Riverside, CA – A recent hack of the Oath Keepers website revealed membership information for over 200 purported law enforcement officers, including Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco.
A portion of the hacked data was forwarded to journalists by Distributed Denial of Secrets, a whistleblower group, according to USA Today.
The data obtained from the site allegedly includes names, phone numbers, addresses and email contacts for the Oath Keepers’ nearly 40,000 members.
Over 200 people named on the list identified themselves as either active or retired law enforcement officers when they joined the group, according to USA Today.
Twenty-three of those individuals have since retired from the force, and another 21 are still actively serving, USA Today reported.
A majority of the group’s members did not reveal information about their employment when they signed up.
The Oath Keepers are a fringe-right group that actively works to recruit current and former military and first responders to prepare for the hostile takeover of local governments by the federal government or a foreign government, NBC News reported.
The group asserts the government is attacking its own citizens in order to “strip them of their civil liberties,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Anti-government extremists have been known to target government agents in acts of violence to fight back against an imaginary dystopian future which hasn’t happened yet. The Oath Keepers have been more moderate in their approach and have sought to recruit government agents to their cause in preparation for the future violent confrontation with the government.
The Oath Keepers have a largely decentralized leadership and have not been known for attending any event with more than a handful of people.
Among the individuals contained in the hack were self-reported SWAT members, veteran law enforcement officers and active or retired military personnel, USA Today reported.
Sheriff Bianco’s name was also on the list.
The sheriff confirmed he signed up as a dues-paying member of the Oath Keepers while working as a lieutenant back in 2014, KTTV reported.
“In 2014, I briefly joined Oath Keepers with a year membership,” Sheriff Bianco told the news outlet in a statement. “Like many other law enforcement officers and veterans who were members, I learned the group did not offer me anything and so I did not continue membership.”
“I am not currently a member and have not been a member since 2014,” he wrote. “My oath is to the Constitution and laws of the land and to the people of Riverside County, who I am sworn to protect.”
Sheriff Bianco said he’s “not ashamed” of having briefly joined the Oath Keepers approximately seven years ago, and he does not view the Oath Keepers as an “anti-government militia,” KTTV reported.
He noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has labeled the Oath Keepers as an extremist group while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the violence and destruction committed by Black Lives Matter and antifa.
“Why was this not done with antifa and Black Lives Matter?” Sheriff Bianco said. “I lost faith in the FBI a long time ago. The line workers are first rate. Their administration has no business carrying a badge. They strayed from nonbiased law enforcement a long time ago.”
The sheriff argued that the nation’s founding principles have been turned on their heads.
“In today’s politically toxic environment, if you support the Constitution of the United States of America, you are evil,” he said, according to KTTV. “You’re branded as some evil, right-wing conspirator.”
Critics are now calling for Sheriff Bianco’s ouster.
He has been at the helm of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office since 2018.
“Any candidate that is associated with the Oath Keepers or any similar organization should be disqualified from serving Riverside County residents,” Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Police and Advocacy Manager Fayaz Nawabi declared in a statement to KTTV.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced it has ordered an investigation into allegations that active members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) are included on the list of leaked Oath Keepers members, Gothamist reported.
“The Oath Keepers are a vile, extremist anti-government organization,” de Blasio’s spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, told the news outlet. “An immediate internal investigation has been launched.”
Additional past and present law enforcement officers included in the leak were tied to departments in Nassau County on Long Island and Greene and Dutchess Counties in upstate New York, as well as the New York Guard, Gothamist reported.
Other law enforcement affiliations listed in the leaked documents included the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Chicago Police Department, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, the Anaheim Police Department, and the Ashley County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas, among others, USA Today reported.