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Minnesota guardsman accused of stealing military IDs

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 8:32 am

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota National Guardsman faces federal fraud charges in connection with the theft of names, Social Security numbers and security clearance levels of roughly 400 members of his former Army unit in Fort Bragg, N.C. The Iraq War veteran intended to use the confidential material to create fake IDs for his militia, court documents say.

Obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the federal complaint and affidavit says Keith Michael Novak, 25, threatened to use violence if authorities came to arrest him. He also told an undercover FBI employee that he would barricade himself in his apartment and had "5,000 rounds, a thousand of it is in magazines, ready to go," according to the affidavit.

Novak, of Maplewood, was in federal custody Wednesday and unavailable for comment. His father has an unlisted number, and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. The federal defender's office has the case, but an attorney had not been selected to represent him by Wednesday evening.

Novak served as an active-duty soldier and intelligence analyst with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg from Feb. 26, 2009, to Sept. 3, 2012, and served in Iraq in 2010. He is currently a human intelligence analyst with the Minnesota National Guard.

In late January, he went to a training camp in Utah and met two undercover FBI employees who posed as members of a Utah-based militia, according to the affidavit. Novak told the undercover employees that he took classified materials from Fort Bragg and would share the materials with them, the document said.

In July, the undercover employees came to Minnesota, where Novak gave them an electronic copy of classified documents and taught them how to encrypt files, the affidavit said. He also said that he had a personnel roster — including names, birthdates and Social Security numbers — of a "Battalion's-worth of people" from his former unit.

The undercover employees said they knew someone who could make fake IDs, which Novak said he needed for his militia. Novak sent the information for 44 individuals to an undercover FBI employee on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 25, he accepted $2,000 and said he had additional pages to sell, according to the affidavit.

Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said Wednesday that the guard is aware of the charges and cooperating with the FBI investigation. Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne Division, said Wednesday the unit will work with the appropriate authorities.

Novak's militia activities are also detailed in the affidavit, including a military-style field training exercise that took place in September in rural Minnesota.

The affidavit alleged Novak stole six flak vests from the 82nd Airborne Division when unit members left them unattended. Novak had also previously given 10 flak jackets to members of his militia, the affidavit said. Novak also told the man who saw the vests in a storage unit that he had camouflage netting and riot gear and intended to start burying caches of equipment.

The complaint and affidavit were initially sealed because Novak had made several statements that suggest he might flee or resort to violence.

Novak told an undercover employee that he sleeps with guns and was ready to shoot through the wall, the affidavit said, and has weapons hidden throughout the state.

"I've my AK in my bed. If I hear that door kick, it's going boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I'm just going to start putting them through the (expletive) wall," he told an undercover FBI employee in July, according to the affidavit.