a judge that investigators uncovered what “appeared to be classified material,” according to details in court documents reviewed by Raw Story that have not been previously reported.
Court filings made by defense counsel earlier this year specified that the materials described by the government as being potentially classified were discovered on the external hard drive seized from Duncan’s apartment.
Concerns surrounding the security of classified Defense Department documents have been magnified recently with the disclosure that Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts National Guard airman, shared sensitive military documents about the war in Ukraine on the Discord messaging platform while harboring fantasies about carrying out mass shootings and, like Duncan, envisioning a race war — an imagined armed conflict in which the belligerents are determined by skin color.
Duncan and Teixeira’s access to sensitive military documents as relatively low-level operators is not unique. In the past 15 years, significant leaks of military and national security information have been carried out by Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor, and Chelsea Manning, a junior intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army.
Duncan and two other men were initially charged in October 2020 with illegally manufacturing and transporting firearms. Charges grew to include conspiracy to damage an energy facility, and expanded to include five defendants overall.
As described in court documents, the defendants allegedly conspired “to attack the power grid both for the purpose of creating general chaos and to provide cover and ease of escape” while undertaking a campaign of assassinations against Black Lives Matter founders and Democratic politicians.
The alleged goal: cause a societal collapse and create a white ethno-state.
Theft of government records?
Among the five men named in the indictment, three — including Duncan — served in the Marine Corps. A fourth was a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard and a fifth was an adult film actor. The government alleges that the cofounder of the group stole military gear, including body armor and magazines for assault rifles, from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and shipped it to other members over the course of almost three years.
Duncan, who had recently relocated to Idaho at the time of his arrest, was walking across the parking lot to go to his job at a military contractor one day in October 2020 when, according to his lawyer, 20 FBI agents with assault rifles and flashbang grenades swarmed him and knocked his cell phone out of his hand.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which is prosecuting the case, declined to answer questions.
Duncan’s lawyer told Raw Story he has not had the opportunity to review the classified materials despite more than two years passing since the government reported their existence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Kocher gave notice to a federal court in North Carolina in February 2021 that the FBI was executing a search warrant to review electronic devices and accounts seized in the investigation. Kocher told the court that the review would determine whether there was evidence of violations of two federal laws that respectively criminalize the theft of government records and the acquisition of information about national defense activities with the intent to use it to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation. Conviction for the former charge carries up to a year in prison, while the latter carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Duncan’s current charges carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 25 years. To date, he has not faced any additional charges related to the alleged classified documents.
Raymond Tarlton, Duncan’s attorney, wrote in a motion filed earlier this month that “the government’s position on the purported information contained on the hard drive allegedly seized from Mr. Duncan’s home is that it is not relevant to the government’s case and that it is not exculpatory.”
Tarlton told Raw Story that he expects to review the materials in a secure room similar to a sensitive compartmented information facility, commonly known as a SCIF, where no cell phones are allowed, in accordance with the Classified Information Procedures Act.
It is not clear whether the materials identified by the government as being potentially classified were obtained by Duncan during his time in the Marine Corps, or following his discharge when he worked for two different military contractors.
Duncan specialized as a Russian linguist in the Marine Corps, and studied at a military language institute at the Presidio of Monterey on the central California coast during his enlistment. Following his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 2018, Duncan worked for a military contractor, Academy Solutions Group, in San Antonio, Texas, and then, briefly, for a Navy contractor in Idaho.
Tarlton suggested a third possible source for the materials to Raw Story: “In theory, it could be things from Wikileaks.”
The contents of the external hard drive are extensive, and Tarlton said the volume amounts to a terabyte of materials. It remains unknown what the documents identified by the government as potentially classified say, but the overall contents of the hard drive on which the classified material was discovered have been amply described in federal court.
During Duncan’s detention hearing in December 2020, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agent John Christopher Little — the lead investigator in the case — told the court that he discovered “an extensive library on a lot of different topics” on the hard drive, including information on explosives, car bombs, chemical weapons; military manuals; and folders labeled “propaganda.” Some of the military manuals appeared to be available on the internet, Little testified.
