Militia leader from Maplewood pleads guilty to Fort Bragg ID theft

  • Article by: RANDY FURST , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 15, 2014 - 9:49 PM

Keith Novak of Maplewood sold personnel information of Army service members to an FBI undercover employee.

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Keith Michael Novak.

Photo: Sherburne County Sheriff, AP/Sherburne County Sheriff

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A Minnesota National Guard member linked to ­militia groups has pleaded guilty to identity theft, but the U.S. attorney’s office will not charge him with leaking classified information under terms of a plea agreement.

Keith Novak of Maplewood could be sentenced to three to four years in prison, if prosecutors prevail in their recommendation based on sentencing guidelines, or six months to a year behind bars, under the interpretation of guidelines and recommendation by his defense attorneys. He could also face a fine ranging from $2,000 to $75,000.

No sentencing date has been set for Novak, who remains in custody.

The plea agreement, spelled out in a nine-page memorandum, indicates the FBI was watching Novak closely, and that he supplied personal information on 98 service members to undercover FBI employees between July and November 2013.

Novak gave the information to the undercover operatives knowing it “would be used unlawfully to create false identification documents for individuals not known to him,” court documents say. He also accepted $2,000 on Nov. 4, and another $2,000 on Dec. 11 from undercover FBI employees in exchange for the information.

Novak was on active duty from 2009 to September 2012 in the U.S. Army, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he had access to personnel rosters that contained personal information, including names, Social Security numbers and security clearances.

Before leaving active duty, he obtained a personnel roster and took it with him when he moved to Minnesota. The documents included information on about 400 service members.

Novak, who was 25 at the time of his arrest in December, admitted to — but will not be prosecuted for — transferring a document to an FBI undercover employee on July 23, 2013, that he believed contained classified information, the plea agreement states.

There was no mention in the agreement of testimony in court by an FBI agent who said that Novak belonged to the 44th Spatha Libertas or “Sword of Freedom” militia and had discussed bombing a National Security Agency in Utah. He was never charged regarding those allegations.

Novak also appeared to have had some contacts with Buford “Bucky” Rogers, a member of a small family group called the Black Snake Militia who is awaiting sentencing on illegal weapons charges.

Novak was described in court documents as a “Human Intelligence Collector” for the Minnesota Army National Guard and an “intelligence analyst” in the Army.

 

Randy Furst • 612-673-4224

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