Report on FBI visit
by Jon Roland
On July 23, 1998, at approximately 10:56, I was visited at my apartment in
Sacramento, California, by Special Agent Steve Moore (SM) of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation and Sergeant Chris Kuntz (CK) of the Criminal Intelligence
Unit of the Sacramento Police Department. We engaged in a cordial conversation
for approximately 30 minutes. Some of the key remarks of each participant are
paraphrased below, not necessarily in the same order in which they occurred. I
also show some of my unvoiced thoughts during the session in square brackets.
Each showed his ID and identified himself.
[SM is young, mid- to late-twenties. CK is older, perhaps mid-fifties. SM
reminds me of a similarly young and earnest FBI agent I taught martial arts to
in Washington, DC, back in 1971.]
SM: May we come in?
JR: There is no place to sit down. We can talk out here.
[Sit? There is hardly a place to stand. Except for paths from my office desk
to the front door, refrigerator, bathroom, and the air mattress I sleep on, the
entire floor is covered by piles of stuff being rearranged, culled, and
We proceeded to talk outside my front door.
SM: Contrary to what a lot of people think, we don't know everything that is
happening. We've come to ask your help in reporting any persons who might pose
a threat of violence.
JR: I have a duty to report crimes to appropriate law enforcement agencies,
but in most cases that will be to local or state agencies [facing CK] rather
than to federal. You [facing SM] don't have jurisdiction [for such offenses on
SM: We are particularly concerned about Don Rudolph [San Joaquin County
Militia] ... and his threats of violence regarding COSCO and the facility they
propose to lease in Long Beach.
[This visit may have been prompted by the email exchange between Don Rudolph
and me, quoted in an article by Rich Azar, "Long Beach Tea Party"
Threatened, in the July, 1998, issue of Media Bypass]
JR: Despite his rhetoric, I do not think it likely that Rudolph or anyone
else involved in this protest will engage in any act of criminal violence. But
we have people who are alert to the possibility, and who will act to prevent it
if that becomes necessary. [Unless your colleagues do something to provoke
JR: Unfortunately, we now live in a media environment in which activists
must sometimes resort to violent rhetoric to get attention to their concerns.
Both SM and CK seemed surprised by this remark, as though it was a new idea.
[The people you really need to identify are not the ones who invest a great
deal of their resources in building public organizations that would be
discredited by unjustified and illegal acts. You may want to avoid criticism
for failing to investigate persons using violent rhetoric, in the event they do
commit violent acts, but the serious threats have a different profile.]
JR: In the militia movement we try to channel the anger of people into
constructive action, not only organizing, training, and equipping them to
defend the community from the things that might threaten it, such as foreign
invasion, riots, crime, or disasters, but also electioneering, litigation, and
public education. We can't salvage everyone, but we do salvage most, and
provide counseling and support to victims of abuse. Some, of course, can't be
salvaged, and have to be rejected. But the movement has probably prevented a
great many acts of violence that might otherwise have occurred.
Expressions of surprise by both men.
CK: Have you personally helped a lot of people that way?
JR: I hope my efforts have done some good that way.
I proceeded to further develop various elements of political activism today.
JR: Our duty as citizens is not just to obey the law but to help enforce it.
If we encounter someone committing a crime, we won't wait to report it, but if
we can, we will make the arrest ourselves.
CK: You have the right to make a citizen's arrest.
JR: Don't be too surprised if we haul an offender in and tell you to book
him. We will observe all standards of proper law enforcement, including
respecting the rights of the accused, and protection of evidence and the chain
of custody of it.
SM: There are a lot of our guys who used to fight communism, and who are
also concerned about something like COSCO getting a port facility.
[Dissention within the FBI? But are they being allowed to conduct a proper
investigation, or is it left to us civilians to do the job you should be
SM: Are you concerned the Chinese might use the facility to smuggle guns?
JR: The Chinese have other port facilities and other ways of getting people
and things into this country. We have a concern about what they could only do
with a deep water port. Guns don't concern us so much as narcotics, chemical or
biological warfare agents, or docking a ship filled with a nuclear device that
could be used to blackmail a timid White House. [Or station a high-tech
listening post to intercept most electronic message traffic in the Southwestern
CK referred to my Web site, presumably the CS site.
