Nation/World


Atf Informer Says Fbi’s Spy Blew His Cover Witness Denies Entrapping Weaver

The undercover informer who befriended Randy Weaver at the Aryan Nations told senators Friday that he believes another federal spy blew his cover.

After Kenneth Fadeley’s identity became known, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decided to approach Weaver and ask him to become their informer.

That set into motion a chain of events that resulted in three deaths on Ruby Ridge in 1992.

The fact that two federal agencies had informers within the Aryan Nations - even spying on each other - may prompt Congress to order better law enforcement coordination.

Fadeley, a Spokane security consultant who was working for the ATF, insisted he did not trick Weaver into selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns.

Instead, Fadeley said the white separatist offered to “supply me with shotguns all day long.”

But skeptical senators wrung concessions from the head of the agency.

John Magaw, ATF director, said it was “inexcusable” that his agency characterized Weaver to the U.S. attorney’s office as a suspect in bank robberies. Weaver never was, he said.

Weaver’s failure to appear for trial on weapons charges was followed by a shootout and 11-day standoff near Naples, Idaho, in August 1992. A deputy U.S. marshal and Weaver’s wife and 14-year-old son were killed.

Fadeley made a surprise appearance Friday before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee investigating Ruby Ridge.

The hearing room was emptied of spectators and reporters while the witness took his place a few feet from the panel in a portable booth that masked his identity from the audience and television cameras. His voice was electronically altered to a high pitch.

Fadeley said he believes his cover was blown by an FBI informer who also infiltrated the Aryan Nations in nearby Hayden Lake, Idaho.

Posing as an underworld gun dealer, Fadeley was introduced to Weaver at the 1986 Aryan World Congress by Frank Kumnick, a former Weaver friend.

While attending subsequent Aryan Nations meetings, Fadeley said he met Rico Valentino, a 300-pound former professional wrestler who taught martial arts to neo-Nazi skinheads.

Fadeley testified Valentino “was always a man with lots of money” who won the adoration the Aryans by paying $80 for a book supposedly autographed by Adolf Hitler.

Valentino, it turned out, was working for the FBI. Fadeley said neither informer knew about the other’s true identity.

Ranking subcommittee Democrat Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., asked Fadeley how many informers infiltrate groups like the Aryan Nations.

“I have no idea what percentage were informants” for state, local or federal law enforcement, or private organizations that track hate groups, Fadeley said.

Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., asked Fadeley about his encounters with Valentino.

“At the end of my experience, I wondered if it was not, in fact, Mr. Valentino who blew my cover,” Fadeley testified.

“Is it your impression that the FBI informant was willing to blow the cover of the ATF informant so the FBI informant could get the full glory?” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked.

“Unfortunately, yes, sir,” Fadeley replied.

Valentino’s role as an FBI informer became public when he testified against three Aryan Nations members who were convicted of plotting to bomb a Seattle gay bar.

“Is there any coordination here between ATF and the FBI so they don’t stumble over each other’s informants?” panel chairman and presidential hopeful Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., asked Fadeley.

“No, not to my knowledge, sir,” he responded.

Fadeley recalled one meeting in Spokane where the only three people in attendance were him, Valentino and Kim Badynski, who now heads the Northwest Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Noting that two of the three at the meeting were federal informers, Specter mockingly asked Fadeley whether Badynski also may have been working for the government.

“The only people not ‘informed’ here, it seems, is the Senate Appropriations Committee” that approves the ATF and FBI budgets, Specter said.

Later, Magaw told the panel that Cabinet-level meetings between Attorney General Janet Reno and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin are trying to iron out the duplication of informers. Reno is responsible for the FBI while Rubin is over the ATF.

Test computer programs are in use in Baltimore and Los Angeles so one law enforcement agency can see whether the person they are investigating is an informer for another agency, Magaw said.

Magaw also was questioned about the $5,000 Fadeley was paid for his four years of work infiltrating the Aryan Nations and buying the illegal shotguns from Weaver for $450.

Magaw said he will clarify ATF regulations to make it clear that such award payments to informers are not based upon convictions, but upon risk, the amount of work and the accuracy of information provided.

Fadeley testified he met with Weaver and Kumnick and heard discussions about starting a terrorist cell, similar to The Order. That band of neo-Nazis carried out a series of violent crimes, including murders, between 1983 and 1985.

The two men also talked about their hatred of “ZOG” the Zionist Occupied Government. The term is coined from the underpinnings of the white supremacy, Christian Identity doctrine that holds that Jews are “seeds of the devil” who control the government and are responsible for most of society’s ills.

The informer testified that, following ATF instructions, he intended to have Kumnick introduce him to Chuck Howarth, a Ku Klux Klan leader living in Western Montana.

But in the meantime, Weaver expressed an interest in going to work for Fadeley, whom Weaver believed to be a gun runner. Weaver eventually sold Fadeley two sawed-off shotguns in October 1989, leading to his indictment on federal firearms charges.

Before the informer could convince Weaver and Kumnick to take him to Montana, his identity became compromised, Fadeley testified.

