Copyright 1996, The Spokesman-Review
The FBI issued a nationwide alert last week that warns law enforcement agencies of potential domestic terrorism if the standoff with the Montana freemen turns sour.
In an April 23 bulletin to police agencies, the FBI’s National Security Division included the text of a militia “war warning.”
The militia attack plan lists “targets of opportunity,” including communications facilities, senior federal law enforcement officials and “selected news media.”
A copy of the FBI’s alert and the militia warning was obtained by The Spokesman-Review. The FBI confirmed its authenticity Thursday.
“In the event that the military is used or militia leaders are assaulted, all commands must be prepared to act,” the militia warning says. It urges militia units to “begin drawing plans to shut federal operations down.”
The plan is called Project Worst Nightmare by unidentified militia leaders.
It first was issued March 28, sources said - three days after FBI agents arrested two leaders of the anti-government Montana freemen.
Another 20 or so freemen and their associates remain in a standoff with the FBI at the “Justus Township” compound near Jordan, Mont.
On April 1, the Spokane Valley office of The Spokesman-Review and a U.S. Bank branch were bombed by terrorists who shouted messages in support of the freemen and against law enforcement.
While there is no clear link between the bombings and the militia war plan, the FBI immediately labeled the Spokane incidents as domestic terrorism.
The FBI now says at least four men carried out the bombings, which remain unsolved.
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates there are more than 800 anti-government “patriot groups” nationwide, including white supremacists, neo-Nazis, common-law freemen and paramilitary militia.
There is no way to know how many groups have seen the war plan.
FBI press officer Julie Weschler confirmed the nationwide alert “is something that came from our National Security Division.
“This is an on-going matter with the freemen out there in Montana, and we’re just not going to have any further comment,” Weschler said from FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The FBI alert suggests the militia war plan is being widely disseminated within secret underground cells. The plan was obtained by several FBI offices across the country about the same time, the alert says.
“Due to the continuing negotiations between law enforcement and members of the anti-government freemen group … the text is provided to you for your information,” the FBI alert says.
“While this particular text is not associated with any specific militia organization in the United States, it is an indicator that certain militia groups may be taking the following information seriously,” the alert continues.
The alert says the FBI notified police agencies on Jan. 29 and April 8 “of the potential for terrorist activity in the United States on or around April 19.”
There were no acts of terrorism on that day, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the fiery end of the Branch Davidian siege at Waco, Texas.
Various law enforcement officials said the alert suggests the agency is taking the militia war plan seriously. “The FBI is attaching a lot of significance to this,” one official said.
Militia propaganda isn’t routinely re-printed by the FBI unless its experts believe the material is important enough to alert state and local law enforcement.
Similar anti-government warnings were disseminated within militia ranks just before last year’s bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
In Seattle, FBI regional chief Burdena Pasenelli said the federal agency is “making no conclusions” about the militia warning.
“It’s our responsibility to share this information with law enforcement agencies who may be confronted by a group who either authored this document or acts upon it,” Pasenelli said.
The militia plan is ominous.
It says “constitutional militias” will respond if U.S. military forces “are used against American citizens.”
“Information considered reliable by Constitutional Militia Intelligence Command indicates that the federal intentions are to force a situation like Jordan, Mont., to an all-out confrontation shortly,” the militia plan says.
It says the situation with the Montana freemen “is fluid and can change at any time. Hopefully, saner heads will prevail on both sides and the armed forces will not be used.”
The plan also says there is a “growing possibility that direct action by federal forces against the leadership of the constitutional militias might also come about.
“Such action must be viewed as a similar act of war as the use of military,” it says.
Included in its list of potential targets for militia fighters are military fuel depots and IRS records storage facilities.
“Secure or destroy media installations that are not providing the people with what is really going on,” it says, listing ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC news and other “selected media.”
It also urges militia units to:
Destroy any foreign troops consorting with the federal forces.
Move to protect loyal federal, state and local officials. “We will need them when it is all over.”
Seize jails for prisoners.
Secure public water, sewer and power facilities against actions designed to disrupt the civil population.
Move to protect outspoken members of the patriot community.
Sweep all civilian gun stores and confiscate all weapons. “Be sure to leave a receipt for what you take under military necessity for future payment.”
The militia plan concludes:
“These are just a few ideas. There are many other targets of opportunity and things that must be protected at all costs.
“Remember, the enemy will seek out ways of turning the civil populations against us and we must anticipate their possible actions when and wherever possible.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: MILITIA TARGETS Project Worst Nightmare’s “suggested list of targets of opportunity,” in order: Federal satellite up-links. Military fuel depots. Law enforcement communications centers. Troop equipping and staging areas. Federal telecommunications centers. Military and law enforcement storage facilities. Military and law enforcement aircraft on the ground. Internal Revenue records facilities. Senior federal law enforcement officials. Federal Reserve Board governors.
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