Leaked list reveals 65 Oath Keepers are police instructors

“A leaked list of people who signed up for the anti-government Oath Keepers group includes 65 who identified themselves as law enforcement trainers, an illustration of how extremist ideologies have proliferated in police departments across the USA,” USA Today reported Friday, November 5, 2021, in a front-page story of its print edition. The newspaper’s online edition is behind a paywall, but other online sources also have the story.

NPR posted it here, and noted “at least” 21 Oath Keepers have been criminally charged in the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, and Truthout posted it here, and added “there are strong links between police departments and white supremacist groups” and “investigations have found numerous incidents of active police expressing outright hostility towards Democrats, Black people, women and Jewish people in Facebook groups.”

The USA Today print story says the list was obtained by hacking the Oath Keepers’ website, and given to news media by a whistleblower.

There are many reasons for concern, not least that Oath Keepers believe in obeying only laws they agree with, an ideology in conflict with every police officer’s oath of duty. But NPR said establishing standards for “officers’ affiliation with groups such as the Oath Keepers is tricky, as it could run afoul of [their] free speech and free assembly rights.”

However, USA Today’s story says, “Though all individuals have First Amendment rights, the Supreme Court has held that police officers agree through their employment to limitations on what they can say and with whom they can associate.” A cop who belongs to Oath Keepers, for example, wouldn’t be trusted in minority communities.

There’s also a concern about transfer of police training, tactics, and skills to private militia groups at war with society or other groups within society.

The FBI has known for years that the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists, and other violent fringe groups have sought to infiltrate their members into police agencies (see post with links here). In the protests following the murder of George Floyd, there were many examples of police exhibiting bias against Black Lives Matter protesters. In Kenosha, police openly hobnobbed with armed citizen vigilantes.

It’s time to clean house. A Seattle mayoral candidate said, “Officers need to understand that they are public servants.” A badge is not a license to impose their personal views on citizens. People like this Pittsburgh police lieutenant and these Seattle cops need to go. You can’t be a cop and a member of a violent anti-government militia group at the same time.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    With over 93,000 officers and I doubt that includes many at the Federal level such as the FBI and Secret Service it is inevitable that some are going to be members of the Oath Keepers whether they are full on or just think the organization is for Presbyterian dads. The fact is decades ago the Russians planted people in the US an one of the KGB target organizations were police forces. The drug cartels try to get people hired onto police forces. It is not at all unusual for former or even current members of the Crips and Bloods to don the shield. Members of Black Lives matters are members of law enforcement and the military. At one time being a member of the Communist Party was enough for one to be black listed and considered a terrorist and it took decades for that black eye and betrayal of the Constitution to be addressed and corrected.
    Concerns are not enough for another American panic. As it is the panic is much more likely to effect Jews, African Americans, communists, ect than these Oath Keepers. And as NPR has been told there are clear issues in establishing standards for affiliation with groups. One may assume one cannot be a service member and be a KKK member or a Black Panther and nothing could be further from that. If anything being in situations where these people must deal with the objects of their hate they may discover those objects are human beings. Also the military may at some point again have a draft and being a Black Panther of a member of the KKK is not at all likely to keep on out of the military, or it will be a great recruiting tool for the KKK. One can be a card carrying member of KKK or the Communist party today. And rules preventing members of unpopular groups do not pass constitutional muster and are ultimately damaging.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    Oath Keepers is not a benign group. They are violent anti-government extremists. Police are government agents. Anti-government extremists have no business being in that role. The military is weeding out white supremacists and extremists, and police agencies should do the same.