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April 25, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: FBI Informant Tells All – Part 3

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We last left Bill Fulton working undercover for the FBI. After he was asked to make contact with militia leader Schaeffer Cox, now convicted on weapons charges and conspiracy to commit murder, Fulton recalled a disturbing meeting. He was in Fairbanks, attending a sale and fundraising event hosted by his own Anchorage military supply store and security company Drop Zone, and held at Far North Tactical, a similar store in Fairbanks, owned by his friend Aaron Bennett who had his own militia group in the area. Fulton’s initial conversation with Cox led him to believe that Cox had “gone crazy.” Fulton said Cox had gotten crossways with the law and the court system, and asked him to serve common law warrants to Fairbanks judges through his security company. Fulton said Cox intended to fine, or kill them and their families. Fulton became alarmed, and warned his friend Aaron Bennett, at the time a supporter of Cox.

Although Drop Zone is no longer in business, (it’s former building is now a high-end cheese shop), here is a 10-minute YouTube ad for Far North Tactical.

Fulton’s meeting with Cox, militia leaders, and members of the IACC (Interior Alaska Conservative Coalition) the following day, was one of the more memorable moments at the militia trial. Members of Cox’s Alaska Peacemakers Militia recounted the story on the stand with horror, testifying that Fulton had threatened to slit the throat of Cox’s second in command, Les Zerbe. The incident was used to discredit the FBI, demonstrate the overreach of the federal investigation, and call into question Fulton’s actions as an informant.

The story was recounted to me by Fulton from his undisclosed location outside Alaska. It was a tense meeting, Fulton said, in which he felt that his role as an informant came dangerously close to being compromised, and at which he feared for his life.

You can read the first two parts of my interview with Fulton HERE and HERE.

Fulton:
So, we get through this sale thing, and I find out about the IACC (Interior Alaska Conservative Coalition). I’d never heard of it before, because I was a “Republican” but I wasn’t. (laughs) So, I didn’t even know they existed until that day. And so we had this meeting. And I walk in and they’ve got a bug detector out, which I think Aaron bought from me at my shop, and they had a wand and all this stuff… but everybody’s got guns!

And I remember thinking as I got up to the door, “Wow. So we’re going to wand people, but everybody’s got sidearms and beer. I’m sure we’re all safe now.”

So all these guys start filing in – a bunch of leaders from local militias up there, the leadership from the IACC, the leadership from the Second Amendment Task Force, Aaron Bennett and his second-in-command guy.

And then Les Zerbe shows up. And all these people are there, waiting for Schaeffer. But Les shows up alone and says, “Well, Schaeffer’s with his lawyer trying to figure some things out.”

And I’m like, “Why would he be with his lawyer after the conversation we just had last night. What’s going on here?”

About an hour and half later Schaeffer shows up, and he starts going in to this Schaeffer “Look at me!” speech to a bunch of people who really don’t need it. I mean, these guys are all deeply right wing. They’ve heard it before, do you know what I mean?

Devon:
Preaching to the choir?

Fulton:
And we’ve all been waiting an hour and a half already at this point. Get to the point. We’re all here. And then I think I was the one who was like, “That’s great, but get to the point!” after letting him go on for like 15 or 20 minutes.  “OK, that’s great… but we’re all here to hear what you’re planning.” And then he’s like, “Well, we don’t really have a plan.”

And I’m like, “What the fuck do you mean you don’t have a plan? We just talked about it last night!”  But now, Schaeffer’s doing what he always does, which is get everybody behind him, get them all fired up, and then bring it all down. I mean that’s just his modus operandi.

Devon:
He was kind of like that at other points throughout the trial.

Fulton:
Oh, yeah.

