Minnesota National Guardsman Keith Michael Novak.
Susan Hogan, AP/Sherburne County Sheriff
Minnesota Guardsman held on ID theft charges
- Article by: RANDY FURST and PAM LOUWAGIE
- Star Tribune
- December 16, 2013 - 9:15 PM
Disturbing new information was offered Monday at a court hearing for a self-described militia leader and Minnesota National Guard member accused of stealing private identification data from the Army and selling it to undercover FBI agents.
Keith Novak talked of blowing up a National Security Agency training facility, FBI special agent Christopher Crowe testified in U.S. District Court. No details were given.
He also told undercover officers that he had a secret document he had stolen from Fort Bragg, N.C., while he was on active duty.
Crowe said that Novak, 25, of Maplewood, was a self-described commander of the militia group called 44th Spatha Libertas or “Sword of Freedom.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel ruled that Novak was a flight risk and should continue to be held, and that the case should be forwarded to a grand jury.
According to an FBI affidavit, Novak offered undercover agents some training on intelligence-related tasks including the creation of “target packages.” One subject of such a package was Warren Buffett, Crowe testified.
No explanation was given for what a “target package” is.
Crowe said Novak attempted to resist arrest and was carrying a loaded semi-automatic pistol when he was arrested, although there was no round in the chamber.
Police seized six other guns and found more than 5,000 rounds in Novak’s house.
Noel cited Novak’s resistance and his remarks to undercover agents, mentioned in an earlier FBI affidavit, that he would shoot and kill anyone who tried to arrest him as reasons that there was a high probability that Novak would flee.
Novak was charged last week with committing fraud in connection with stealing names, Social Security numbers and security clearance information from 400 members of his former Army unit in Fort Bragg. According to the complaint, Novak stole the information so that he could make fake IDs for his militia members.
Novak joined the Minnesota National Guard in September 2012 after transferring from active duty. He currently is an intelligence analyst with the Guard’s Bloomington-based A Company, 1st Armored Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
Two men who served with Novak in the 82nd Airborne Division said Novak is smart and opinionated.
“He could talk about just about any subject very intelligently,” according to one unit member who did not want to be identified.
Once the unit got back from Iraq, Novak became more outspoken about his political views and would get “riled up,” the man said.
Novak was a bit of a conspiracy theorist, the man said. He would accuse the president or Congress members of treasonous activity, saying someone needed to march in and arrest them all, for instance.
His buddies thought he was going “a little overboard” and suggested he tone it down, the man said. But they never felt Novak would be violent.
Now many in the unit are wondering if their identities are among those prosecutors say Novak stole.
“He had information on all of us,” said Paul Anthony Oddo Jr., who also served with Novak. “I just wouldn’t think he was like that … but then again you never know anybody.”
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