The FBI decided to infiltrate the Hutaree Christian militia after becoming alarmed by the group allegedly detonating bombs in the woods in rural Michigan, NPR reports in a long investigation of the group.
Nine members of the militia are charged in an alleged plot to kill police. One of the specific counts is attempted use of weapons of mass destruction for an alleged plan to use IEDs during a police funeral.
According to NPR, the FBI discovered last fall that the group, which was already on the bureau’s radar, was setting off bombs in the woods. NPR reports:
[FBI Special Agent Andrew] Arena said the undercover officer who was accepted into the group was offered membership because he said he had a special skill: He knew how to make bombs. Arena said the officer offered to take over that part of the group’s operation. That meant the FBI would now have some modicum of control over what it saw as the Hutarees’ most dangerous asset: explosives.
The identity of the agent has not been revealed.
Court filings from prosecutors quote extensively from alleged discussions that, for example, Hutaree member Tina Stone had “with the individual who she believed could build the IED/EFP.” If the case goes to trial, look for defense lawyers to question how much the undercover agent was driving the alleged discussions about IEDs.
NPR has more — the whole piece is worth a read.