(Sky Valley Chronicle) Four North Georgia men, described by federal prosecutors as members of a “fringe militia” group, were charged with trying to buy explosives and make a deadly poison to use in attacks against federal law enforcement agencies and unidentified officials.
Federal authorities said the men had held clandestine militia meetings, beginning in March, in which they discussed using toxic agents and assassinations to undermine federal and state government.
On the attack list allegedly were employees of the IRS, FBI, police officers and employees of the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] as well as attorneys and prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said that as the government focuses on terrorist threats by violent international extremists, “This case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our borders who threaten our safety and security.”
The four men taken into federal custody were senior citizens ranging in age from the youngest, at 65, to the oldest, 73.
Prosecutors say the FBI had infiltrated the group and secretly recorded meetings by using a confidential informant and they gathered evidence of the men talking about targeting various government officials.
The FBI says the public was not in danger as it had learned about the group before it was able to carry out any attacks.
One of the men arrested, described as a leader of the meetings, talked of having a “bucket list” of government officials, business leaders and members of the media who needed to be “taken out” to “make the country right again,” according to court documents filed in the case.
The same man allegedly was recorded as saying, “There’s no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly illegal: murder…when it comes to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die.”
The group talked about ways to obtain castor beans, which are used to make the deadly poison ricin, a highly toxic substance that can be fatal if inhaled or ingested.
The militia members also discussed how to obtain firearms, ammunition and silencers, the FBI affidavit said.
Court documents say that in May of this year members of the plot drove to Atlanta to conduct surveillance on the local ATF and IRS buildings to plan and assess a possible attack.
One man allegedly said, in regards to attacking a federal building, “We’d have to blow the whole building, like Timothy McVeigh,” referring to the American, far right Christian terrorist who was behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. “We gotta have a lot of explosives,” the man allegedly said while being secretly recorded.
All four men are scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate in Gainesville on Wednesday.
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