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US One piece of alleged extremist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included a 'plan to target and kill police'

16:02  12 october  2020
16:02  12 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Trump says Whitmer didn't say 'thank you' after thwarted kidnapped plot. She did thank law enforcement

  Trump says Whitmer didn't say 'thank you' after thwarted kidnapped plot. She did thank law enforcement Whitmer thanked law enforcement in her press conference on Thursday but criticized Trump for his responses to hate groups.Seven additional people are also facing state charges pursuant to Michigan's anti-terrorism act in connection to the alleged plot.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (R) welcomed Democrat The FBI and state police have thwarted a plan by anti- government extremists to kidnap Michigan Governor Nessel said the conspirators wanted to instigate a “civil war” by killing law enforcement officers, attacking Michigan ’s

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has become a target of coronavirus lockdown sceptics. Mrs Whitmer has become a target for coronavirus sceptics after enacting strict measures that were Media captionOfficials say the alleged plot involved kidnapping Mrs Whitmer from her holiday home.

DETROIT — Michigan law enforcement is on high alert after the FBI revealed an alleged plot by extremist groups to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also involved a "plan to target and kill police."

"We're cautious. We're absolutely more careful," said First Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police. "This is one of the tactics these anti-government, domestic terrorism groups use. Law enforcement is the face of the government. if you're mad at the government, you're mad at the police."

AG: Michigan governor, family were moved as plotters tracked

  AG: Michigan governor, family were moved as plotters tracked LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her family were at times moved around by authorities as law enforcement tracked the men who allegedly plotted for months to kidnap her, Michigan's attorney general said Friday. Dana Nessel disclosed the detail to “CBS This Morning." She said the Democratic governor was consistently updated about the investigation over the past couple months. “She was aware of things that were happening," NesselDana Nessel disclosed the detail to “CBS This Morning." She said the Democratic governor was consistently updated about the investigation over the past couple months.

Michigan Gov . Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that attacks lobbed at her by President Donald Trump's FBI thwarted plot to kidnap Michigan governor . 'Flood the streets': Scientist reveals the White The alleged plan included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects

Gov . Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Warren, Mich., in — The fallout from a failed domestic terrorism plot to overthrow Michigan ’s state government and kidnap Gov . Gretchen Whitmer has quickly become

The alleged plot was unveiled last Thursday when the U.S. Department of Justice charged six men with conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer, which authorities said they wanted to carry out before Election Day. On the same day, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel brought charges against seven other men that included supporting terrorism, gang membership, and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

a group of people walking down the street: Michigan State Police look on during the a protest rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order to stay home during COVID-19 pandemic in Lansing, Mich. on Thursday, May 14, 2020. © Kimberly P Mitchell, Detroit Free Press Michigan State Police look on during the a protest rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order to stay home during COVID-19 pandemic in Lansing, Mich. on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

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Officials said the suspects were attempting to trigger "civil war" with a detailed plan to abduct the governor and attack other elected officials at the Statehouse. Part of the plot included plans to target police.

'Trump is not your friend dude': Video shows man involved in alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer espousing anti-Trump views

  'Trump is not your friend dude': Video shows man involved in alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer espousing anti-Trump views One of the men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can be seen in a video posted on social media calling President Trump a “tyrant” and government workers “your enemy.” © Provided by Washington Examiner “Trump is not your friend, dude,” alleged kidnapper Brandon Caserta says in a video with an anarchist flag hanging in the background. “It amazes me that people actually, like, believe that when he’s shown over and over and over again that he’s a tyrant. Every single person that works for government is your enemy, dude.

Gretchen Whitmer — and overthrow the state government . Militia members plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov . Gretchen Whitmer as part of a treacherous plan that also involved storming the state Capitol and sparking a second American civil war, officials said Thursday.

