Ammon Bundy, the mastermind of the takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, has begun an open dialogue with the FBI.
According to a report from Oregon Public Broadcasting, Bundy traveled to a nearby airport Thursday to speak via telephone with an FBI mediator.Other agents were standing by, however. It is the first sign in nearly three weeks that the standoff may have an end in sight. The phone conversation came after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) admonished the feds for not doing more to remove Bundy and his militiamen from the refuge.
According to OPB, Bundy told the FBI that he still held out hope that the end of the standoff could be brought about without violence.
“The only ones that are going to make this a non-peaceful event will be you guys — the FBI or other law enforcement,” Bundy said, according to the OPB report.
Bundy was not alone Thursday. He brought along Brian Cavalier, his so-called body guard who goes by the nickname “fluffy unicorn.” Cavalier was present at the refuge in the early days of the standoff, but he was arrested in Arizona last week for an outstanding warrant. Apparently he has returned to Oregon.
Both the FBI mediator and Bundy agreed to talk again on Friday. The negotiator told Bundy that he wanted to “keep the dialogue going,” according to OPB. Bundy told the FBI that the Constitution might offer the solution for the conflict. And before Bundy hung up he asked the FBI agent he was speaking to if he happened to be a member of the Mormon church. The man on the other line of the phone said he was not. Bundy said he asked because he thought the FBI might be connecting him with someone he might share a faith with in an attempt to build trust quicker.