The explosives manuals included information about ammonium nitrate, which was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people, and how to make thermite, which Little described as “a mixture of aluminum powder and oxidized metal” that “burns extremely hot” and is “utilized by the military to penetrate armor.”
Little testified that one of the defendants told him that members of the neo-Nazi group discussed thermite as an option for burning through electrical transformers. Little also told the court that the documents on chemical weapons included instructions on how to make ricin, a poison derived from castor beans that has been used to carry out at least one assassination.
During a detention hearing for one of Duncan’s co-defendants in August 2021, Little added that the hard drive included “information taken from the military.” His testimony does not make clear whether investigators believe that information was derived from Duncan’s service in the Marine Corps or employment with a private contractor, or was simply downloaded from a public site on the internet.
But Kocher, the lead prosecutor in the case, has expressed concern that information collected by Duncan was shared with his co-defendants.
Little testified that schematics and a manual with information about detonators and car bombs was found on Duncan’s hard drive and also on an iCloud account controlled by co-defendant Paul Kryscuk, in addition to the information about how to make thermite. Little also testified that a manual on how to build silencers for firearms was found on both Duncan’s hard drive and co-defendant Joseph Maurino’s phone. Kryscuk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage an energy facility in 2022. Maurino, a former member of the New Jersey Army National Guard, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to illegally manufacture and transport firearms.
During the search of Duncan’s apartment in Boise, the authorities also recovered a fake ID and an active Defense Department-issued passport. Little testified that Duncan was required to return the passport upon his discharge from the Marine Corps, and that his employer in Boise said the passport wasn’t needed for work.
Fake ID seized from Jordan Duncan's apartment in Boise, Idaho. Source: U.S. Department of Justice
Magistrate Judge James E. Gates cited the “library” of materials found on Duncan’s hard drive, his fake ID and illegal Department of Defense passport, his background in intelligence and communications and the fact that he apparently lied to obtain a security clearance as a basis for his decision to order him held in pre-trial detention as a flight risk and danger to the community.
The ideal candidate: ‘an intelligence/com guy’
Duncan met Liam Collins, a cofounder of the neo-Nazi group, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in 2018, near the end of his stint in the Marine Corps, Little testified. Duncan’s training in signals intelligence made him an ideal candidate for the neo-Nazi group.
Prior to founding the group, Collins posted on Iron March — a forum for violent neo-Nazis that shut down in 2017 — that he was “looking for an intelligence/com guy for his group,” Little testified. “He wants someone with that specific skill set for his group.”
Following his discharge from the Marine Corps in September 2018, Duncan started work with Academy Solutions Group, a military contractor based in Columbia, Md., at the company’s facility in San Antonio, Texas.
Duncan’s position there, as listed on his LinkedIn page, was “cyber help desk technician.” Academy Solutions Group was recently acquired by DarkStar Intelligence, a Virginia firm that specializes in support for confidential informant and human intelligence operations, and intelligence analysis for the Defense Department and other federal agencies.
Academy Solutions Group, according to its website, primarily served the Defense Department and national intelligence agencies, while boasting that its employees held security clearances ranging from top secret to “TS/SCI,” an acronym for “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.”
Judge Gates told Duncan during his December 2020 detention hearing that had he been candid about his involvement with the neo-Nazi group, “your security clearance would have been removed or canceled.”
Academy Solutions Group is deeply enmeshed in the U.S. military. For example, it announced in 2018 that it was a subcontractor on a $54.6 million contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force to defense industry giant Northrop Grumman to provide “integrated cyber capabilities across domains for U.S. Cyber Command.”
The contract indicated that the work would be performed in San Antonio with an anticipated completion date in October 2021. That timeframe directly overlaps with Duncan’s tenure at the company from February 2019 through September 2020.
Multiple emails and phone calls from Raw Story to Academy Solutions Group, seeking clarification as to whether Duncan worked on the contract, went unreturned.
The U.S. Cyber Command was established in 2009 by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. According to the command’s official history, the command grew out of a recognition publicly acknowledged by Pentagon leaders as early as 1995 that “U.S. military networks were vulnerable to remote attacks” and that “foreign entities were probing U.S. government networks and could potentially disrupt vital operations.”
