CNN's Oren Lieberman starts a segment in response to a new Pentagon report on the prevalence of white supremacists in the U.S. military with a look at tattoos.
"The ink can hide the symbols of extremism, but the damage runs far deeper."
"At Redemption Ink in Colorado Springs, Dave Brown has covered more than 70 extremist or hate-inspired tattoos, more than 20 estimated military and a waitlist of 635 people."
"The Army veteran camouflages the tattoos of hate for reformed extremists but the ideologies and their symbols are still spreading in the military. Tattoos can be a calling card for white supremacists and extremists, a way to grow their own ranks in secret amidst a nationwide surge in white nationalist activity. Some of the recruiting tactics are more brazen and more open. One example in the report, a military member and co-founder of the group known as Atomwaffen Division told another member he was open with friends at training 'They love me, too.'
"Others through obscure fascist symbols on T-shirts or connect on social media and messaging apps. Extremist groups want their training, combat experience and legitimacy they bring to an organization. Members of one far right extremist group shared military manuals, including an army manual on IEDs on the encrypted messaging app known as Telegram. The Capitol riots of January 6th put a spotlight on military extremism. A CNN analysis has shown at least 27 people facing federal charges in connection with the riot are current or former members of the military.
Lieberman said the fight against domestic extremism is a top priority for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
"Extremism has been a problem in the military for decades. Austin says he believes the number of extremists in the military is low but there is no data to back up his assertion. Austin ordered a review of policies on extremism but extremism expert Heidi Byring says this will take time."
"The military has limits on the screening and background checks. Deeper, more intrusive investigations require working with the FBI, a key recommendation of the DoD report. Beirich says the military needs a better screening process to root out extremism before it enters the ranks."
"Even beyond the challenges of rooting out domestic extremism within active ranks, there's the issue of veterans, more than 18 million of them, who are also prime targets for domestic extremists."