By Pat Shannan -
TOCCOA, Georgia—Imagine four men, aged 65-73, being surrounded at their homes by teams of heavily armed FBI agents. The men are then dragged out of their houses and jailed as “terrorists,” without bail. One of the old men is adored by children; he plays Santa Claus each December. Another is a retired federal employee from the Department of Agriculture. At least one suffers from emphysema; while another has heart disease following multiple bypass operations. All are hard of hearing, and none has a criminal record.
Is this some kind of script for a B-grade comedy movie? Not according to federal officials, such as Sally Quillian Yates, who says that the group of elderly men “demonstrates that we must remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.” Who is Ms. Yates? She is the U.S. attorney for Georgia’s Northern District.
This latest headline-grabber comes out of Toccoa, Ga. where Fred Thomas, 73, Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68—four grumpy old men— were fed up with the communist course of our federal government. They voiced this outrage in their favorite booth at a local Waffle House. These same types of discussions can be heard in thousands of other restaurants across the country.
According to published reports, nobody at the Waffle House these men frequented ever heard talk of killing anybody. However, when this reporter visited Toccoa, the regulars wouldn’t discuss the case due to fear of being implicated or labeled a “government hater.”
Last March, the FBI enlisted the aid of a confidential informant on the government’s payroll who met with the men and secretly recorded their conversations wherein they supposedly talked about using ricin poison to kill federal agents.
However, the confidential informant’s credibility was greatly reduced when it was learned that he not only flunked the polygraph—giving less-than-truthful answers when questioned about the group’s activities—but is under state felony charges himself.
The recent cases of Darren Huff and Edgar Steele come to mind. While committing no violence, Huff talked with too much bravado, and it earned him a yet-to-be-determined jail stretch.
Steele—framed by a questionable informant creating what some experts believe to be phony, FBI-morphed recordings—recently received a 50-year prison sentence.
One indication of a morphed recording has Thomas threatening to “blow the building like Tim McVeigh.” But such language would be unlikely from a seasoned militia leader aware that McVeigh could not have placed demolition charges inside the OKC federal building.
Another pattern of familiarity pops up with the court documented notion that the Georgia men were inspired by a novel penned by Mike Vanderboegh, a former Alabama militia leader, in which small groups of citizens attack federal officials. In 1995, William Pierce’s novel The Turner Diaries portrays a bombing of a federal building; this was said to have motivated Timothy McVeigh.
Does the jailing of four oldsters because they discussed the evils of the federal government—with one purportedly possessing an unregistered gun silencer that was found after a raid on his home—realistically represent “vigilant protection from citizens within our own borders” who allegedly “threaten our safety and security,” or just another phony anti-terrorism “success story”?