The agency’s website highlights its role in protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference, including participation in a “Russia Small Group” that worked to protect the 2018 midterms, which in turn evolved into the Election Security Group, focused on protecting the 2020 election. The Cyber Command also utilizes offensive capabilities “to impose costs on adversaries, according to the website.
The Cyber Command is headed by the national security director, currently Gen. Paul M. Nakasone. The National Security Agency did not respond to an inquiry from Raw Story about whether officials have undertaken any investigation of Duncan’s work for Academy Solutions Group.
In April 2019, during the period Duncan was employed by Academy Solutions Group, records for the cash-transfer app Venmo show that a user named “Jerry Dunkey” paid Duncan an undisclosed amount for “solvent traps and a drill press.”
Agent Little explained to the court during Duncan’s detention hearing that solvent traps can be “readily converted with little effort into functioning silencers” when attached to rifles. A drill press, Little explained, could be used to manufacture a firearm.
Later that year, in September, public Venmo transaction records reviewed by Raw Story show that “Jerry Dunkey” made another payment to Duncan with a note attached that said in apparent jest: “Some rubles lmao.” LMAO is a common acronym for “laughing my ass off.”
Court records provide little indication of what, if any, Defense Department materials Duncan obtained during his 20-month stint at Academy Solutions Group in San Antonio. And while Duncan’s background as a Russian linguist and the fact that his employer held a contract with an agency tasked with defending against election interference by Russian raise provocative questions, there’s no record of communication between Duncan and Kremlin agents.
A spokesperson for the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service said agents do not comment on investigative matters, and an email to the National Security Division at the Justice Department went unreturned.
What is clear is that when Duncan packed up his belongings and moved from San Antonio to Boise in September 2020, he and his neo-Nazi conspirators were building for something that he viewed as significant.
In July 2020, Duncan sent a color image to Paul Kryscuk through the social media platform Instagram. It showed Duncan and three other members of the neo-Nazi group pointing assault rifles at the camera and included the text: “POV you’re a race mixer.” Agent Little told the court that the image was extracted from video the group recorded of a firearms training in the desert outside of Boise earlier that month.
“Part of the significance, too, is that their training was offensive in nature,” Little testified during Duncan’s detention hearing. “It was — they were doing things in a very paramilitary, militaristic style, advancing on targets, covering each other’s movements, communicating about when they were reloading their magazines, everything else.
“So, the fact that that training took place, and then that they choose to take a photo from that training and label it as the point of view ‘you’re a race mixer,’” Little added, “is significant to me and indicates that [racial violence] had something to do with the purpose of that training for them.”
A still from a propaganda video shows a neo-Nazi group that included Jordan Duncan conducting firearms training in Idaho in July 2020. Source: U.S. Department of Justice
In early August 2020, with Duncan back in San Antonio and Kryscuk still in Boise, the two men exchanged messages on Instagram that expressed their yearning for the time they would come together again as a group in Idaho and set a plan in motion.
“I’m like 4 weeks away from being there fam,” Duncan wrote. “Been thinking a lot more about stuff you and I need to be doing.”
“We’re gonna lay major groundwork,” Kryscuk replied. “Play time is over.”
“I’m so serious lately that I actually am not enjoying my life,” he added. “It kinda sucks. Looking forward to you getting out here so we can get s--- done.”
“Yeah, I feel you,” Duncan said. “The closer I get to it the more I think about everything we have to do.”
“And brother,” he added, “we’re gonna have to move some mountains.”
- GOP congressman’s aide tied to Neo-Nazi ›
- Marine Corps veteran founder of neo-Nazi terror group negotiating a plea deal ›
- Texas mall shooter wore neo-Nazi symbol and shared 'white-supremacist content online': report ›
- 'Dumbest weird' neo-Nazi group fears anti-Juneteenth ploy promoting 'white genocide' film will fail - Alternet.org ›
- Lawmakers seek answers in secret 'shameful, disgraceful' Coast Guard sexual assault probe: CNN - Alternet.org ›