A psychological operations officer who led a group of people from North Carolina to a rally in Washington that led to a deadly riot by supporters of President Donald Trump in the US Capitol is being investigated by the US Army.
Commanders at Fort Bragg are reviewing the involvement of Captain Emily Rainey in the events last week in the capital of the nation, but she said she acted under military regulations and that no one in her group violated the law.
I was a private citizen and Rainey told The Associated Press on Sunday that I was doing everything right and within my rights.
Rainey said she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom to Washington to stand against election fraud and support Trump, which describes itself online as a non-partisan network promoting conservative values.
She said the group was attending the rally, but she did not know of anyone entering the Capitol and that hours before an emergency curfew took effect, they were headed back to their buses.
According to Maj. Daniel Lessard, a spokesman for 1st Special Forces Command, Rainey, 30, is assigned to the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg. Known as PSYOPS, in order to shape the feelings, decision-making, and actions of American adversaries, the group uses information and misinformation.
After she posted a video online of her pulling down caution tape at a playground that was closed under COVID-19 restrictions in North Carolina, Rainey made headlines back in May.
Police accused her of personal property injury over the incident in Southern Pines, a community about 48 kilometres west of Fort Bragg. Police told WRAL-TV that after she tore down the tape closing off the playground, they let her off with warnings twice before.
In Washington on Wednesday, insurrectionists took over the House and Senate chambers, smashed the windows, and waved Trump, American, and Confederate flags. The riot followed the rally where Trump repeated false claims against him that the election had been manipulated and said he and his supporters would have to fight much harder to safeguard democracy.
So far, at least 90 persons have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanour curfew violations to felonies related to crimes on police officers, property of illegal weapons and death threats against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
Rainey said her group and the majority of people who travelled to Washington are peace-loving, law-abiding individuals who did nothing but demonstrate our rights to the First Amendment.
Members of the US military are allowed out of uniform to take part in political organisations and events. There are caveats, however. The Department of Defense Directive prohibits the sponsoring of partisan organisations by active duty service members.