Capitol rioter accused of spraying chemicals on police was able to enlist in the army despite FBI probe

Man accused of spraying chemical irritant on 6 January was able to join Fort Bragg in May

Gino Spocchia
Friday 15 October 2021 17:50

Military Vet Charged With Spraying Police With Chemicals at Capitol Riot Re-enlisted in the Military in May

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An accused Capitol rioter who was accused of spraying law enforcement with a chemical irritant on 6 January was allowed to enrol in the US Army months after, a report alleges.

James Phillip Mault, 29, was taken into custody last week at Fort Bragg, a military installation in North Carolina, having been with the US Army for five months.

According to The Washington Post, he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division and his connection to January’s riot only recently came to light within the army.

Lt Col Uriah Orland, a Pentagon spokesman, told the paper it was unclear when exactly the army became aware of Mr Mault’s background, but that it "was flagged by our investigators”.

An initial background check failed to pick-up charges for use of a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct in connection to the Capitol riot, in addition to civil disorder, it was reported.

Mr Mault told FBI investigators in January that he was involved in the riot but denied being inside the building.

He was also allegedly seen in footage spraying a chemical irritant at law enforcement, as well as handing the spray to other accused rioters.

It was also alleged that he helped a man who had been exposed to irritants by washing his face with water.

Mr Mault is among six known members of the US military who have been arrested while serving. The others are a Marine Corps officer and two part-time soldiers in the Army Reserve and two in the National Guard, The Post reported.

In April, US defence secretary Lloyd Austin was forced to introduce changes to how the military performs background checks amid concerns that some members of law enforcement were involved in the January riot.

In a statement, the Army told The Independent that enlistees are checked for criminal history and a collection of fingerprints are submitted to the FBI.

"The Army was unaware of any involvement Spc Mault may have had in the incidents on January 6 or of any information disqualifying him at the time of his enlistment," said an Army spokesman.

"The Army will continue to work with the FBI and other entities with inputs into the pre-screening process to obtain relevant information to inform Army enlistment decisions."

Additional reporting by The Washington Post.

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