[Have you guys actually read any of the materials on that site? We are
covering a lot of ground that you could get more easily by browsing the
SM briefly probed about the membership of the Constitution Society, but
didn't pursue it.
JR: You were able to find me ....
CK: We found you through your van.
CK nodded in the direction of my parking space.
[I have done nothing to draw official attention to my van, so either they
had an APB out on it, followed it from a meeting, or planted a tracking device.
They possibly took down the license plate at the February, 1998, meeting in
Reno. This may be related to the 3 patrol vehicles of the Sacramento Sheriff's
Department I spotted cruising my apartment complex on or about July 3. Might
have been followed from a meeting of the Eugene Byrd for Sheriff campaign,
participants in which have now been targeted by the winning candidate and his
cronies. This seems to be a waste of the taxpayers' money, considering all they
had to do is call the phone number on the Constitution Society Web site to make
an appointment. They are possibly trying to play a head game, judging my
reaction to their sudden appearance.]
SM: We don't tap people's phones without a court order.
JR: Of course you do. You have tapped mine. I've caught some of your guys
[There was no court order. Investigation works both ways.]
SM repeated his request for my help in warning them of possibly violent
persons, and stated that the KKK was active in the Sacramento area.
JR: Bigots are unwelcome in the militia movement. Racist groups and the
militia detest one another.
SM: But these groups may try to recruit people at militia meetings.
JR: They used to, and we sometimes cross paths, but they have mostly given
up on doing that.
[They would have better luck recruiting at an ACLU or NAACP meeting.]
JR: There was a time in the early '50s when the KKK could put 3 million
demonstrators on the streets. Today they would be lucky to get 30,000. We need
to ask what happened to the others. The good news is that most of them have
reformed, and there are few people more anti-bigoted as reformed bigots. The
bad news is that too many of the ones who didn't reform have gone into law
enforcement, something the militia movement revealed in its expose of the
annual Good 'Ol Boys Roundup of law enforcement officials in Eastern Tennessee.
The fact that higher ups did more to try to suppress the revelations than to
correct the problem of racism in law enforcement is indicative.
[It is the militia movement, more than the FBI or other federal law
enforcement organizations, that is actively fighting racism and hate.]
CK: What is your role in the militia movement?
JR: You obviously haven't been well-briefed about me. There are some who
regard me as a founder of the modern militia movement. That is an exaggeration.
I usually bill myself as an "activator".
Expressions of surprise on both men at the use of that term.
[They are either good actors or they really haven't been briefed well enough
for an assignment of this kind. Possibly a training exercise for SM.]
SM: What is the militia? How many people are members?
JR: The militia is the entire population of an area in its capacity as
defenders of the state, except for those whose official duties take precedence
over their militia duties [or who are unfit and would be a liability]. It is
based on the main duty arising from the social contract, the duty to do one's
part in mutual defense. That means we not only have the duty to obey the law,
but to help enforce it. Unfortunately, not all statutes on the books are
constitutional, and the enforcement of those that are not is likely to be a
crime itself, obliging one to make an arrest of the person trying to enforce
Long pause at the two men think about that.
JR: You may honestly think you are enforcing a constitutional statute, but
you have a duty that cannot be delegated to your superiors, legal advisers, or
the courts, to make an independent determination of the constitutionality of
any statute you may be asked to enforce.
SM: Could I join the militia?
JR: You could become active in the militia, provided it did not conflict
with your official duties. [But given your position, you would need to fully
disclose it and report any such conflicts to your militia unit.]
JR: For example, if a soldier were on guard duty, that duty would probably
take precedence over intervening to make an arrest in an armed robbery at a
convenience store across the street. But when he was off-duty, his militia duty
would take precedence, and he would be obliged to intervene, in his capacity as
a militiaman. He could not be ordered to do so, because that would make it an
official act, and a violation of the posse comitatus act, but as a citizen he
can so act.
JR: It is important to understand that there is no minimum size to a militia
unit. If you go to the aid of a victim of a crime, or defend yourself from
criminal attack, what you are doing is issuing a militia call-up and responding
to it yourself, comprising a militia unit of one. If a bystander joins you, it
is a militia unit of two.
SM: But can we get your help in reporting on anyone who might pose a threat?
CK: We are trying to be proactive.
