FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Burns, Oregon Armory

An Oregon fire chief abruptly quit his job Wednesday after learning that FBI agents were posing as militia members at an armory in Burns, the scene of a weeks-long standoff between the federal government and members of the Bundy family and their supporters.

Chris Briels, fire chief in Harney County, told reporters that he was alerted by a friend of suspicious activity at the local armory. The friend believed “cohorts” of the chief, who were turned into the police twice already, were behind the odd goings-on.

Chris Briels and Ammon Bundy

Chris Briels and Ammon Bundy

Chief Briels followed two men from the armory and confronted them, who gave an evasive explanation of what they were doing in Burns. They also denied at first that they were at the armory.

Chief Briels then ran their license plate number. It came back as registered to undercover FBI agents.

Chief Briels showed the disturbing find to Judge Steve Grasty, who bluntly told him to back off.

“Mr. Grasty told me today that I’m the one who’s causing the fear,” Chief Briels said. “That I have no right to question anybody about what anybody’s doing in our armory. And that I have no right to follow anybody and question anybody.”

Judge Steven Grasty

Judge Steven Grasty

“This is absolutely appalling to me,” Chief Briels said, adding that he would “not stick my head in the sand.”

Briels was fire chief for the city of Burns since 1984. He retired and became the Harney County fire chief in 2010.

Briels is also a member of the Community Committee for Public Safety, which is a local group that’s expressed interest in taking over for the Bundy protesters to work to reclaim local rancher’s land rights when and if they leave. That standoff began on January 2 and has no sign of ending.

“I’ve been told by Steve to distance myself from this committee of public safety. I’ve been told that we don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve been told that my life is in danger. I’ve been told all kinds of things. I will not be told what to do,” Briels said. “I have my own mind, and I will use my own mind, not somebody else’s.”


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