Neo-Nazi Who Punched Counterprotesters Has Security Clearance

Michael Miselis, who struck down and punched counterprotesters at a white supremacist rally last summer, works for a defense contractor in California.

ProPublica and PBS, working together, have discovered the identity of a white supremacist who engaged in violent behavior during the infamous Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally last summer. It turns out that the man they identified is pursuing a doctorate degree and has a government security clearance.

Michael Miselis, a 29-year-old student at UCLA currently on leave from his program, works for aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman in southern California. Within his capacity in that organization, he has a security clearance, granted by the federal government, to conduct computer simulations related to the company’s work with the United States military.

The investigative efforts of ProPublica and PBS, however, also discovered that Miselis is also a member of a violent and radically far-right group called the Rise Above Movement. The organization is a white supremacist group that has several members with violent histories.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, RAM members “actively train to do physical battle with their ideological foes” and have been involved in doing so on several occasions. Their main targets are liberals, Muslims, Jews, and immigrants who aren’t white.

Miselis’ activities went beyond membership in RAM. According to ProPublica and PBS, Miselis traveled across the country to Charlottesville last August to take part in the white supremacist rally, where violence was clearly on the agenda.

Miselis himself was directly involved in the violence that erupted there, throwing objects like soda cans at counterprotesters and accompanying two other supremacists who engaged in attacking protesters directly. Miselis also pushed an African-American protester to the ground, punching that individual with his fists that were taped up in advance of the protest.

Prior to attending Charlottesville, Miselis also was present at a Berkeley, California, event, where he and other RAM members engaged in fighting with counterprotesters there. Miselis wore goggles at that event to prevent himself from the effects of tear gas or pepper spray, and wrestled a protester to the ground, punching others with his fists throughout the event.

When confronted by the news organizations, Miselis denied his involvement in the events, but his employer is apparently aware of his being a part of the melees that took place. They’re also apparently aware of his involvement in RAM.

That he continues to hold a government security clearance is mind-boggling. Criminal activities and association with people who engage in crimes are supposed to be disqualifying features for someone seeking such a clearance, and Miselis’ association with RAM should have kept him from getting one in the first place.

No person filled with such vitriol, who regularly engages in criminal behavior against minorities, and who promotes the idea of white supremacy, should be given access to our government’s top secret files. Northrop Grumman and the Department of Defense both must confront this issue at once and remove Miselis’ clearance, especially in light of this reporting that exposes his bigotry and biases.


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