[In cop-speak, "being pro-active" is a code phrase for framing
innocent persons they don't like to get a headline and make themselves look
JR: There is a fine line between reporting a crime in preparation and
becoming an informer.
Expressions of protest by both men that they don't want me to become an
JR: To be a conspiracy there must be a criminal plan with a definite
timetable and steps taken to carry it out.
[Preparing for a contingent "Red Dawn" scenario that may never
happen doesn't count. You must consider that any such preparation may be for a
future eventuality in which such action would be justified by almost anyone's
standards. I'm not going to help you frame someone you think might be
dangerous, for its PR value and to support a larger annual appropriation.]
SM: We want to find some Timothy McVeigh before he hurts innocent people.
JR: So do we, and we will if we can. But we would be more likely to work
with agencies like the FBI if they did a better job of investigating the
Oklahoma City bombing, including the leads, such as evidence of bombs planted
on the supporting columns of the building, that indicate it was an inside job,
and that while McVeigh might have been involved in a minor capacity, such as
driving the truck, he is almost certainly was not one of the principals, who we
suspect may be your colleagues.
SM: Every organization has a few bad apples.
[Has it occurred to you that you work for an organization that has a long,
well-documented history of criminal wrongdoing and a systemic failure to
investigate or prosecute such wrongdoing, that the American people are not
going to find out about such wrongdoing, discuss it among themselves, and
remember it when you ask for assistance? Do you think that there is not a price
to be paid for destroying the reputation of your organization and public
confidence in its integrity?
The FBI might have a better chance of getting my assistance in a case if you
were to compensate me for the approximately $4200 replacement cost, plus
interest at prevailing market rates, of the notebook computer your people stole
from my San Antonio, Texas, office on or about April 13, 1994, publicly admit
to the theft, apologize for it, prosecute the persons involved, and take
effective measures to make sure nothing like it occurs again.
So, unless it is a case that clearly and exclusively falls within FBI
jurisdiction and competence, I will only report crimes or impending crimes to
local law enforcement. We don't have a problem with the FBI conducting a proper
investigation. Anyone can investigate a crime, including FBI agents (if they
don't mishandle the evidence or witnesses), and anyone, including FBI agents,
can make a legitimate arrest. The problem arises when you prosecute the accused
under an unconstitutional federal statute instead of under a state statute that
probably covers the same basic offense, unless the offense occurred on
territory over which the federal government has constitutional jurisdiction,
that is, territory ceded to the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Congress
by act of a state legislature.]
They both asked what I did for a living. I replied that I was a computer
consultant. They asked what kind. I said I developed software under contract.
[Are they really so underprepared and unbriefed? All anyone has to do to
find out what I do and what I have said is search for my name on the WWW and
SM: May we stay in touch?
JR: Sure. You can call me any time.
SM: What is your phone number?
[They are either good actors or severely underprepared. They know about the
CS Web site, yet don't have my phone number, which is prominently presented on
the home page?]
I give them my local phone number, and each of them wrote it down on his
Each gave me one of his cards, and left.
Almost everything we discussed could have been covered more efficiently and
at lower cost to the taxpayer by just reading the materials on or linked to the
Constitution Society Web site, visiting my commercial site, or searching the
WWW and dejanews.com. Of course, one of the purposes of the visit might have
been to confirm that I really am the author of the materials on the CS site, by
testing my ability to discuss the ideas they present as only the author could.
If so these men are good actors, giving a convincing portrayal of lack of
preparedness for the assignment. If not then I recommend that they receive
further training in personally doing the kind of basic background research that
such an assignment requires, not depending on briefings or briefing documents
they may be provided.
It was clear from this conversation that the FBI did not then have anything
on Don Rudolph, but that they had targeted him for prosecution on anything they
could find, or invent, because he was a plausible and an easy target who would
probably not defend himself effectively in court. I had never actually spoken
to Rudolph face to face, although we had attended a conference in Reno the
previous February, a fact they surely knew since they undoubtedly had agents
present. Our only contacts had been by email. My take on him was that he was an
angry guy, but the anger I perceived was always focused on official corruption
and abuse, things that would justify anger by any citizen who loves his country
and doesn't want its government taken over by criminals and traitors. He had
been diagnosed as having a psychological disorder, presumably the cause of much
of his hostility, but he was being successfully treated for the condition with
drugs. His was a medical problem, not a criminal problem.
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