MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An Iraq War veteran accused of stealing identification information of roughly 400 members of his former Army unit so he could make fake IDs for his militia was ordered Monday to remain in federal custody.
Prosecutors say Keith Michael Novak, who's charged with fraud in connection with identity theft, is a self-described commander of a militia. Court testimony on Monday revealed the investigation into the 25-year-old Novak began after he allegedly talked with an FBI source at Camp Williams in Utah — where he was training for the National Guard — about blowing up a National Security Agency facility.
In addition, FBI Special Agent Christopher Crowe testified, Novak told undercover FBI employees that he had a "target package" on billionaire Warren Buffett. Crowe did not elaborate on why Novak may have been targeting Buffett. An explanation of a "target package" was not disclosed.
An affidavit unsealed last week said Novak threatened violence if arrested, allegedly telling an undercover FBI employee he had "5000 rounds, a thousand of it is in magazines, ready to go."
Crowe said Novak had a semi-automatic pistol, brass knuckles and a knife on him when he was arrested last week. Crowe said Novak resisted arrest and that the pistol had a loaded magazine, but did not have a round in the chamber. Six unloaded firearms were found in Novak's apartment.
Defense attorney Anders Folk argued Novak should be released, saying he is not a flight risk and that statements he's accused of making were nothing more than boasting. Folk also said it's not illegal to be in a militia.
"The stupid things he said — there is evidence to believe he could carry them out, is there not?" U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel said. He referred the case to a grand jury for further investigation.
According to an FBI affidavit, Novak was an active duty soldier and intelligence analyst with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., from late February 2009, to early September 2012. He served in Iraq in 2010. Novak is currently a human intelligence analyst with the Minnesota National Guard.
The affidavit said Novak went to Utah for training in January and met two undercover FBI employees who posed as members of a Utah-based militia. Crowe testified that Novak was introduced to the FBI employees by a source — after Novak had talked of violence.
Novak told the undercover employees that if they came to Minnesota, he would train them on military intelligence-related tasks, including the creation of "target packages," according to the affidavit. Novak also said he'd taken classified materials from Fort Bragg and would share the information with them, the document said.