“Digital Soldiers”: QAnon Extremists Exploit U.S. Military, Threaten Democracy
QAnon Extremists Exploit U.S. Military, Threaten Democracy
This report examines how the QAnon movement exploits the U.S. military’s credibility in society to further its aim of undermining American democracy. It shows how 25 U.S. military veterans – all of whom have been engaged in the QAnon movement since the failed insurrection on January 6, 2021 – spread disinformation and build support for the movement. Analysis of their social media, along with a broader review of QAnon content, reveals how Q influencers portray the U.S. military as a heroic protagonist in their conspiratorial propaganda, and how they exploit military veterans to legitimate such claims and even recruit. It concludes with policy recommendations that focus on protecting members of the armed services, those who have served and their families, and communities the movement targets with its conspiracies.