So, at that point, I see an opportunity. Schaeffer right then and there, I know has only got about 20 guys. And I’m probably one of the few people in that room who knows what’s going on. And also I know he’s planning on all these people for support. So, I just go off on him. I’m like, “Listen here, you mother****, you told me you only had 20 guys. You’re telling everybody in this room you’ve got 3500. You’re an f-ing liar. You told me to bring my guys up, I bring my guys up. I have people moving, I have equipment moving, I have money invested in this thing. Don’t you ever call me. If you need me I’ll be there, but you call Aaron Bennett first, and then Aaron can call me… because you’re a piece of shit!”

So, as I’m doing this, a lot of these guys know who I am. They know I do the fugitive recovery, they know about the store,  so they’re real respectful already. So, these guys kind of start backing away from Schaeffer – like physically backing away from him.

I’m like, “OK, this is working out well. And then Les Zerbe opens his mouth. And he starts questioning my loyalties, and I turned around on him and I said, “Are you questioning my integrity?”

And he said, “Yes. “

As soon as he said that, I kind of felt the mood in the room change.

Devon:

I bet.

Fulton:

At this point, I’m scared. I’m in a room full of 20 some odd people with guns, that if they knew why I was there would kill me that very instant. And I’m scared. And I was like, “OK… I have to deal with Les now, or if I don’t, I may not walk out of this room.

So, I turned it around on him.

I never actually had a knife in my hand. I did have a knife on me, in my pocket, but it stayed there the whole time. In the recording it looks like I said that I had the knife in my hand, but it’s the way the attorney asked the question. Because then he asked if I was right handed and what pocket it was in. I put Aaron Bennett between me and Zerbe. I knew Aaron wouldn’t let me kill him in the store, at least I hoped he wouldn’t.

And I was like, “If you ever question my integrity again,” and I was walking towards him as I said it. “I will slit your fucking throat and bleed you out at my feet.” And as this is coming out of my mouth, I’m moving towards him, and Aaron gets between us, and Les slinks back into another room. The conversation is pretty much over, and Les is gone. Like 30 seconds later, he’s gone. I don’t hear about Les again for like a year and a half.

And by the way, Les Zerbe has still not thanked me for him not being in prison. So, should he ever want to, just tell him to call you. And they built this whole thing out of that which… I understand why they did, because they didn’t have much of a defense to begin with. But they kind of built this whole story that Schaeffer was afraid of me and everything else out of that, which is complete crap. At the time, was it the right thing to do? I don’t know but I’m not going to question what I did three years ago in a room full of 20 people that would have killed me if they knew why I was there.

We got the conviction, and Schaeffer is in jail. Obviously I did something right. Is it perfect? No, but nothing like this ever is.

So that was the big incident with the knife, that wasn’t really an incident – or with a knife. Did I threaten to slit Les Zerbe’s throat? Yes, yes I did. Does he owe me a thank you because he’s not in prison? Probably. I don’t think Les sees it that way. Nobody would believe the story if it hadn’t happened in Alaska. Les is kind of one of those characters.

Devon:
He was there at the sentencing.

Fulton:
Oh, yeah. I’m sure he was.

Devon:
So what affect did all of this have on everyone, after the fact?

Fulton:
After the meeting broke up, pretty much all the groups that were there were like, “Screw Schaeffer Cox.”

And again, the FBI didn’t direct me to do that, but I saw an opportunity to do it, and I thought – OK we can shut this guy down now. You know what I mean? There was that opportunity there, so I took it. So, in my debrief, I even told my handler (and this is why Schaeffer’s whole defense that I was threatening him, and I was going to kill him, and I wanted revolution is crap) I told my handler that night after that meeting, “I don’t think we’re going to have another problem with Schaeffer Cox. I think he’s done. His supporters are gone. Everybody who supported him thinks he’s a piece of crap now.”

I literally said to my handler, “I cut the guys balls off I don’t see us having an issue with him,” at least not on that scale again. And I thought I was done. I went back to Anchorage thinking, “You know what? Schaeffer Cox problem – solved.  BecauseI knew Schaeffer got his power off of other people kind of adoring him, and I thought I’d removed that. And I went back very happy, thinking I’d never have to deal with Mr. Schaeffer Cox again.

