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Photo: New Zealand Defense Force

A soldier based in New Zealand has been charged with spying, the NZ Defense Force confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: The soldier allegedly has ties to far-right extremist groups, per multiple local media reports. They're the first person to face espionage charges in New Zealand.

  • The charges come some three months after a white supremacist was sentenced to life in prison for opening fire on worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019, killing 51 people in one of the world's worst shootings by a single gunman.

Driving the news: The soldier, based at Linton Military Camp near the city of Palmerston North on New Zealand's North Island, was arrested in December last year.

  • The country's director of military prosecutions charged the soldier in the Court Martial of New Zealand with four charges of espionage, two counts of attempted espionage; two charges of possession of an objectionable publication and three of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose.
  • The soldier also faces one charge of "doing an act likely to prejudice Service discipline or bring discredit on the Service," one of "negligently failing to perform a duty" and also four counts of failing to comply with written orders, per the statement.
  • No date has yet been set for the Court Martial hearing of the soldier, who has name suppression. A New Zealand Defense Force spokesperson declined to comment further.

Go deeper

Army disciplines 14 officials over “multiple failures” at Fort Hood

Candles and flowers decorate a makeshift memorial for U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén in Houston, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Army fired or suspended more than a dozen officials after an investigation into climate and culture at Fort Hood found "multiple failures" in how the Army handles soldier disappearances, deaths and sexual harassment complaints, Army secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The independent review was launched after the murder of 20-year-old Spc. Vanessa Guillén, who told family and friends she had been sexually harassed before she disappeared from Fort Hood in April. Her remains were found in June.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.