Oregon Public Broadcasting just busted the Bundy militia using government computer systems and accessing federal employee data within the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In a rather serendipitous occurrence, the blue tarp man himself – LaVoy Finicum – was leading OPB reporter John Sepulvado through the building on a tour, explaining what their plans were for the building. That’s when Finicum led him right into something none of the militia wanted anyone to see.
Finicum led Sepulvado into a computer room that was part of the wildlife refuge compound. He explained to Sepulvado that the militia planned to convert it into a “media room” to house reporters who they expected to come to the site.
That’s when it all went wrong for the militia.
Sepulvado observed militants interacting with government computers in the compound that can only be accessed with employee badges. Employee badges were also strewn about the room, laying out in plain sight, along with papers that had names and Social Security numbers on them.
Finicum immediately realized how badly he screwed the pooch by allowing the OPB reporter to see what they were doing, and for good reason. Their activities likely will fall under the Computer Fraud And Abuse Act which carries some serious penalties (fines and up to 10 years in prison) for what they were doing.
Finicum made a mad dash to pick up all the papers full of personal information and ID cards and hid them away. Shortly after that, Ryan Bundy entered the room.
Bundy emphatically denied that anything had been touched since they began their occupation of the compound: “No, we haven’t touched a single personal item. We haven’t touched any of the computers, we haven’t tried to log on — we haven’t done anything. We’re not here to hurt people. Not even the people who work here.”
This is where I call BULLSH*T. I’ll bet any amount of cash that federal employees do not make a habit of having reams of papers, covered in very sensitive and personal information just laying about on their desks as a normal part of their workday. I will also bet that if they were to do something like this, it would be once in a blue moon and they would put it away before the left for the day. The same goes with the ID cards. If they were the key to using a computer, there is no doubt that any activities would be tied to the card used to access a terminal, and any misuse would fall on the individual who was assigned the card. There’s no way employees would leave them laying around like that.
The stupidity of the militia, bringing a reporter into what is essentially an ongoing crime scene, would almost be comical, except for one really serious detail.
Law enforcement officials informed OPB that prior to the occupation, federal employees and family members of local law enforcement had received anonymous threats. Harney County Sheriff David Ward said that his own deputies and family members had been followed home by unknown individuals, photographed, and had property damaged in recent months.
There are 17 employees that work at the refuge. All of these people could have had their personal information, home addresses, phone numbers, emergency family contacts, and God knows what else stolen and disseminated by a group of militants with too many bullets and too few brains. Up till this point, things were a good laugh. Now… not so much.
Featured image via OPB