Little did I know that Mr. Cox had other plans.

Comments

comments

Comments
30 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: FBI Informant Tells All – Part 3”
  1. Skeptic says:

    This is the most ridiculous story I have seen. This is an amateur make a grasp for some sort of fame or media attention. Bill Fulton was either directly involved and chickened out, or he helped make this story and case up. There was no plan, any one who attended any of those meetings know there was no plan. Your actions were ridiculous and that fact that you felt you had to threaten someone with a knife, regardless of your version, to protect yourself is also a made up fantasy. No one there was going to kill you. You were unprofessional at the least and helped to make up a case that hurt this community. There was never any plot to kill officials or police officers unless they, the officials, were actively gunning down members. Therefore unless that happened, which is one in a billion, nothing would have happened. You claim your statements and actions have been misconstrued, however that is exactly what you did to Schaeffer to get him convicted. If he was convicted on his statements, which were misunderstood, then why shouldn’t you?

  2. DanInAnc says:

    I think there is a bit of revisionist history going on in this three part series, and we should be careful about accepting it all at face value. In part 2, Fulton describes himself as a patriot and pro-establishment guy, and the militia types just assumed that he was one of them because of the equipment he sold. This is easy enough to accept for somebody who wasn’t around Anchorage in those days, but for those of us who were around we observed Fulton verbally accosting liberal demonstrators, calling them names like socialist. And we saw the posters he had on the outside of his store labeling Obama a Fascist. We heard stories about what it was like inside that store.

    Good on Bill for deciding to turn state’s evidence when things got hot, but he has a bit of a credibility problem. I could believe that the whole thing was a big trap. He was acting like an right wing nut-job this whole time as part of the con. But, he’s not telling us that. He’s telling us that this all fell in his lap, despite being a good obedient liberalish business-owner. That story is totally inconsistent with how he actually comported himself back in those days.

    • Bill Fulton says:

      Nice try but no sauce

      I am not a liberal never said I was, I think of my self as an independent, I didn’t “turn states evidence” I was involved with the “state” long before they needed any evidence at all ……don’t take my word for it check the trial transcripts, I went to them because it was the right thing to do not because it got to “hot”.

      You “heard stories” about the shop good that was the idea, I tried to make it pretty clear that initially we made al lot of our political decisions based on how well it would play to our business base not trying to wear a cape and tights. It was later when we started making operational decisions on right wing integration when the posters went up and the only time I can remember confronting anybody was the Glenn beck show I went to with Eddie Burke where I met up with Joe Miller kind of good for me to be a little crazy right wing in that crowd. I’m not trying to rewrite history here just trying to get my side out for the first time.

      I’m sorry you don’t like what I’m saying and it doesn’t fit for your view of what and or who you think I am, but I’m tired of people who weren’t there, and heard from “somebody” or saw “something” thinking they have any idea what there talking about.

      • DanInAnc says:

        And, that’s fair enough. I think that your “operational decisions on right wing integration” were damaging to the community, and I do hold that against you (and the FBI, I suppose). And, I can certainly believe that you “political decisions based on how well it would play to [your] business base”. And, you totally have the right to tell us your story. I’m not saying that any of it is untrue.

        I am saying that you have a bit of credibility problem. Admitting that you previously publicly misrepresented your political views, first to make a profit and then to lure in the crazies doesn’t exactly dissuade me from that opinion. This time we should believe you?

        • Bill Fulton says:

          Dan

          I see what your saying and I can understand your view, but it would have been a lot more damaging to the community if the folks I was reporting on were able to carry out there plans. Its really important that folks understand that Cox and his cronies may have been the ones prosecuted but there was a ton of other people that never got that far due to early intervention by myself and multiple agency’s. I made the best decisions I could at the time there was some unintended blow back, but there is no training course on how to do these things and as a source you operate in an information vacuum where you don’t know whats going on and you have to deal with a lot of things and only get direction after the event or action not before.