The militia group plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov . Gretchen Whitmer hatched their plan -- which included firebombing police vehicles -- in the basement of a vacuum store in Grand Rapids, according to news reports. Six men were arrested by the FBI on Wednesday and charged with attempting to

FBI Special Agent Richard J. Trask II cited the risk to law enforcement officers in a criminal complaint filed last Tuesday in U.S. District Court:

"The militia group had already been brought to the attention of the FBI by a local police department in March 2020 when members of the militia group were attempting to obtain the addresses of local law enforcement officers," the filing says. "At the time, the FBI interviewed a member of the militia group who was concerned about the group's plan to target and kill police officers and that person agreed to become a CHS (confidential human source)."

a group of people looking at a cell phone: Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw talks with reporters outside of the 22nd District Court on Thursday, July 3, 2014. © Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw talks with reporters outside of the 22nd District Court on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Shaw and others said the police are on high alert as risk continues to evolve beyond traffic stops and sitting in police cars to getting fake calls for service and targeting police when they're out of uniform.

Accused militia members arraigned on domestic terrorism charges in Michigan

  Accused militia members arraigned on domestic terrorism charges in Michigan Accused militia members arraigned on domestic terrorism charges in Michigan(Reuters) - Six men arrested on suspicion of taking part in a plot by armed extremists to kidnap Michigan's governor have been arraigned on domestic terrorism and weapons charges, while a seventh awaits extradition from South Carolina, authorities said on Friday.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer denounce men who sought to kidnap her as "sick and " Governor Whitmer is sowing division by making these outlandish allegations ," Ms McEnany said in a Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged seven people with plotting to target law

Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home before November's presidential election, with one of the defendants allegedly saying they would then try Federal authorities charged six men for allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov . Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home before November's

State Police are constantly evaluating the credibility of threats against troopers and facilities and taking measures to reduce potential for harm, Shaw said.

Michigan State Police are assigned to protect the governor. Whitmer thanked troopers for their commitment to public service after officials made the arrests in the federal case.

The Free Press interviewed current and former law enforcement officers who said the threat to Michigan police by extremist groups from both ends of the political spectrum are taken seriously and reconnaissance is provided to protect public officials, as well as those guarding them, at home and at work.

Police told the Free Press that family members are rarely informed when individual officers are getting protective detail at home because it would be too unsettling to the family.

Bob Stevenson, a retired police chief in Livonia and now executive director of the Michigan Police Chiefs Association, said: "The threat is always there but this raises it to another level of alarm when you start to target the officers when they're not in their uniform, not on duty, not working. Now they're tracking you."

Gretchen Whitmer, who was at the center of a failed kidnapping plot, says Trump encourages domestic terrorists by legitimizing their actions

  Gretchen Whitmer, who was at the center of a failed kidnapping plot, says Trump encourages domestic terrorists by legitimizing their actions "When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions," Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer wrote in an op-ed."I'm not going to waste my time arguing with the president. But I will always hold him accountable. Because when our leaders speak, their words carry weight," she said.

Two of those charged in the alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap Michigan Gov . Gretchen Whitmer are former Marines, the Corps said. The alleged scheme included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects "believe are violating the US Constitution," according to

A plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and put her “on trial” was foiled by undercover agents and informants, the FBI said. File photo of Governor Gretchen Whitmer who was the target of a 'militia' kidnapping plot - Copyright AP Photo. Share this article.

However, police have been good at identifying the threats in real time and neutralizing them, Stevenson said.

"When I was a police officer and working undercover in narcotics, I got notified by the FBI that there was a contract out on me by people I had arrested."

But the threat presented by anti-government groups is very real and a little bit different because of its scope, its impersonal and may involve people trained in weapons use.

"I've never seen any training, where it's a right extremist group, and they're not going to target law enforcement," Stevenson said. "In our training, we view all extremist groups as dangerous. A (2010) case involving the Hutaree militia, they planned to kill police and attack officers at the funerals. We're not under the illusion that because someone's politics are left or right that they're not dangerous."

