We know that right-wing thinkers like Peter King and Bill O'Reilly believe the only serious domestic-terrorism threat Americans face is from "radical Islam" and its adherents. So no doubt they will again turn a blind eye to the most recent case of right-wing domestic terrorism, this time involving a plan involving one of the most toxic biological agents -- ricin, which is lethal in small doses -- and explosives.
Four North Georgia men accused of being members of a fringe militia group were arrested Tuesday by federal authorities for planning to make the deadly toxin ricin and obtain explosives, federal authorities said.
Authorities said that, beginning in March, the men held clandestine militia meetings and discussed using toxic agents and assassinations in an effort to undermine federal and state government and advance their interests.
The four men taken into federal custody are: Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, and Toccoa residents Dan Roberts, 67; Ray H. Adams, 65; and Samuel J. Crump, 68.
"These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government," U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said. "To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin."
They have been talking about "covert" operations since at least March 2011, according to court records, discussing murder, theft and using toxic agents and assassinations to undermine the state and federal government.
At one meeting, investigators say, Thomas openly discussed creating a "bucket list" of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media he felt needed to be "taken out."
"I've been to war, and I've taken life before, and I can do it again," he told an undercover investigator, according to the records.
Thomas' wife, Charlotte, called the charges "baloney."
"He spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy. He would not do anything against his country," she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Thomas and Roberts are accused of buying what they believed was a silencer and an unregistered explosive from an undercover informant in May and June 2011. Prosecutors say he discussed using the weapons in attacks against federal buildings.
Prosecutors say Crump also discussed making 10 pounds of ricin and dispersing it in Atlanta and various cities across the nation. Adams, meanwhile, is accused of showing Crump the formula to make ricin and identifying the ways to obtain the ingredients.
Of course, we've been reporting for some time that militias have been quietly resurgent across the rural landscape since about 2008, which was confirmed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in its 2009 investigative report on the subject. And as we noted then, this resurgence will be accompanied by the inevitable wave of domestic-terrorist attacks and attempts.
Most recently we had the would-be bomber of the Spokane Martin Luther King Day parade, as well as the rampaging militiaman still hiding out somewhere in the Montana woods. It's all added to the growing list of right-wing violence since 2008.
Which again begs the question: If we need to hold hearings on the threat of domestic terrorism, why doesn't that include our most prolific domestic terrorists, both historically and currently -- right-wing extremists?
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism; the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.
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