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Posted on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Militia group gave FBI information on Hutaree two years ago, e-mails show

By Lee Higgins

A Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia member provided information about Hutaree and one of its members to an FBI agent in April 2008, according to two e-mails obtained by

The e-mails were sent eight months before ATF inspectors conducted a records check on a Lenawee County gun dealer, which prosecutors say kicked off the investigation into the militia group they've labeled as anti-government and extremist.

In addition, SMVM Coordinator Lee Miracle and spokesman Michael Lackomar said Hutaree came up in discussions they had with FBI agents the day before the 2008 presidential election.

“The decision was made to cooperate with the authorities fully because we do value good relations with local and federal law enforcement,” Lackomar said. “In addition, we knew that one of the groups they were talking about, the Hutaree, struck us as potentially unstable and possibly dangerous.”

FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a bureau spokeswoman in Detroit, declined to comment Wednesday on whether the SMVM cooperated in the probe.

“There’s an ongoing investigation into Hutaree and we can’t comment on ongoing investigations,” she said.


Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia members are shown in training in this file photo taken earlier this year.

Angela Cesere |

Nine members of Hutaree are in federal custody after being indicted on charges that accuse them of conspiring to levy war against the United States. Among other allegations, members of the Christian militia unit are accused of discussing killing a law enforcement officer, then attacking the funeral procession motorcade with homemade bombs.

The e-mails were provided to under the condition that the author remain anonymous because he's concerned for his safety. Two e-mails he sent to an FBI agent in April 2008 pertain to Hutaree.

The first is dated April 7, 2008 with the subject heading "Info you wanted." 

"Here's what I got," the email says. "I'm still looking, if I come up with anything else, I'll send it."

The email contains a link to the Hutaree Web site, a link to a Hutaree YouTube channel and says that two photographs of "Mouse" are attached. "Mouse" is a nickname for Hutaree member Joshua Clough of Blissfield, who is charged in the indictment.

"Let me know if there's any other way I can be helpful," it says.

The agent replied on April 9, 2008, thanking the e-mailer for the "info."

"We will do our best to track mouse down," the agent wrote.

The second e-mail is dated April 9, 2008 with the subject heading "Mouse info (And lots of it...)." 

"I don't know if this will help...," the email says. "But I felt bad that I wasn't able to give you enough before...So I dug around"

The email contains further information on Clough, including that he's using the nickname "Azuurlin." It also contains links to a profile on Yahoo, a page and a phone number. The phone number was obtained through a search on a reverse directory online, the e-mailer wrote.

"Do I get my 'Junior G-Man' badge yet?" the e-mailer wrote.

The day before the 2008 presidential election, Lackomar, Miracle and another SMVM member were questioned separately by federal law enforcement agents, Lackomar said.

The group had organized a meeting the day after the election, so when Lackomar received a phone call from an FBI agent, he suspected that's what it was about.

Lackomar said he was asked whether he heard of any specific chatter regarding anything that could happen on Election Day, and he said he hadn't. He told the agent about the meeting his group had planned, he said. Several minutes into the conversation, Lackomar said, the agent asked what he thought about Hutaree.


This photo was on the Hutaree Web site.

"I gave (the agent) the impression they were loose cannons basically," he said.

Miracle said he was asked that same day by an FBI agent whether there's anything investigators should be concerned about. It came up after he finished talking about the meeting his group was planning, he said.

Miracle mentioned Hutaree and told the agent the group had a Web site, he said.

Miracle said he considers Hutaree an "armed cult."

“It is our duty as American citizens to protect American lives,” Miracle said. “If someone wants to accuse me of trying to keep Americans safe, I’m guilty as charged. You don’t want to be responsible by your silence for any kind of unnecessary mayhem.”"

The SMVM used to train with Hutaree and had a falling out in 2007. But Miracle and Lackomar said that had nothing to do with any discussions they had with law enforcement.

"We just felt that they were a group that could become very radicalized very easily," Lackomar said. "That's because of the ultra-religious nature of their leader and the whole unit. They lashed out against other units and the government."

Militia members share information about other groups for a variety of reasons, said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, who studies the militia movement.

Some have developed personal relationships with law enforcement officers, and others must share information or “they’ll get in trouble,” he said.

The FBI has made an effort since the 1990s to reach out to militia groups and check in with them on occasion, Pitcavage said.

In certain cases, militia members won’t warn a law enforcement officer about a potentially dangerous individual because they assume it’s an “agent provocateur," Pitcavage said. In those cases, they'll only warn other militia members, he said.

"Every now and then some of them genuinely may be alarmed at what they've seen," Pitcavage said.

Lee Higgins is a reporter for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Sat, Apr 17, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

Keep stories about the militias coming. These people are as weird as you can get. Glad that one guy didn't bomb the River Raisin bridge to keep the feds from invading Adrian.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

When I take a college class with more than about 25 people in it I will guarantee that at least one will expose themselves as a complete wack job. Are we suprised that large movements like Gay Rights or Militias or the Tea Party or environmentalism have them? I'm not. I am also not surprised that most of the people in any movement are relatively normal people who don't support the wackos and probably try to ignore them until it is just not possible. Huzzah! to the mmembers of the SMVM for pointing out the nut cases. And a big thank you to the FBI for putting together a case to stop them before they hurt anyone.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Anonymous: I'm curious: If all of the things you say happened were not reported, how is it you know about them?

