In the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, so-called militia groups such as the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers were in disarray.
Their members, dressed for war, were on the front line of the violence that rocked the seat of US democracy that day.
But involvement in the attack brought intense pressure on the groups from US law enforcement.
But they are far from defeated, instead regrouping and rallying around a new cause: anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
Members of the groups use apps such as Telegram to evade scrutiny and plot their next moves, experts told Insider.
On mainstream platforms such as Facebook they are seeking to pull in new recruits under the anti-vaccine cause.
The development marked a new intertwining of two dangerous conspiracy-theory movements, according to Jason Blazakis, Director of Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at California’s Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories are certainly being used as a recruitment tool by these organizations to try to increase the number of individuals included in the fold. It’s one of their primary narratives,” he told Insider.