A U.S. Marine Corps veteran charged in connection with the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol formerly held a top-secret security clearance and served for a time on the highly-selective unit that operates the U.S. President’s transport helicopter, Marine One, according to the Washington Post on Wednesday.
John Daniel Andries, 35, of Piney Point, Md., was arrested in February and charged with felony counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct at the Capitol. Officials who spoke with the Washington Post said Andries enlisted in the Marines in 2004 and eventually joined Marine Helicopter Squadron One, also known as HMX-1, the unit that operates Marine One.
Members of HMX-1 must receive both a top-secret security clearance, as well as an additional clearance level for personnel working in close proximity to the president, known as a Yankee White clearance.
As a crew chief on Marine One, Andries’ duties would have included aircraft maintenance for the helicopter. Andries reportedly served on the presidential helicopter crew for President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama and left the Marines in November 2009, at the rank of lance corporal.
According to prosecution documents, Andries is alleged to have entered the Capitol through a broken window on Jan. 6. Prosecutors further allege Andries waved his arms in a back and forth motion while inside and got within inches of police present at the Capitol that day.
Prosecutors further allege Andries violated a U.S. law that makes it a crime to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, impede passage within the Capitol and parade, demonstrate or picket inside the building.
Andries is one of more than 30 U.S. military veterans who have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol. On Jan. 6, demonstrators entered the building through various means and some individuals clashed with police inside and forced Congress to lockdown in the middle of a joint session to certify the 2020 election results for Joe Biden.
The House impeached President Donald Trump on claims he incited the incident at the Capitol, but the Senate acquitted Trump after falling short of the 67-vote supermajority required to convict an impeached official.
Since taking office, Biden and his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, have raised calls to route out extremism within the military ranks.
As one of his first orders as defense secretary, Austin ordered the Department of Defense to take a 60-day stand down to address extremism in the ranks. Announcing the stand down, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noted the presence of military veterans at the Capitol on Jan. 6.