Georgia terror suspects allegedly inspired by online novel
This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.
Federal officials say that the four Georgia militia members who were arrested this week for allegedly plotting a violent terror attack were inspired by a novel their ringleader read on the Internet.
Now attention is turning to the author of that novel, Mike Vanderboegh, a blogger and former militia member from Pinson, Ala., who is no stranger to controversy.
The Associated Press reports that terror suspect Frederick Thomas, 73, was moved by Vanderboegh's novel, "Absolved," about a violent conflagration between militia members and the government.
In his introduction to the book, Vanderboegh describes it as a "useful dire warning," a book that is "as much a cautionary tale for the out-of-control gun cops of the ATF as anyone. For that warning to be credible, I must also present what amounts to a combination field manual, technical manual and call to arms for my beloved gunnies of the armed citizenry. They need to know how powerful they could truly be if they were pushed into a corner."
Vanderboegh told Fox News that his work had been misinterpreted, and had harsh words for the suspects, whose plot allegedly included targeting federal workers and buildings and blowing the deadly toxin ricin out of a moving car on the freeway.
"What kind of moron uses the phrase 'save the Constitution' and then goes out to try and distribute ricin?" Vanderboegh told the news channel. "This has got to be the Alzheimer's gang. What political point is made there? I don't understand what was going on in the minds of these Georgia idiots."
During protests over federal healthcare reform legislation, Vanderboegh suggested throwing bricks through the windows of Democratic Party headquarters. The AP notes that a number of such incidents occurred.
The liberal group Media Matters for America, a frequent critic of Fox News, alleges that the channel has "mainstreamed" Vanderboegh by "treating him as an expert on the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives'] Operation Fast and Furious, featuring him in cable and online reports and identifying him as an 'online journalist' and an 'authority on the Fast and Furious investigation.'"
"Fast and Furious" was the federal operation in which ATF lost track of hundreds of firearms in Mexico, some of which have been linked to crimes by Mexican drug cartels.
Media Matters notes that Fox "has not acknowledged Vanderboegh's extremist views, action and affiliations."
[For the Record, 10:56 a.m., Nov. 3: An earlier version of this post misidentified Mike Vanderboegh as a Fox News "commentator." Vanderboegh has been interviewed for Fox News stories, but is not affiliated with the news network.]
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: Ray Adams, left, and Samuel Crump are shown in this artist's rendering as they appear in a federal courtroom in Gainesville, Ga., on Wednesday. The men and two others are accused of planning a terrorist attack. Credit: Richard Miller / Associated Press