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Arrest of active duty Marine renews questions about extremism in the military

A Quantico Major was charged in connection with the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. A total of 46 people affiliated with the military have now been arrested.

WASHINGTON — Marine Corps Major Christopher Warnagiris was arrested Thursday for alleged crimes related to the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, making him the first active-duty member of the U.S. military charged in the insurrection.

The 40-year-old is stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William County, Virginia.

He is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and obstruction of justice.

"The secretary is aware of the arrest of a Marine Corps officer in connection with the events of January 6th, but, obviously this a law enforcement matter and we're not going to comment in that," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

Warnagiris is not the only person affiliated with the military to be charged.

Of the more than 400 people known to have been arrested, 41 are military retirees, four are reservists, and one is active duty. Some members of Congress are worried that the rest of the military is being unfairly broad-brushed.

"There are wild claims, wild claims. Just pick up the Washington Post every day they seem to make them, through anecdotes, that somehow our military is a hotbed of extremists, racists," said Sen. Dan Sullivan  (R-Alaska). "I don't think it's true."

Secretary of the Army-nominee Christine Wormuth, in her confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Service Committee on Thursday, disputed that characterization.

"I think the vast majority of soldiers are tolerant and inclusive in terms of working with their peers," she said. "I don't think this is a case where there are large numbers of extremists."

In April, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin established a countering extremism working group, which was given 90 days to deliver a report to him.

The report is expected to make recommendations to combat the problem.

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