A former Navy reservist who told an undercover FBI agent that he was inspired by the Unabomber and admired Adolf Hitler was sentenced to four years in prison for his part in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
A federal judge sentenced Hatchet Speed to 48 months of jail on several charges stemming from his part in breaching the Capitol, as well as three more years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. Speed has also been sentenced to three years for firearms offenses tied to his possession of unregistered silencers.
Speed was also a petty officer 1st class and a cryptologic technician in the Navy Reserve. 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 the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO is responsible for developing, launching and operating America's spy satellites.
Court documents say he held a Top Secret clearance and had access to "Sensitive Compartmented Information" -- the most restrictive documents in the national security environment.
Navy spokeswoman Lt. Alyson Hands told Military.com that Speed's enlistment contract expired in November 2022.
In court records, investigators said that Speed 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.
Speed explained to the undercover agent that "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 extremists took in accomplishing their goals. In a meeting April 7, Speed said Hitler was "one of the best people that's ever been on this earth."
In arguing for the four-year jail sentence, prosecutors noted that, unlike other military veterans who were prosecuted for their role in the Jan. 6 riot, Speed expressed no remorse for his actions.
Citing the judge in his weapons case, prosecutors noted that Speed's actions were "the most heinous betrayal of everything he pledged to defend by joining and serving in the military."
"Speed's conduct on January 6 was one step on a disturbing path toward racially motivated criminal conduct -- that ultimately featured plans for the kidnapping and mass murder of civilians," prosecutors argued.
Speed's lawyers argued for a six-month sentence and said that the sailor "entered the Capitol on January 6 to support the six senators who intended to lodge objections to the certification of the electoral vote" and that "his goal was to show support for those senators, but not to stop the process altogether."
The sentencing memo from Speed also cited his Mormon upbringing and a description of his character "as caring, contemplative, and compassionate as well as curious, well-read, and respectful" from friends and family.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.