Living in a free society comes with freedoms and increased opportunity to do harm, he said.

Not a 'hoax'

Javed Ali, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Trump administration and now teaching at the University of Michigan in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, said the fact set related to the Whitmer kidnapping case is "brazen."

"According to the affidavit, they went from being a law-abiding group of gun owners and forming a local militia to beliefs that switched to something more dangerous and sinister," Ali told the Free Press. "Officer safety is absolutely a consideration. By trying to collect (home) addresses for individual law enforcement, it appears they were trying to prepare 'targeting packages' on those officers.'"

8th man arrested in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor

  8th man arrested in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor An eighth individual has been arrested and charged for his alleged role in the foiled attempt to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities said Thursday. © Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears a mask with the word "vote" displayed on the front during a roundtable discussion on healthcare, Oct. 7, 2020, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, has been charged with material support of an act of terrorism, a felony that carries up to a 20-year sentence.

Denzil Meyers standing in front of a building: Javed Ali, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, is pictured here about the enter the West Wing of the White House in March 2018. He is now teaching at the University of Michigan in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. © Javed Ali Javed Ali, a former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, is pictured here about the enter the West Wing of the White House in March 2018. He is now teaching at the University of Michigan in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Using encrypted communications, weapons training, building explosives and surveilling the governor's second residence suggests "this was a sophisticated terrorist plot like I would see in my government career on the international side," Ali said. "This wasn't a hoax."

As someone with two decades of experience with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, Ali said, "I reject the notion of anyone suggesting this was a political stunt or wasn't serious."

Two of the 13 men charged in the Michigan attack plot served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Daniel Harris of Lake Orion, one of the six men facing federal kidnapping charges, was a rifleman, serving from 2014 until last year, according to his military file, the AP reported. He attained the rank of corporal E-4 in 2019 and his final duty assignment was at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the AP

More: Read the FBI affidavit in the militia plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer

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More: These 13 men were charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer: Here's what we know

Joseph Morrison, 26, of Munith is one of seven men charged under Michigan's anti-terrorism law for allegedly planning to storm the Capitol and ignite a "civil war."

'They're amateurs': Feds say plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was dangerous, poorly planned

  'They're amateurs': Feds say plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was dangerous, poorly planned U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens agreed the government had probable cause to charge the six defendants, despite objections by defense lawyers.This is what the prosecution argued in court Friday in convincing a judge to order six men to stand trial on charges they plotted for months to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because they were angry over her lockdown order.

Morrison was a lance corporal and served in the Marine Corps Reserve from 2015 until Thursday, the day he was arraigned on state charges, AP reported. His last assignment was with the 4th Marine Logistics Group in Battle Creek.

'Seeing ghosts'

Ex-FBI Agent Andy Arena, who worked all over the country before finishing his career in Detroit, has had protective detail on his house because of personal threats. He said people can't fathom the conspiracy theories involved with these types of groups.

"These people see ghosts everywhere in the shadows. And they go to social media sites that support their theories and drive their anger. Mistrust in law enforcement is a big part of that anger and mistrust."

He cited a previous case involving a group in Michigan and said, "They believed FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was a group run by the United Nations and they were going to put everyone in concentration camps — old auto plants would be the concentration camps. How can any rational person believe this? Yet they stoke it in one another."

While police officers, state troopers and federal agents may be targeted, sheriffs and sheriff's deputies are less often the focus of anger from anti-government groups because a sheriff is elected by voters while others law enforcement officials are appointed.

In Michigan, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf protested publicly against Whitmer's stay-home orders as the coronavirus spiked, standing on a stage beside at least one defendant in the case, William Null, 38, of Shelbyville.

a group of people standing in front of a building: In a May 18, 2020 file photo, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, right, speaks next to members of the Michigan Liberty Militia during the © Cory Morse, Grand Rapids Press, Mlive.com via AP In a May 18, 2020 file photo, Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf, right, speaks next to members of the Michigan Liberty Militia during the "American Patriot Rally-Sheriffs speak out" event at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. The crowd was protesting against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order.

