Feb 06, 2012

FBI: More locals seek help with anti-government extremists

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY Updated 1h 57m ago

The FBI is being inundated with calls from local government officials asking for assistance in dealing with anti-government extremists, officials said.

Stuart McArthur, deputy assistant director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, said the extremists -- part of the so-called sovereign citizen movement that advocates a rejection of government authority -- have the "potential'' to prompt violence in their day-to-day encounters with police, judges, inspectors and other local government officials.

"Our focus has been increasing,'' McArthur said.

McArthur said the movement, which first rose to prominence in the 1990s when anti-government fervor produced Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, has shown signs of escalating criminal activity, from financial schemes to violence.

The group's most extreme members are "steeped in conspiracy theories,'' refusing in many cases to be bound by the federal government's income tax laws.

FBI: More locals seek help with anti-government extremists