          I know this sounds like an excuse and in a way it is.

          I did what I did and I may have hurt some feelings along the way but we live in a very scary world where bad people are trying to kill good people my role was then and is now to stop those people before they can act.

          I’m not saying I made the best decisions all the time, I did make the right ones though based on what we were able to accomplish. Looking back I know I could have done better in some instances but hindsight is 20/20. Would I make the same choices today as I did then probably not, we all grow, learn better ways, but we have to start somewhere.

          I’ve looked back in the articles and I don’t see the “historical revision” this is my story told to the best of my ability. I don’t expect you to believe me but I hope you will keep an open mind. I am the first person who was actually involved in all this to tell my side up till now its been people reporting from the outside that have no idea what was going on.

          • DanInAnc says:

            I do keep an open mind and I hope you know that I have great appreciation for the risks you clearly took. I also appreciate your willingness to have a dialogue.

            I do wonder if the investigation caused a general escalation of passions prior to the arrests, and I wonder if that was helpful to us all. But, I still appreciate your service. It is true that Fairbanks is safer for getting Cox et. al. off the street.

            At any rate, there are a number of people I hold in high regard who I don’t exactly trust. When you work for law enforcement, you are automatically attached to a class of professional that we should be very careful of trusting 100%.

            • Bill Fulton says:

              Dan

              Dont ever trust me my job is to gain trust then exploit it good or bad thats what I do. Its nasty, ugly and mean but its necessary.

              As for prior to the arrests I provided more than enough opportunity for them to make other decisions I walked away from Cox at one point and only got back involved when he chose to continue down the path that led him to where he is at now. Like I said in my last post there were many many others where intervention worked and those folks are walking around free today because they chose not to continue there behavior.

              I can understand where you would see the “escalation in passions” but I believe most of that was with uninterested parties (ie not subjects) to this or any-other investigation. I will be the first to admit that it wasn’t as surgical and clean as anybody would have liked but whenever you deal with people you deal with all the experiences, thought processes, and baggage they have……..I don’t really think you can execute anything to perfection when there are so many involved.

              As for the dialogue, thats why I went public (and I’m active on these pages) it wasn’t just to tell my “story”, it was so I could explain it too. I cant really tell the whole thing without being questioned, and being allowed to put my responses out in my own words, and not have them twisted by somebody else,this is (I think) a better way to do it. Also important to remember that although my story is mine “this story” involves a cast of hundreds from the protester at the glenn beck show, to the militia member buying boots in my shop there all part of it and they all saw it a little (or a lot) differently. None of there stories are necessarily false they may just come from a different perspective.

  3. Mo says:

    Why it’s worth keeping tabs on the wingers and their militia fantasies – they’re actually a menace to the rest of us.

    http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2013/02/further-debunking-of-the-good-guys-with-guns-myth.html

    Despite the ubiquitous presence of “good guys” with guns, countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia and Venezuela have some of the highest homicide rates in the world.

    “A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down,” said Rebecca Peters, former director of the International Action Network on Small Arms. “It’s shocking to hear anyone in the United States considering a solution that would make it seem more like Colombia.”

    Scientific studies have consistently found that places with more guns have more violent deaths, both homicides and suicides. Women and children are more likely to die if there’s a gun in the house. The more guns in an area, the higher the local suicide rates. “Generally, if you live in a civilized society, more guns mean more death,” said David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. “There is no evidence that having more guns reduces crime. None at all.”

  4. laurainnocal says:

    Serious overuse of like.

