SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Revelations this week that a solider stationed at Fort Stewart has been charged with terrorism for allegedly consorting with ISIS may have surprised many in the local community but Kristofer Goldsmith who founded a veterans advocacy group is not surprised or shocked.
“I have spent the last few years unfortunately studying disinformation and extremism in the military and veterans community,” he said.
Goldsmith founded High Ground Veterans Advocacy in an effort to serve vets who may not be able to navigate the system in terms of healthcare benefits and a myriad of other issues. He says the case of 20 year old Army private Cole Bridges is just the latest example of what disinformation on social media is doing.
Bridges is facing two terrorism charges for allegedly consorting with an ISIS sympathizer and reportedly became obsessed with communications through social media.
“This is not just one dumb kid, you know we saw thousands of dumb adults storm the Capitol not too long ago,” said Goldsmith. “These people who become radicalized on social media want to engage in a war against the people of the United States.”
Goldsmith says heavily armed militias are recruiting servicemembers and veterans and even police officers. “These people are dangerous and have the capacity to do serious harm to the American public.”
He says social media is radicalizing many Americans “especially servicemembers and vets with everything from this terrible incident of a solider trying to support ISIS to the ‘Stop the Steal’ event where we saw active duty troops and veterans storm the Capitol and betraying their oath to the Constitution.”
Goldsmith says the first person killed in the insurrection was Ashley Babbitt who was an Air Force veteran.
“And I’ve reviewed some of her social media posts and you can see that she was radicalized by the content that she was immersed in online,” said Goldsmith.
He thinks Congress should be investigating how social media is affecting service members.
“It frustrates me that I have to even say something like this, but some service members and veterans have become security risks,” said Goldsmith.