Oath Keepers Leader Jim Arroyo Says Militia Being Trained by Police

An Oath Keepers militia leader said members of the anti-government extremist group are being trained by "active-duty" police officers, during a 60 Minutes interview.

During the Sunday evening interview, Jim Arroyo, vice president of the Oath Keepers Arizona chapter, said serving officers were members of the extremist group and were helping with training.

Speaking with 60 Minutes' Sharyn Alfonsi, Arroyo said: "Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement. In fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds."

“Our guys are very experienced. We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement,” says a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. https://t.co/7fOee4i1gd pic.twitter.com/JT2sGCMOIL

— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 18, 2021

The CBS program also explored the origins of the militia and profiled member Stewart Rhodes who founded the Oath Keepers in March 2009.

Members of the far-right militia group have since been present at key standoffs, the most notable being in 2014 when they stood with Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher, who was in dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over his use of federally owned land. Oath Keepers arrived armed to the standoff with federal officers.

Members of the militia were also present during the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Jon Schaffer, 53, from Central Indiana, who "acknowledged he is a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers," in a plea deal agreed to cooperate with an investigation into the riot.

60 Minutes also said photos and phone records placed Rhodes, the founder of the militia, at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Arroyo distanced himself from Rhodes, who has also appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' InfoWars talk show, during a 60 Minutes segment in which he said his chapters had broken from Rhodes after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

He said: "I want to congratulate Stewart Rhodes and his 10 militia buddies for winning first place in the ultimate dumb a** contest because that's what it was. That goes against everything we have ever taught, everything we believe in.

"It was pre-planned, it was pre-staged. 10 guys go and do something stupid and suddenly, we're the devil."

Former FBI counterterrorism official Javed Ali said the Oath Keepers' tactical training still presented a unique challenge to law enforcement.

Photos and phone records place Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, on the Capitol steps on January 6, but no charges have been brought against him. Rhodes declined to speak with 60 Minutes. https://t.co/6Sblb6l44F pic.twitter.com/rLcYRCKFZl

— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 18, 2021

Speaking on 60 Minutes, he said: "I think what makes the Oath Keepers unique and challenging, beyond that they are a formal group with chapters all over the country, is that a large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes the Oath Keepers as "a large but loosely organized collection of anti-government extremists."

In a profile of the group, the ADL said: "The ideology of the Oath Keepers most closely resembles that of the militia movement, whose adherents believe that the United States is collaborating with a one-world tyrannical conspiracy called the New World Order to strip Americans of their rights, starting with their right to keep and bear arms. Once Americans are rendered defenseless, they will be enslaved by the New World Order."

It also estimated there are between 1,000 and 3,000 members, but stressed the group's influence extends beyond that number.

Oath Keepers have chapters across the U.S.
The "Oath Keepers" are a national, far-right "patriot" group whose "adherents believe that the United States is collaborating with a one-world tyrannical conspiracy called the New World Order." One of its leaders told 60 Minutes that members were being trained by "active-duty" police officers. William Campbell / Contributor/Getty