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Former Navy reservist who admired Hitler is sentenced to four years over Jan. 6 riot

Hatchet Speed of Vienna, Virginia, had a security clearance and was working for a defense contractor at the time of the Capitol attack.

A military veteran who espoused antisemitic views was sentenced to four years in prison Monday on felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Hatchet Speed of Vienna, Virginia, a former Navy reservist who had a “top secret” security clearance and worked for a defense contractor on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced in Washington, D.C., for obstructing Congress' certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden also ordered 36 months of supervised release, a $10,000 fine and $2,000 in restitution, the Justice Department said in a news release.

According to a sentencing memo, Speed, 42, joined the Proud Boys around June 2020, praising perceived parallels between the far-right extremist group and pro-Nazi paramilitary forces used during Adolf Hitler's rise to power. He claimed that both groups were used to stop antifa, which he believed was controlled by the Jewish community.

Hatchet Speed.
Hatchet Speed.U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Speed referred to Hitler as “one of the best people that’s ever been on this earth” and described "Mein Kampf" as "incredible," according to the memo, which detailed his conversations last year with an undercover FBI employee.

"It is not clear why this military veteran with a [security] clearance became enamored with Hitler, began to embrace street fighting, and call for the execution of the country’s entire Jewish population," prosecutors wrote.

In the Naval Reserve, Speed was assigned at one point to Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office, part of the U.S. intelligence community, an FBI special agent said in an affidavit filed with the court.

The Navy said Speed was not with the National Reconnaissance Office on Jan. 6 and was instead assigned to a reserve unit with the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.

A spokesperson for the Navy also said Speed's enlistment contract ended in November. "He was not in classified spaces due to a loss of his clearance from not complying with the COVID Vaccine mandate," the spokesperson said in an email.

Speed also left his contractor job with Accenture Federal Services last year. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

Prosecutors said in court documents that in the months leading up to the Capitol riot, Speed took part in several “Stop the Steal” rallies with the Proud Boys.

After he attended the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse in Washington on Jan. 6, Speed went to the Capitol, where he was seen wearing a tactical backpack and a reinforced “Make America Great Again” hat during the riot, the sentencing memo said.

After he breached the Capitol, prosecutors said, Speed stood shoulder to shoulder with other rioters who shouted: “Traitors!” “1776 motherf---er!” and “They can’t stop us!”

Speed later told an undercover FBI employee that he viewed then-Vice President Mike Pence’s actions in the certification process as a betrayal, adding that “we all went in and we took control,” according to court documents. He also said it was “impressive” how the throng of rioters had overwhelmed police, court documents showed.

He further argued that more people should have joined the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol, an effort he said might have prompted then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to have "resigned out of fear for her life," according to the sentencing memo.

Speed, who is serving a sentence in a separate case related to unlawful possession of unregistered silencers, could not be reached for comment Monday. The defense attorneys who were involved in his case are no longer representing him.

Federal prosecutors have charged more than 1,000 people in connection with the Capitol attack, with hundreds more who have been identified but have not yet been arrested.

Last week, a federal judge imposed the longest sentence for a Jan. 6 defendant to date — 14 years in prison to Peter Schwartz, who prosecutors said was first to throw a folding chair at officers protecting the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace.