Oregon Militiamen Deny Accessing Govt Computers At Refuge

AP

Reporters from Oregon Public Broadcasting witnessed the militiamen currently occupying a federally owned wildlife refuge in rural Oregon using government computers and rifling through office papers, according to a Friday report. Militia leader Ryan Bundy denied to OPB that the group had accessed government information or used the computers, despite the reporters’ eyewitness accounts.

“No, we haven’t touched a single personal item. We haven’t touched any of the computers, we haven’t tried to log on—we haven’t done anything. We’re not here to hurt people,” Bundy told OPB reporter John Sepulvado. “Not even the people who work here.”

While on a tour of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center, which the small group of militiamen has occupied since Jan. 2, Sepulvado saw militants interacting with computers in the compounds’ office. The computers can only be accessed with employee ID badges. Lists of names and Social Security numbers, as well as government employee ID cards, were reportedly lying next to the computers.

Given that local law enforcement officials, including Harney County Sheriff David Ward, have received death threats and been followed home in the days since the takeover began, the OPB’s reports raised concerns about the safety of the refuge’s employees.

The FBI declined to comment to the radio station but confirmed that they are looking into whether the militants have accessed government computers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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