The leader of a small, armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon said Monday he and his followers are going through government documents stored inside refuge buildings.
Ammon Bundy told reporters the documents will be used to “expose” how the government has discriminated against local ranchers who use federal land for cattle grazing.
Bundy said the documents would also help secure the release of Steven and Dwight Hammond, two area ranchers convicted of arson who returned to prison last week to serve longer sentences. The Hammonds’ case set off the occupation of the Burns-area refuge on Jan. 2.
Bundy said his group is not accessing government computers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, including personnel files.
After the news conference, the group drove in a convoy to a ranch near the refuge and tore down a stretch of government-erected fence. The goal, according to the armed men, was to give the rancher access to the range that had been blocked for years. It’s not clear where the fence was located or which rancher sought the group’s help.
The refuge is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Spokesman Jason Holm said because the documents and files at the refuge may have personally identifiable information, the agency “is taking necessary steps to ensure employee and family safety.”
The agency strongly condemned the destruction of the fence and said the action undermines hard-earned conservation impacts achieved in the area.
“Removing fences, damaging any Refuge property, or unauthorized use of equipment would be additional unlawful actions by the illegal occupiers,” Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. “Any movement of cattle onto the Refuge or other activities that are not specifically authorized by USFWS constitutes trespassing.”
Sixteen full time employees and one part time employee usually work at the refuge, Holm said. Some who can’t work away from the refuge have taken administrative leave, while others are working from home or another office.
In Burns, about 30 miles from the refuge, schools reopened after being canceled for a week over safety concerns due to the refuge standoff.
Government offices in the area remained closed, including those of the Bureau of Land Management. BLM spokesman Randy Eardley said about 60 BLM employees were working from home.
“There is a very clear threat to BLM employees,” Eardley said, but he did not cite any specific threats.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said at a community meeting Monday night that members of the armed group have been harassing law enforcement officers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees as they go about their business in the community.
He said officers and employees have reported being followed to their homes and observed while inside and that self-identified “militia members” have tried to engage them in debates about their status as federal employees.
Ward said law enforcement at every level “will not be intimidated from doing their jobs.”
Ward told community members, “there’s an hour glass and it’s running out,” The Oregonian reported ( http://goo.gl/CZFaWR ).
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials are monitoring the occupation but have not taken any action.
The county sheriff and many locals have asked that Bundy and his group leave. But Bundy says he is not ready to go.
Ammon Bundy called his group’s occupation of the refuge “peaceful” and said the armed men would not leave until the Hammonds are out of prison and abuses against ranchers are exposed. Bundy called the occupation a “moral and righteous stand for the future of this country.”
A man representing hunters and anglers, who arrived in Oregon from New Mexico this weekend, condemned the Bundy group at the earlier news conference.
“What I see is a lunatic fringe of extremists who have taken my land over,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation executive director Garrett VeneKlasen. The group represents sportsmen, including hunters and anglers.
Ammon Bundy is a son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who was at the center of a tense standoff with federal officials in 2014 over unpaid grazing fees.
9 thoughts on “Armed Group Says It Has Accessed Government Files at Refuge”
They found documents at a wildlife refuge center that’s going to blow the lid off this whole thing? Really?!!!! They store Intel at a measly refuge? Wake up and smell the bullsh!t in the air. It’s a orchestrated event.
“Bundy said his group is not accessing government computers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, including personnel files.”
Why not? Am I supposed to believe that these guys are there to fight for our rights and they’re afraid of being arrested?
For their next act they’re going to designate the wildlife center their “safe space”, and hold up signs saying “White Lives Matter”.
“A man representing hunters and anglers, who arrived in Oregon from New Mexico this weekend, condemned the Bundy group at the earlier news conference.
“What I see is a lunatic fringe of extremists who have taken my land over,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation executive director Garrett VeneKlasen. The group represents sportsmen, including hunters and anglers.”
So now the New Mexico Wildlife Federation owns the land?
yeah I like how he said “My land” as he feels he owns it
well buddy .. we all as American Nationals collectively own it .. so.. so much for your MY LAND crap
really if he were smart (lol yeah right) if he were smart he would STFU and just keep signing his paycheck..he can be just like all the EBT crowd ..do nothing for something
” Armed group”. I’m surprised they didn’t refer to them as “militants”. Another player thrown into the mix from New Mexico. Those boys should be home securing their own. WTF? They have “taken my land over.” Where’s this Garrett VeneKlasen coming from. Hands off, bitch. It belongs to all of us.
…..the action undermines hard-earned conservation impacts achieved in the area. What a load of Shit!!!
“Ammon Bundy called his group’s occupation of the refuge “peaceful” and said the armed men would not leave until the Hammonds are out of prison and abuses against ranchers are exposed.”
So, by inference, the rest of us can go suck an egg?
“Bundy called the occupation a “moral and righteous stand for the future of this country.”
He means the future of the Masons in this country.
Bundy can go smoke a turd as far as I’m concerned. “Man with no arms shot for refusing to put hands up.”
In other words, man with no legs to stand on forgot his brain at home. “Yep Uncle Cliven, I’ll die for your right to exploit everyone’s patriotism so you get rich.”