Neo-Nazi groups have called on US troops to join their cause and murder politicians just hours after the Pentagon reminded its soldiers to "defend the Constitution".
The Joint Chiefs of Staff know they have a hate-group crisis in their ranks. They just don't know how bad. And putting thousands of armed men and women in and around the Capitol on inauguration day could explode in their face.
Ousted from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, neo-Nazis have turned to encrypted instant messaging service Telegram to urge their followers to seek out and assassinate politicians.
"Strike the iron while it's hot. The rats have addresses," one post declares.
In particular, they're targeting National Guard reservists and active-duty members of the military.
"Gather your local trusted militia and do what you must to save this country and our people from their hellish claws that clamp down on the souls of us all," another neo-Nazi account implores.
Now the FBI has formally warned state governors of armed groups planning attacks in all 50 state capitals. Some 20,000 National Guard members from across the country are mobilising within Washington DC for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. They've been authorised to carry loaded weapons.
But will they be a help – or a hindrance?
"The goal of those in DC should be to make turncoats of all those national guardsmen," reads a neo-Nazi Telegram post uncovered by Vice. "Many have anonymously expressed their support. Take advantage."
A CALL TO ARMS
The US military is big. Very big. There are some 1.3 million active-duty personnel. In the wings are about 18 million veterans.
All have skillsets and experience of use to insurrectionists.
A few share their views.
Retired US Army general and former national security advisor Michael Flynn last month called upon President Donald Trump to "immediately declare a limited form of martial law, and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections, for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a re-vote".
Trump didn't do it. But he did invite Flynn to the White House to discuss the idea.
The next day, December 19, Trump tweeted: "Big protest in DC on January 6. Be there, will be wild."
Flynn was there the day before the attack: "Those of you who are feeling weak tonight, those of you that don't have the moral fibre in your body, get some tonight because tomorrow, we the people are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie," he told a cheering crowd.
Exactly what part serving and former military personnel played at the Capitol is unknown. But the US Attorney for the District of Colombia wants to find out.
A "strike force" of senior national security and corruption prosecutors is investigating which insurrectionists co-ordinated and planned their assault. They're combing through social media posts, travel records, phone logs and financial transactions.
Any evidence they uncover could lead to charges of sedition.
"As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation," the Pentagon declaration reads. "We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law."
But many serving – and past – military personnel have chosen a different path.
The prevalence of veterans among those storming the Capitol building last week is evident in the footage. It's not just the camo gear, tactical equipment and badges. It's the way they worked with each other to achieve their ends.
Captain Emily Rainey, part of the 4th Psychological Operations Group based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is under investigation after leading 100 militia to the Capitol.
Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Larry Brock was photographed in tactical gear while carrying zip-ties on the US Senate floor. Retired Navy SEAL special forces soldier Adam Newbold faces questioning.
Ashli Babbit, who was shot and killed while storming Congress, was an air force veteran.
Meanwhile, the lack of National Guardsmen to oppose them is widely seen as a backlash against their politicisation – and behaviour – during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year.
That fear may have been warranted.
Last year, a survey found one-third of active-duty military personnel reported witnessing white nationalism or other ideological extremism in the ranks.
After January 6, the Pentagon has suddenly revived its interest in extremists.
"The DC National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in DC that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," a US Army spokesman said earlier this week.
ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC
"There is a crisis issue: the rise of extremism and white supremacy in the ranks," retired army officer and House Armed Services Committee member Jason Crow told Politico.
It's not as though extremists have been hiding their intentions.
US Army veteran Stewart Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. The far-right anti-government movement specifically recruits experienced law enforcement and military personnel. Rhodes has been saying for months that his militia was preparing for "civil war".
In November, he told conspiracy advocate Alex Jones that he had "good men on the ground already" in Washington DC. They were "armed, prepared to go in if the President calls us up".
"In case they attempt to remove the President illegally, we will step in and stop it," he added.
Former chief investigator for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Kristofer Goldsmith, says his work revealed specifically targeted disinformation aimed at veterans.
Foreign agents had established fake online veteran groups, he said, as a means of injecting anti-democracy propaganda into their discourse.
The Facebook Vets for Trump page had a digitally manipulated image which put four female Democrat representatives in front of an Islamic State flag and an "Impeach Trump" sign.
"I was shocked to see – if you look at comments – just how many people believed that was real," Goldsmith said.
Once recruited, veterans are rewarded with adoration.
"Consider the way special ops are portrayed in popular culture, in movies," says University of Texas military-civilian relations researcher Jim Golby.
"There is an identity that [extremist] groups want to have. They want to emulate the way military members dress, the way they carry weapons because that portrays an image of confidence and credibility."