The undercover agent credited with infiltrating a Christian extremist group before it could carry out its alleged plot to kill law enforcement officers has provided potentially damning evidence that Hutaree leaders were planning a "new revolution."
The undercover agent's time with the Hutaree, a Michigan-based militia group with extreme anti-government views, appears to be at the heart of the case against nine members, including the Hutaree leader, David Stone, his wife and two sons.
Among the evidence is an audiotape in which Stone allegedly said, "Welcome to the new revolution."
Revelations about evidence against the Hutaree came during the arraignment of eight of the nine members at a U.S. District Court in Detroit. They pleaded not guilty.
The suspects are due back in court today, where a judge is expected to rule on whether they will be granted bond.
The ninth member, Thomas Piatek, was ordered in an Indiana courtroom to be held without bond until he is transferred to Michigan to join the other defendants. He didn't enter a plea.
The undercover federal agent described a sort of training day at Stone's home June 13, 2009, where members -- who describe themselves as "warriors" -- were shown improvised explosive devices, including one known as a "bouncing Betty," which is designed to kill several people at once.
The group was arrested in a multi-state raid Sunday. Court documents charge that the group had planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer, then target the officer's colleagues with IEDs and other explosives during the officer's funeral.
Former FBI agent David Gletty has infiltrated hate groups and said what that undercover agent did to expose the Hutaree was risky.
"To get in as deep as he did, for them to have federal search warrants and arrest warrants," he said, "this guy had to be in there for a while and he had, of course, to risk his life to get in with these suspects."
The agent reported that he also heard Stone allegedly tell his followers that they should train harder because war was coming and that he wanted to "own his own country."
Prosecutors have said Hutaree member Kristopher Sickles, one of the nine charged, killed his own cat so he could "see if he had it in him to kill something he cared about."
FBI officials said they've been tracking an increase in Web chatter from like-minded groups in recent days.
"I think what we are seeing out there is a real cauldron," Mark Potok of the Southern Law Poverty Center said, "a kind of witch's cauldron of fury over a whole set of issues that range from the changing demographics of this country, the election of a black president."
According to prosecutors, Josh Stone -- David Stone's son, who was also arrested -- allegedly posted a declaration on a militia Web site that the Hutaree was ready "to go to war." Stone alleged in the posting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal government agency, wanted a "fire fight" with the group.
The Hutaree was divided into two teams that were being trained to kill law enforcement officials, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet. The group built a "hit list" of federal judges and educational leaders.