The leader of the Base, a violent neo-Nazi group with ambitions of inciting a race war in the United States, has been revealed to allegedly be one Rinaldo Nazzaro, a 46-year-old former resident of New York City now living in Russia.

Both the BBC and the Guardian reported the identity of Nazzaro on Friday. According to those investigations, the previously anonymous leader—who went by the aliases “Norman Spear” and “Roman Wolf”—has been directing operations of the Base from his home in St. Petersburg, where he moved two years ago.

Founded in 2018, the group "seeks to accelerate the downfall of the United States (US) government, incite a race war, and establish a white ethno-state," according to an affidavit prepared by the FBI.

The group came under intense scrutiny this week, after federal agents arrested seven male members in connection with a plan to assassinate a couple believed to be left-wing anti-fascists.

Secret recordings obtained by the FBI also found members of the Base discussing their plans to "derail some trains, kill some people, and poison some water supplies.” Prior to the arrests, the group was believed to be plotting to kill civilians and police officers at a gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia on Monday.

Three men from Georgia, allegedly members of the Base, who were recently charged with conspiracy to commit murder

Nazzaro had previously operated Omega Solutions International, a New York-based company offering access to a "network of security professionals," according to the BBC. Records show he was married in the city in 2012, and at the time maintained a Midtown address. He has described himself as a veteran, a former CIA field officer, and a defense studies expert—leading to "persistent suspicions" from current and former members that he is a "fed," or that the Base is a "honeypot" intended to draw sympathetic neo-Nazis out of hiding.

Neither investigation turned up any additional evidence suggesting this to be the case.

The Guardian also identifies Nazzaro as a 1991 alumnus and donor to the Delbarton School, a prestigious all-male Catholic school in Morristown, New Jersey. While purchasing property in Washington, Nazarro provided an address for a New Jersey home owned by a relative, where he and his wife were believed to have lived intermittently.

The investigation comes at a time of rising right-wing violence across the United States, with particularly sharp increases in attacks by ethno-nationalists and separatist groups, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In recent weeks, recruiting posters linked to the white supremacist group Patriot Front have been spotted throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Members of that group were also seen on video unfurling a banner over the Belt Parkway.

Following news of the FBI's crackdown on the Base, Nazzaro, using an alias, reportedly assured members in a private online message board that there was nothing to worry about: "We will continue our struggle for survival undeterred."