09.30.2009 0

ALG Serves Notice on MIAC: Stop Stonewalling

  • On: 10/23/2009 09:48:15
  • In: Homeland Security
  • By Robert Romano

    Last week, Americans for Limited Government notified its members and the media about its Missouri Sunshine Law request concerning the controversial “Modern Militia Movement” domestic threat advisory issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) in February. Almost immediately, ALG was contacted by Liberty Restoration Project (LRP) Executive Director Catherine Bleish.

    And the news was stunning.

    It turns out Bleish had filed some Sunshine Law requests of her own in March. And she was eager to get them into ALG News’ hands. With good reason.

    Based on those documents, it now appears that the Missouri Highway Patrol may have deliberately deceived ALG in its response to the group’s request for information on “all personnel involved in drafting the Report.”

    The Missouri Highway Patrol’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law Request explicitly stated, “[b]ackground material was not retained by the author during drafting.” And, in addition, “[t]here is no record listing the individual who wrote the report.”

    This was troubling enough. A so-called “federal fusion center”—a federal-state intelligence center that is supposed to be distributing actionable intelligence to law enforcement—sent out a devastating report accusing Americans of being potential terrorists. But it had no record of who authored it, or how it was put together.

    The report labeled as potential domestic terror threats individuals highly concerned about unemployment, taxes, illegal immigration, gangs, border security, abortion, high costs of living, gun restrictions, FEMA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve. It also pointed to supporters of third-party presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin as potential militia members.

    And now the state Missouri was telling ALG that it had no idea who wrote it—or even upon what it was based!

    But according to Bleish, that simply was not so. “They do know who wrote it, they’re just not telling you,” she informed ALG. And she had the documents to prove it.

    One email revealed in LRP’s Sunshine request clearly shows a criminal intelligence analyst at MIAC, named Brandon Middleton, sending a draft of the report to the Assistant Director of MIAC at the time, Greg Hug.

    That email shows an exchange wherein Hug asked for a copy of the report, “Can you send the Militia product to me in the digital format? I’ll send it out for you in early February.” Middleton replied, “Use it as a format, do with it what you will.”

    This was simply startling. Bleish’s findings directly contradicted Missouri’s response to ALG’s Sunshine Law request. In fact, LRP had received hundreds of pages of documents in response to its three requests to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the State Emergency Management Agency, and the Missouri Governor’s Office.

    In short, the Missouri Department of Public Safety had deliberately chosen to stonewall ALG.

    This prompted ALG counsel Nathan Mehrens to send another letter, this time to Missouri Department of Public Safety chief John Britt, asking for a thorough explanation of these contradictions. On October 20th, Mehrens wrote, “The response we received would lead a reasonable person to conclude that background materials did at one point exist but that they were destroyed.”

    The MIAC “threat” advisory was so broad that it had targeted a majority of the population. After a courageous law enforcement officer leaked it to the press, the Missouri Highway Patrol was forced to pull its own report. Admitted the Patrol’s Superintendent Colonel Jim Keathley, “Had that report been reviewed by either my office or by leaders of the Department of Public Safety, it would never have been released to law enforcement agencies.”

    Perhaps, that is the case. Or perhaps, had Mr. Keathley and the other “leaders of the Department of Public Safety” known that their inflammatory report would be leaked, “it never would have been released to law enforcement agencies.”

    It would be nice to take Mr. Keathley at his word. But, the subsequent stonewalling of the ALG Sunshine Law request raises serious questions about the basic integrity of the Department. Is it really possible that Missouri simply lost the records related to the background and authorship of this erroneous report? Or was this a deliberate deception to block ALG’s Sunshine Law request knowing of the organization’s aggressive public posture?

    According to Bleish, the Department did know who it was, because “they said at the first hearing that they weren’t going to say who it was to protect his identity,” referring to an ongoing inquiry by the Missouri House Interim Committee on State Intelligence Analysis Oversight into the MIAC memo, which Bleish testified in front of.

    According to Bleish, “These documents were very poorly written… Very few of them had any citations in them whatsoever.” Nonetheless, she noted that portions were directly lifted from third party organizations, “The Anti-Defamation League website has clearly been plagiarized in authoring these documents, [and] the Southern Poverty Law Center has been utilized.”

    Bleish is incensed that Missouri now says it “lost” the records, “If they didn’t retain the sources, [and] they don’t cite anything in the documents—reckless research was without a doubt committed, and that is a fraud against the people in the state of Missouri.” And the American people as a whole, she might well have added.

    Bleish has no plans of letting this matter go. And neither does Americans for Limited Government.

    “This is just the beginning,” said Bleish, “we’re not going to be quiet, and we’re going to win. Because the people do not want a government that is drafting reports to profile the people.” Indeed.

    Added ALG President Bill Wilson, “The politicians have tried to stonewall the wrong people. Our members nationwide—and particularly those in Missouri—will not rest until we find out who issued this phony, inflammatory report, and precisely why it was done. And we wouldn’t think of letting them down.”

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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