    • Bill Fulton says:

      I will attempt staying away from “like” in my book but, I may not have said that many “likes”. I did ask her to edit it for profanity so who knows

  5. Annoyed... says:

    This has got to be one of the worst states to “hide out in” and yap that endless militia crap and no one cares…
    But the point of organizations of them and meetings and associations ups the threat to the United States…
    I don’t care how you try to explain to me that other than the military where on God’s green earth a militia is required? It does not appear to be working out well in the Middle East so what makes you think it will work here? I am glad we are exposing these bozo’s for their waste of space and air and life with these threat to the United States…trust me when shat hits the fan…we will be able to organize and assemble better than Red Dawn and we certainly don’t need another form of “organized crime”…The more you know…and Bill seems to know more than he would like to – lol – I am sure…but every little bit helps to keep these guys from growing…

  6. Mo says:

    I mean, these guys are all deeply right wing

    Connecting the dots, a new study published in the American Journal of Political Science about those of us genetically predisposed to fear.

    “It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative. People who are scared of novelty, uncertainty, people they don’t know, and things they don’t understand, are more supportive of policies that provide them with a sense of surety and security,” McDermott said.

    The researchers make clear, however, that genetics plays only part of the role in influencing political preferences. Education, they found, had an equally large influence on out-group attitudes, with more highly educated people displaying more supportive attitudes toward out-groups and education having a substantial mediating influence on the correlation between parental fear and child out-group attitudes.”

    Frightened old white men with guns, who don’t want their kids educated in the public school system for fear that they’ll realize grandpa’s an old scaredy-cat.

    Fight vouchers, folks – education is the best weapon for overcoming fear.

    ““In this way, the definition of unfamiliar may shift across time and location based on experience and education, and a genetically informed fear disposition is hardly permanent or fixed,” the researchers wrote.

    McDermott said that while more research is needed to determine how various genetic, biological, and developmental pathways influence fear and what other factors might influence attitudes in concert with these forces, there are still several takeaways to the study, not least of which is how political campaigns might be manipulated to affect some people more than others.

    The study also highlights the role emotion plays in the political process.

    “We can roll our eyes and get really frustrated at Congress for being paralyzed, but we’re applying a rational perspective to it because we’re detached. But we have to recognize that a lot of what’s driving the paralysis and disagreement has to do with emotional factors that are not necessarily amenible to or easily shifted by rational arguments,” McDermott said.”

    Or Like Fulton suggests, join the Red Cross, not some lame militia.

    http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2013/02/fear

  7. William Barham says:

    I have met Bill Fulton and he is nothing more than a braggart,loudmouthed lying provocateur.When we met at an Alaska Citizens Militia meeting in Soldotna in 2010 he basically ended the meeting with his calls for violence. A person who would state ” I will kill anybody,anywhere and anytime for the right amount of money,you people are all talk and no action ” is not representative of the militia movement and is not welcome among our ranks.We are a reactive group to threats whether man made or natural to our respective communities.We are not proactive in any sense of the meaning.People like Bill Fulton and his ilk are self centered,egotistical narcissistic pawns of the mainstream media who are used to discredit the militia movement.

    William Barham
    Soldotna

    • Bill Fulton says:

      Bill

      Nice rant and all but I have that meeting documented so if your going to quote me do it correctly. I was representative and welcome in your ranks up until the time I helped put Schaeffer Cox in prison because he was planning on killing public officials, and the woman and children in there families. I have nothing against “Militia Groups” (I think your a little nuts but hey each to his own), I have a problem with those folks within your ranks that are planning on becoming active rather than reactive(ie McVeigh ask Norm about him I think he remembers the guy).

      Your definition and use of Militia is a little weird you guys should just call yourselves a gun club, If you want to join a real Militia the state has a well regulated one that meets out at Ft. Richardson, where the governor appoints the officers and they answer to him and all….. kind of like what the State and Federal Constitution say its suppose to be like. I think you guys talk about the Constitution a lot you should try to read it once in a while.

