Undercover video shows militia recruitment methods
October 13, 1996
From Correspondent Carl Rochelle
CLARKSBURG, West Virginia (CNN) -- A blurry video shows unmarked black military helicopters sitting quietly, perched side by side. Other choppers dot the sky in a single-file line, as if on the offensive.
The video, titled "America Under Siege," was used by the Mountaineer Militia, a West Virginia right-wing organization, to recruit members. The recruits were told that the video is proof of acts authorized by the federal government against its own people. (41 sec/1.1M QuickTime movie)
This video footage is amateur quality. Some images may be hard to see.
The recruitment video was caught on tape by an undercover police officer who infiltrated the Mountaineer Militia for months. On Friday, the FBI swooped in and charged seven people with ties to the militia of plotting to blow up the FBI fingerprints records complex in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
"America Under Siege" and other videos like it were allegedly used to encourage people to join up by showing what the militia claimed were illegal acts committed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and other federal agencies. Various sources, including other militia groups, are said to have put the footage together.
He said members were not screened and had to pay a $35 initiation fee in cash so that transactions could not be traced. Much of the money is believed to have gone straight to the militia's leader, Floyd Raymond Looker, the agent said.
In a 16-month investigation, the FBI foiled what they claim was a plot against their new $200 million Clarksburg center and two other facilities. Those arrested were members of or associated with the Mountaineer Militia, including Looker.
According to FBI, Looker agreed to provide a package of blueprints and drawings of the Clarksburg complex for $50,000 to an undercover agent posing as a broker, who said he would resell them to "an unnamed Middle East terrorist organization." Looker was arrested after the exchange of money, the FBI said.
The agent, who spoke with CNN, said Looker encouraged militia members to provide him with various documents about the facilities. James Rogers of the Clarksburg Fire Department was arrested for allegedly providing Looker with the documents.
Meanwhile, news of the arrests have swept through this quiet town of roughly 20,000. Harrison County Sheriff Wayne Godwin said he knew three of those arrested and was shocked to find out the news, like many others in town.
The town's sentiments were perhaps best expressed by a front-page article that read: "Clarksburg made the national headlines for all the wrong reasons."
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