A naval reservist assigned to an agency that operates the nation's spy satellites is facing felony weapons charges, in addition to the misdemeanors he's already been charged with stemming from his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Petty Officer 1st Class Hatchet Speed, a cryptologic technician, has been charged with three felony counts of possessing unregistered silencers, according to court documents made public Tuesday. Authorities claim he was hoping to mimic domestic terrorists and praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Although the charges add to Speed's legal woes, the testimony of FBI agents filed as part of the indictment also paint the picture of a man who is a looming threat. Officials say he was hoarding weapons and actively looking for other like-minded people.
Speed allegedly told an undercover FBI agent in March 2022 that he was inspired by and sympathized with Eric Rudolph -- the man responsible for the deadly bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and a years-long bombing spree in Georgia -- and Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, according to court documents.
Federal authorities claim Speed said, "It's useful to get into these people's heads and, you know, try and come up with a better game plan than they had."
The sailor also had praise for both Hitler and the approach Islamic jihadists took in accomplishing their goals. Speed said Hitler was "one of the best people that's ever been on this earth" in a meeting on April 7.
According to Navy records provided to Military.com in June, when Speed was arrested on the original Jan. 6-related charges, the sailor had been assigned to several prominent commands in the Washington, D.C., area, including the Navy Criminal Investigative Service Headquarters and Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.
Court documents filed with his earlier charges in June said Speed was assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office, an agency that says it is responsible for developing, launching and operating America's spy satellites.
Additionally, his records show Speed had previously been on several deployments, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, along with other awards.
However, court records also allege that, after Jan. 6, Speed made comments to undercover FBI agents that suggested "he was 'panic buying'" guns and ammunition. In all, investigators say the man bought more than $50,000 worth of guns and parts between February and May of last year.
In February 2022, law enforcement officials said Speed told an undercover agent he was "looking for resistance groups," adding that he was "looking for people who are willing to say how do we do something more than just complaining on Telegram."
Speed also allegedly disclosed a connection to the Proud Boys and told agents that "100 of us Proud Boys" went to a November 2020 rally in Washington, D.C.
In late June, Lt. Cmdr. Devin Arneson, a Navy spokeswoman, confirmed that "Hatchet M. Speed is a Selected Reserve (SELRES) Sailor assigned to Navy Reserve Center (NRC) Washington, D.C." Arneson told Military.com on Friday that Speed has since been reassigned to NRC Baltimore, but that the move was part of a larger realignment and not related to any charges he's facing.
Previous court documents said that Speed also worked as a software developer for a company in Virginia that had at least nine contracts with the Departments of Justice and Defense, but it appears that is no longer the case.
The latest filing says that Speed told agents in March that "he had recently quit his job, noting that he had worked for the government his entire career."
Court records show that Speed is now on home arrest pending his trial in federal court in Virginia and is subject to GPS monitoring. He also agreed to surrender his passport and not have any guns.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.