      So now I’m a “media pawn” wow read part one of this interview not really a huge fan of the media and defiantly not there pawn, but hey if it makes it easier for you to justify your crazy by labeling me a pawn so be it. “Self centered” come on now man I gave up a successful business, my friends, my financial well being, to make sure that a very bad person didn’t do some very bad things to a bunch of innocent folks that would be the opposite of “self centered”

      Bill you do more to damage your “organization” buy getting on here and making an ass out of yourself than I ever did. Why don’t you guys put the rifles away and volunteer for the Red Cross or do something productive instead of preaching Fear all the time. I understand that fear is a great motivator but you keep unstable people with lots of guns in a constant state of fear for long enough and they will break. Although I don’t think you would ever do anything there are quite a few folks in your organization that are “on the edge”, If I were you I would spend more time working on making sure you don’t stir those guys into a frenzy and less time trying to do organization damage control on the internet.

      • Mo says:

        “you guys should just call yourselves a gun club, If you want to join a real Militia the state has a well regulated one that meets out at Ft. Richardson…

        Why don’t you guys put the rifles away and volunteer for the Red Cross or do something productive instead of preaching Fear all the time.”

        Awesome, Fulton. Calling scared old white guys like Barham on their game, and then upping the ante. That line, “We are a reactive group to threats whether man made or natural” made me laugh – just how does an AR-15 help out in a natural disaster? Sounds as if Fulham’s fantasies are all about guarding his stash of toilet paper and bottled water from his rioting neighbors – especially if they’r brown-skinned neighbors.

    • so ya don't say... says:

      WB how is Todd nowadays? so how is allen today? heard some are wiggin out and talking to the feds…
      better get Skarah to rehab for an excuse of your domestic-terrorism to that HUGE account your hands milk the teats from…sounds like what goes around comes around…trying to put your mexican connection of prostitutes to that democrat…tell mccain his paperwork on ‘hired help’ is in mexico and pics to go with it…
      this little sideshow of militia doesn’t deflect what is coming to light…so ya don’t say…

  8. Zyxomma says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  9. joe says:

    seeing your pro obama, are you happy with drones being used here in America? maybe they could be used to take out the sovereign citizens movement

    • Alaska Pi says:

      hunh?
      doesn’t track…
      plenty of us who voted for Mr Obama are very anti-drone, plenty see a limited use as ok, etc.
      silliness squared here…
      have you also asked the contract airline for postal delivery to the bush folks who voted for Mr Obama how happy they are with drone use?

  10. AKblue says:

    Very gutsy, Mr. Fulton.
    Thanks for exposing these unstable people.

  11. ivan says:

    Awesome!
    From low end cheesy shop
    to high end cheese shop.

    Holy Fromage Batman,
    That is poetic justice.

  12. Alaska Pi says:

    Thank you AKM , for this string of posts of your interview of Mr Fulton.
    I had to go back and re-read some of your trial coverage , AKM, to remind myself of who and what and all about Mr Zerbe as well as what was said in court by various folks about the threat/knife incident .

    Still thinking a lot about the case, the trial, the personalities, and the different responses from various parts of our Alaskan community. I became an adult in the so-called leftwingnutjobby days of the late 60s, early 70s and had what I still think rightful anger at the government of the time over many things. I could understand other folks’ frustrations but then, as now, I do not understand and why folks get off into the up-with-the-revolution stuff.

    Thank you Mr Fulton- for your service and for sharing your story.

    Have to admit the arrest-the-reporter dealie at the Joe Miller event ticked me off a great deal, Has been interesting to think about it in a different context. Sure convinced ME at the time you were a bullying asshat.

  13. Mag the Mick says:

    Thank you, Bill Fulton, for going there and doing what you did. My father said of one of his OAS/SAS comrades: “He was the kind of man who you’d follow into hell, because you know he’d get you out safely.” My father would have liked to meet you.

    • Bill Fulton says:

      Thank you but I don’t believe I rate with your father and his folks, I had the privilege of being in the right place at the wrong time and was able to honor my country by doing what I could …..I don’t even come close to the SF, SAS, OAS guy’s………… those guys make a career out of doing this crap. Again thank you but your father and his friends are much greater men than I.

  14. Ripley in CT says:

    Anxiously awaiting the next piece. Thanks for doing this, Mr. Fulton. And AKM, of course. Nobody does it better.

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