MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — A Minnesota National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran charged with fraud for allegedly stealing personal information of roughly 400 members of his former Army unit was likely responsible for analyzing the military’s enemy intelligence.
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.READ MORE: Clean Car Debate At Minnesota Capitol May Lead To Summer Closures Of State Parks, Trails
Web Extra: Read the criminal complaint.
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.
Donnie Ferguson, Novak’s landlord, said he was shocked to see the man he described as friendly and personable being taken out of his apartment in handcuffs.
“We were really surprised when the FBI showed up,” he said. “He was just calm and collected; he didn’t put up a fight or anything.”
Suzanne Fackler, a neighbor of Novak’s father, said Thursday that Novak and his dad moved into her neighborhood in Wayzata in 2006, when Novak was 17, but that the younger Novak hadn’t lived there recently.
She said she got to know Keith Novak when he walked the dog. She last saw him in the summer of 2012, when he was running and carrying a heavy backpack that he told her weighed anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds.
“He was jogging with the dog, and he was doing it every day just to keep in shape,” she said. “He’s a good kid … a friendly guy.”
She said she was completely surprised by the allegations, adding: “It knocked me off my feet.”
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.
When Novak was in the Army, he would have been responsible for giving military personnel information about enemy strengths and weaknesses, and potential battle areas. Other duties typically include assessing incoming information and preparing maps, charts and intelligence reports, according to a job description on the Army’s website.READ MORE: Marietta's Salt Lake Is A Paradise For Birds And Bird Watchers
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.
Novak’s Facebook page features a picture of him saluting a Confederate flag and says he is a member of the Modern American Revolution, a self-described anti-government group.
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.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: Gov. Walz To Announce On Thursday His Timeline To End All Restrictions
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