When Fadeley met Weaver in Sandpoint in late November 1989, Weaver said he “had heard from a guy in Spokane that I’m bad, that I’m law enforcement,” Fadeley testified.

Later, he went back to the Aryan Nations, Fadeley said he was confronted by white supremacists who said they suspected his true identity.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. FRIDAY’S DEVELOPMENTS Kenneth Fadeley, the ATF informer who bought two illegal shotguns from Randy Weaver in 1989, said he suspects an FBI informer blew his cover at the Aryan Nations. With Fadeley’s cover blown, ATF agents approached Weaver to become their spy. The informer also strongly denied that he entrapped Weaver into selling the guns. ATF Director John Magaw told senators it was “inexcusable” that his agency characterized Weaver to the U.S. attorney’s office as a suspect in bank robberies. Weaver never was, he said. Quote of the day: “I would characterize Randy Weaver as a proponent of racism and hate towards minorities.” - ATF informer Kenneth Fadeley Witnesses Tuesday: Michael Johnson, the former U.S. marshal for the District of Idaho, and Henry Hudson, the former director of the U.S. Marshal Service.

2. REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK What Aryans? U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, sat through a third day of Ruby Ridge testimony, and said during a break that she still believes federal law enforcement officers made mistakes when handling the Randy Weaver case. She heard ATF informer Kenneth Fadeley testify he met Weaver in 1986 at the Aryan World Congress. The Aryan “security chief” for that gathering was David Dorr. He and others subsequently were convicted of bombing the federal building in Coeur d’Alene. Chenoweth, in an interview outside the hearing room, said she had no idea that the U.S. Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene had been bombed. She also said she “had no idea” that some of those who attended the Aryan World Congress gatherings wore Ku Klux Klan robes and burned crosses. “You’re telling me something I just didn’t know about,” the freshman congresswoman said with the palm of her hand on her cheek.

Senior senator U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond is one of four Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information. But the 93-year-old South Carolina lawmaker appeared only briefly at one of three days of testimony and questions into the deadly events at Rudy Ridge in 1992. The oldest member of Congress, appearing frail, was helped into his subcommittee chair by an aide, who whispered into his ear. Thurmond paid attention as Weaver showed committee members the bullet hole in a door taken from his cabin. Reading prepared questions, Thurmond asked Weaver whether the $3.1 million the federal government paid him and his daughters and a new criminal probe of wrongdoing within the FBI restores his confidence in the U.S. government. “Yes, sir,” Weaver responded to Thurmond, but “I pray that this doesn’t happen again.” - Compiled by staff writer Bill Morlin.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. FRIDAY’S DEVELOPMENTS Kenneth Fadeley, the ATF informer who bought two illegal shotguns from Randy Weaver in 1989, said he suspects an FBI informer blew his cover at the Aryan Nations. With Fadeley’s cover blown, ATF agents approached Weaver to become their spy. The informer also strongly denied that he entrapped Weaver into selling the guns. ATF Director John Magaw told senators it was “inexcusable” that his agency characterized Weaver to the U.S. attorney’s office as a suspect in bank robberies. Weaver never was, he said. Quote of the day: “I would characterize Randy Weaver as a proponent of racism and hate towards minorities.” - ATF informer Kenneth Fadeley Witnesses Tuesday: Michael Johnson, the former U.S. marshal for the District of Idaho, and Henry Hudson, the former director of the U.S. Marshal Service.

2. REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK What Aryans? U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, sat through a third day of Ruby Ridge testimony, and said during a break that she still believes federal law enforcement officers made mistakes when handling the Randy Weaver case. She heard ATF informer Kenneth Fadeley testify he met Weaver in 1986 at the Aryan World Congress. The Aryan “security chief” for that gathering was David Dorr. He and others subsequently were convicted of bombing the federal building in Coeur d’Alene. Chenoweth, in an interview outside the hearing room, said she had no idea that the U.S. Courthouse in Coeur d’Alene had been bombed. She also said she “had no idea” that some of those who attended the Aryan World Congress gatherings wore Ku Klux Klan robes and burned crosses. “You’re telling me something I just didn’t know about,” the freshman congresswoman said with the palm of her hand on her cheek.

Senior senator U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond is one of four Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information. But the 93-year-old South Carolina lawmaker appeared only briefly at one of three days of testimony and questions into the deadly events at Rudy Ridge in 1992. The oldest member of Congress, appearing frail, was helped into his subcommittee chair by an aide, who whispered into his ear. Thurmond paid attention as Weaver showed committee members the bullet hole in a door taken from his cabin. Reading prepared questions, Thurmond asked Weaver whether the $3.1 million the federal government paid him and his daughters and a new criminal probe of wrongdoing within the FBI restores his confidence in the U.S. government. “Yes, sir,” Weaver responded to Thurmond, but “I pray that this doesn’t happen again.” - Compiled by staff writer Bill Morlin.


 
Tags: ethics

Click here to comment on this story »






Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(509) 747-4422
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile