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Alleged bomb-maker told FBI he wasn't violent

Friday - 12/20/2013, 8:10pm  ET

AMY FORLITI
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A Minnesota militia member charged in what the FBI once called a "terror plot" to blow up the Montevideo police station allegedly told authorities in May that even though he had bombs, he was not a violent person and was using the Internet to investigate bad and dangerous people, according to a document unsealed Friday.

The document also suggests a possible link between Buford Rogers and another Minnesota militia member arrested last week.

Rogers, 25, of Montevideo, is scheduled to go on trial next month. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and counts related to the possession of two Molotov cocktails, two "black powder nail devices" and a pipe bomb. He is not charged with terrorism.

Rogers made the comments during a May 3 interview with the FBI, according to a redacted transcript of that interview unsealed Friday after a request from the Star Tribune. Rogers' attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Andrew Mohring, had resisted the document's release. Mohring did not return a message seeking comment.

Authorities have said Rogers was part of a tiny militia plotting to blow up the Montevideo police station and raid a National Guard armory. At the time of his arrest, FBI officials said they believed they stopped an attack in its planning stages.

In the interview, Rogers told the FBI he was not aware of anyone planning an attack, but said he was trying to investigate groups he considered dangerous. He also said: "I'm not a bomb guy," but talked of making bombs and admitted owning some bomb-making materials.

At one point during the interview, FBI Special Agent Shane Ball noted Rogers was potentially planning an operation, had bombs, and had connections to a Russian group -- which Rogers had said he communicated with online about starting a unit in Minnesota. Rogers acknowledged the situation looked bad.

Rogers told Ball he was not violent, and he expressed anger at dangerous militia groups, whom he called terrorists. He said he was mad at the people who carried out bombings at the Boston Marathon in April and in Oklahoma City in 1995. He said he formed his militia to "do good, not harm people," the transcript said.

Rogers also told Ball he used a Facebook account under the name Davd Black to "check on people" and find "snakes in the grass," the transcript said.

Rogers also talked about other people he associated with through his militia, including a man named Keith, whom he described as an intelligence officer who used to work with the Army but is now with the National Guard.

Last week, authorities arrested Keith Novak, whose first name and career match the description of the man Rogers spoke about. Novak, 25, of Maplewood, is charged with fraud in connection with identity theft for allegedly stealing the personal information of members of his former Army unit to make fake IDs for people in his own militia.

Authorities say Novak is the self-described commander of a group called the 44th Spatha Libertas.

Authorities have said Rogers and a handful of family members are in a group they call the Black Snake Militia. The family members have been public about their anti-government beliefs.

Novak's defense attorney did not return a phone message Friday.

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