FBI officials discount claims they want to increase the number of agents in North Idaho as a hedge against potential acts of terrorism.
The agency proposes increasing its Coeur d’Alene staff from three to five agents.
Special Agent Mike Dillon in Boise, in charge of the six FBI offices in Idaho, said he is asking for two more field officers and possibly a supervisor for Coeur d’Alene.
Population growth is the single biggest reason, Dillon said.
“We need to have the resources in place in front of the curve, if that’s possible. I don’t always get what I ask for,” he said.
Four Sandpoint men linked to the racist Christian Identity movement were recently convicted of bombing a Spokane Planned Parenthood clinic and bank robbery.
The FBI is also the primary agency investigating serious crimes involving Indians on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, Dillon added.
“We need to make sure we have ample resources to support the needs of Native Americans.”
A Spokane businessman speculated the increase in agents is consistent with an errant FBI fax he received which discusses potential militia-linked activity.
The 11-page document with details about suspected radicals, was mistakenly sent to a fax machine at a movie poster store owned by Eric DuBois.
The document, which bears the FBI logo and is marked confidential, was apparently intended to alert field agents in the West.