NBC News reviewed posts from four private, secret Facebook groups that describe themselves as solely for current and former special operations forces.
By Carol E. Lee
WASHINGTON — They’re the most elite, lethally trained members of the U.S. military, widely considered the best of the best. And yet in secret Facebook groups exclusively for special operations forces that were accessed by NBC News, they share misinformation about a “stolen” 2020 election, disparaging and racist comments about America’s political leadership and even QAnon conspiracy theories.
Among the hundreds of Facebook posts NBC News reviewed from forums for current and former Rangers, Green Berets and other elite warriors: a member of a special forces group lamenting that several aides to former Vice President Mike Pence were part of a “Concerted effort by the thieves and pedophiles walking the hallowed halls of the peoples government” to undermine former President Donald Trump.
“In a just world, they would have already been taken out behind the court house and shot,” another member commented.
In yet another post, a member of one of the groups responded to criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement with an image of a noose and the message “IF WE WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN WE WILL HAVE TO MAKE EVIL PEOPLE FEAR PUNISHMENT AGAIN.”
“The story of radicalization in special operations is a story that needs to be told,” said Jack Murphy, a former Army Ranger and Green Beret who has written extensively about the special operations forces community. “It has shocked and horrified me to see what’s happened to these guys in the last five or six years.”
Extremism in the military has been in the spotlight since more than two dozen current and former service members were linked to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. But the private Facebook groups reveal an underbelly of a segment of the military that has long been revered as America’s front line of defense.
NBC News reviewed posts from four private groups that describe themselves as solely for special operations forces. While the majority of the content in two of the groups, SF Brotherhood – PAC and US Special Forces Team Room, is political in nature, the forums shouldn’t be seen as reflective of the overall views of the whole special operations forces community.
Collectively, the two groups have more than 5,000 members, with some belonging to both. U.S. Special Operations Command has about 70,000 personnel, and there are tens of thousands more retired members of special operations forces.
Facebook has flagged a few of the posts in the groups as including false information, or they have received pushback from fellow members.
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