FBI, Militia Members Exchange Views

Associated Press, October 14, 1999
By James Prichard

BLOOMFIELD, Ind. (AP)--Three FBI agents and six militia members, face to face--but there was no confrontation.

Instead, both sides sat down and tried to discuss ways to foster better relationships between the two groups. It's part of a national attempt to curtail animosity that has resulted in sometimes violent battles between anti-government groups and law enforcement in recent years.

"I think what we need to do is realize that we're all human beings and we all want to do what's morally right, though we may have different ideas on how to do that," said Albert King, a member of the Greene County Militia. Acting on orders from FBI Director Louis Freeh and Attorney General Janet Reno, agents in the nation's 56 field offices have been trying to open lines of communication with members of militia groups in their areas. The program was established just weeks after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people. The Wednesday meeting between FBI agents from Indianapolis and Indiana militias was the second in three months.

At the first meeting, which took place at the FBI's Indianapolis field office in August, a couple of the 10 or so militia members in attendance made conspiracy accusations and other inflammatory comments. There was none of that at the Bloomfield meeting, which took place in a public park shelterhouse. The town is 65 miles southwest of Indianapolis. FBI Agent Doug Garrison assured the militia members that his colleagues "aren't hiding behind every tree," watching their every move.

Roger Stalcup, a Bloomfield resident and commander of the Southern Indiana Regional Militia, said members of his group do not advocate illegal activity, and if they learn of any such plan they would be the first to report it.

"I think the FBI has demonstrated good faith in coming to the table and talking with us," he said.


To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.