Things have been super-busy around the ranch, and I’ve been remiss on following the Hutaree “militia” story. Now that I’ve had a chance to catch up on events, this story gets even more curious.
Recall that the announcement of the arrest was perfectly timed to coincide with the media meme about racist Tea Party militias spreading out across our fair land. This fit the media narrative and I wondered if a legitimate investigation had been short-circuited in order to grab a headline.
After reading the latest news about the bail bond hearings for the group, I’m wondering if the investigation was legitimate at all.
It looks like the Hutaree are nothing more than a bunch of rural bible-thumping whack jobs who talk big and own guns.
Here are two versions of the story, one from AP and the other from the Freep.
On Tuesday, [U.S. Circuit Judge Victoria] Roberts grew irritated as FBI special agent Leslie Larsen, who said she led the two-year investigation, testified that she couldn't answer many questions about the allegations because she hadn't reviewed her reports recently.
Nice that they take these things seriously. And we’re supposed to believe that these people were imminent threats to public order? So dangerous, the agent didn’t bother to review her notes. Fascinating.
A key part of the allegations facing the group is that they were building bombs. Where did they learn to make them? The FBI:
Larsen revealed that an undercover agent infiltrated the group and built and detonated explosives during demonstrations for Hutaree members.
Well, there are still all those illegal guns, right?
The Toledo Blade carries an AP story with more information on that bit. Here’s Agent Larson again:
She said that because they were still being examined, she didn't know if weapons seized by investigators last month were illegal.
Wait a minute, they still don’t know after a month? How hard can this be? It’s not like they have to do a molecular analysis of these things.
If the firearms were not reported as stolen, they are legal, unless they are either: fully automatic or sawed-off shotguns. In both cases, the legality is immediately obvious.
Michigan has a (worthless) pistol registry, but having an unregistered handgun would be a state, not a federal crime.
I’m no lawyer, but when your case starts to crumble during the bond hearing, I begin to wonder if it wasn’t political motivated. As the Hated Instapundit noted: The feds got their headline, which was really all they wanted.
The problem is that if these people are innocent, the feds have just done more to undermine their standing than a million Tea Parties.
Each time a federal law enforcement agent acts hastily or unprofessionally, each time someone’s rights are violated, the legitimacy of the system is called into question.
Bill Clinton can spout off about Tim McVeigh all he likes, but the fact of the matter is trumped-up cases and abuses of power do far more to radicalize people than “extremist rhetoric.”
If this case collapses, the fallout will be more than a little chagrin for the administration – it will cause people to question whether the FBI can be trusted at all.
FEARLESS PREDICTION: A career agent will come forward as a whistleblower and claim that the case was blown because of political pressure from the Justice Deptartment to make the bust early.