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

Why would they want to do that if no such people exist? Why has the Tea Party uninvited several speakers because of past speeches and views on race? I have a very simple answer to that: If there really are some significant number of "racists" or whatever in the "tea party" then why do the anti-tea-party activists feel the need to impersonate tea party members then pretend to be neo-nazis? Please explain these stories: Please explain why trying to fake racist or whatever tea party members is seen as necessary by anyone if there are supposedly so many racists in the tea party already? I'm pretty sure you'll find that the NAACP has "uninvited" advocates of violence, Greenpeace has "uninvited" eco-terrorism advocates, etc. The problem is that most reporters (something like 90% of reporters state in polls that they've voted for Democrats) will cherry pick the absolute worst members of so-called "right wing" groups like militias, the tea party, or whatever and try to construe the whole group as being like those people. But for some reason they won't report on the very small number of members in gay pride parades who go naked and perform sex acts even when children are around. (See Folsom Street Fair. Yes, people do run across it accidentally with their kids with them.) They'll never report on convicted or accused eco-terrorists at environmental activist events. They'll never report on card-carrying communists who advocate the overthrow of the US government and show up and various extremist left-wing events. They won't report on Bill Ayers' association with Obama even though you know they'd be all over Bush if he could even remotely be tied to some sort of known terrorist. No, all of that cherry picking bigotry is reserved for groups like the tea party and "militia" groups. I applaud for at least trying to tell more than one side of the story on the militia groups especially considering the questionable way photos were used in the initial reports.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:25 p.m.

Lee: you need to re-read your Constitution, specifically Article III, Section 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Someone working to bring down the government of the United States by means other than through a democratic election is by definition committing treason, which is itself, extremist. Gotta love people who love their country so much and who are so patriotic that they see the undermining of the democratically elected government as "patriotism".


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

amen to tru blus...sadly the militia movement overall has deservedly generated so much suspicion and hostility for its delusional and often on the edge ( or over the edge) advocacy of violence that when a few individuals in it behave in minimally civic-minded ways against their more unhinged brethren they get undue accolades from some ( e.g the history of alot of radical social movements often involves behind the scenes collusion between "over the toppers" and marginally less so members, so that the latter can seem more rational, moderate and palatable in comparison ( cases way to numerous to mention...but one might be that of the extremist hamas palestinians vs the supposedly more "moderate", and digestible to the west/israel, al fatahniks...who actually developed the "drive the jews into the sea" sort of rhetoric. it wouldnt surprise me at all if this whole hoo ha was cooked up within the wider militia movement, with the huttaree-ites choosing to "take one for the team" against the day the fantasy glorious revolution comes and they can become the cabinet of the new fuhrer or warchief or whatever. i guess thats my little conspiracy theory!.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:11 p.m.

... and in typical fashion, the FBI dropped the ball.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

For the record, The Constitution DOES NOT grant rights, it ennumerates innate rights and LIMITS Government.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11 a.m.

A apology will never happen John, those people will never let facts get in the way of their fear.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

The other day hundreds of people traveled down socialist roads to "protest" at the Capitol building. They wanted to "protect" their 2nd amendment rights. Nobody silenced them, nobody took away their guns. No legislation pending would take away guns. Yet, there they were, literally up in arms over....a myth. Today thousands will travel down socialist, government roads to simulate the Boston Tea Party, and to protest against taxes. They will use up the time of socialist police agencies, at the expense of the tax payers of Michigan. They have every right to do this. Nobody will "take away" their free speech. Interestingly, they will be making a concerted effort to keep out (their words) extremists; "We don't want to be misrepresented, whether it's by someone who is not part of the group and has their own agenda, or whether it's by some fringe extremist who may actually be a racist,"-Jim Hoft, a political blogger and tea party activist. Why would they want to do that if no such people exist? Why has the Tea Party uninvited several speakers because of past speeches and views on race?

John of Saline

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

For all those who condemned the militia movement in general earlier for not rooting out Hutaree: It's apology time!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

Where the Hutaree left over Left Wing Radicals from the 60's? It looks like the Militia were the "Good Guys" for reporting the Hutaree to the ATF.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:30 a.m.

Who is this "communist" LEE? How has Obama overturned the constitution? Who are these communists that want to take your right of free speech away, please be specific. The former President did just that, and the Supreme Court said he did, on multiple occasions, where was your outrage? Where were the militias when President Bush was rounding up Americans and holding them without charges, or illegally tapping phones? Did you protest when he created "free speech zones" (because I thought the whole country was a free speech zone) As far a Glenn Beck you find the Catholic Church, the Lutherans and Methodists to be "fronts" for Nazism? Glenn basically said as much. Do you believe that FEMA has concentration camps? It took Beck 3 days to refute that bizzare claim, and if you missed the last 30 minutes of a 3 day rant, you missed that part where he said "Oops, guess not!, Sorry!". People that I know that listen to Beck think : gun taxes were part of the health insurance law national ID cards will be required for "government run health care" national medical data bases will be formed that government is going to run the health care system bank records will be opened for anybody with insurance, so the feds can see how much money each person has. None of these are true, yet I STILL hear people say they are true, because they heard it on the telly. Then they rant about "communists". When did ANY communist country mandate PRIVATE insurance? Beck recently claimed Obama spent 1.4 million to repair a set of doors, not true, he said the director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy "has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population."- not true, he said ""Why do we have automatic citizenship upon birth?" Beck asked. "Do you know? We're the only country in the world that has it. Why?"- Not true, 33 countries, including Canada have similar laws. Should we NOT confuse lies with fear mongering? Ron Paul had it correct at the recent republican event. Obama is not a socialist, he is a corporatist, just like Bush.