'Extreme concern'

Immediately after law enforcement announced the arrests, Leaf generated "extreme concern" among his law enforcement peers after he went on TV and made remarks perceived to diminish the merit of the federal case and possibly justify actions on the part of the accused.

How FBI says Michigan gov kidnapping plot went from texts, small gatherings to raid

  How FBI says Michigan gov kidnapping plot went from texts, small gatherings to raid 14 men are accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI revealed the men’s alleged paramilitary operation earlier this month, which included sinister plots to execute government officials, storm the capitol building with explosives and send bombs codenamed “cupcakes.

Leaf told Fox 17 in Grand Rapids on Thursday, "It’s just a charge, and they say a 'plot to kidnap' and you got to remember that. Are they trying to kidnap? Because a lot of people are angry with the governor, and they want her arrested. So are they trying to arrest or was it a kidnap attempt? Because you can still in Michigan, if it's a felony, make a felony arrest."

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Then he cited a state statute. The video went viral.

a group of people holding wine glasses: William Null, right, stands in the gallery of the Michigan Senate Chamber during the American Patriot Rally, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, to demand the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on April 30, 2020. Others are unidentified. - Thirteen men, including members of two right-wing militias, have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and © JEFF KOWALSKY, AFP via Getty Images William Null, right, stands in the gallery of the Michigan Senate Chamber during the American Patriot Rally, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, to demand the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, on April 30, 2020. Others are unidentified. - Thirteen men, including members of two right-wing militias, have been arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and "instigate a civil war", Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on October 8, 2020. The Nulls were charged for their alleged roles in the plot to kidnap Whitmer, according to the FBI. The brothers are charged with providing support for terroristic acts and felony weapons charges.

The action outraged a number of sheriffs statewide.

"I don't know how anybody with any time in law enforcement who could try to justify the plot these men are accused of," Matt Saxton, former sheriff of Calhoun County and now executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association, told the Free Press.

"I've been contacted by sheriffs in the state concerned about the response of one sheriff. The Michigan Sheriffs' Association does not in any way, shape or form support that sheriff's views or comments. It's, quite frankly, disheartening a sheriff would respond that way to this incident.

"All people are innocent until proven guilty. But it greatly concerns me that an individual sheriff would believe that anything about this incident could be misconstrued as legal action by those arrested."

a man wearing a suit and tie: Matt Saxton, former sheriff of Calhoun County and now executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association, said the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has law enforcement officials concerned. © Matt Saxton Matt Saxton, former sheriff of Calhoun County and now executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association, said the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has law enforcement officials concerned.

He added, "There's no way a sheriff should be able to explain the actions of those that are alleged to have attempted this crime as being legal in any way, shape or form."

The concern among many sheriffs is that Leaf is making comments that reflect badly on 82 other sheriffs in Michigan, Saxton said.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel wanted to leave no doubt on the controversial TV segment. She retweeted it on Friday and wrote, "As Michigan’s top law enforcement official, let me make this abundantly clear - Persons who are not sworn, licensed members of a law enforcement agency cannot and should not 'arrest' government officials with whom they have disagreements. These comments are dangerous."

Leaf, a Republican from Hastings, is running for re-election on Nov. 3 unopposed. He has been sheriff of that southwestern Michigan county since 2004, according to WWMT in Kalamazoo.

Follow Phoebe Wall Howard on Twitter @phoebesaid.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: One piece of alleged extremist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer included a 'plan to target and kill police'

How FBI says Michigan gov kidnapping plot went from texts, small gatherings to raid .
14 men are accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The FBI revealed the men’s alleged paramilitary operation earlier this month, which included sinister plots to execute government officials, storm the capitol building with explosives and send bombs codenamed “cupcakes.

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