- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 9, 2016

Members of an Idaho militia group arrived at an Oregon refuge on Friday as armed occupiers refused to leave the federal building outside Burns. 

The 3% of Idaho group’s members will “secure a perimeter” around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which has been occupied by an armed militia led by Ammon Bundy for seven days.

“They just keep an eye on everything that is going on” to make sure “nothing stupid happens,” Mr. Bundy said Friday, The Oregonian reported.

Mr. Bundy said if the Idaho group hadn’t showed up, “I’d worry” about a Waco-style siege by federal officers.

Brandon Curtiss, the president of the 3% of Idaho, would not reveal how many people his group was sending to Oregon. Some of the members who had arrived at the bird sanctuary were carrying what appeared to be handguns on their hips, according to The Oregonian. Mr. Curtiss said he was also on his way to the refuge.

He did not give any specific information on what kind of perimeter his group was forming. 

He said group was there to keep the situation peaceful by protecting the occupiers as well as the Harney County community from those who arrive in solidarity with Mr. Bundy’s cause by may be prone to violence. 

Mr. Curtiss did say that the perimeter would not be military or paramilitary in nature, The Oregonian reported. 

The Idaho militia’s arrival came just hours after Mr. Bundy informed reporters that the occupiers would not leave the facility, declining an offer from the sheriff to peacefully escort the militants out of town. 

The news also comes as Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the occupiers may have accessed government computers within the facility. OPB reporters were accidentally led into a room where the computers were and saw several of the machines were turned on, and in screensaver mode. Papers in the room appeared to have been rifled through. 

The computers can be accessed only with employee ID badges. The FBI is now looking into the matter.

When asked about the computers, one of the militia organizers, Ryan Bundy, denied that any of the workspace had been touched during the occupation. 

“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,” Mr. Bundy said. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Jason Holm declined to confirm whether the computers had been used. But he did say the agency has taken a full inventory of what was left inside the refuge before the seige.

“We are cognizant that the individuals in the refuge would have access to files and things like refuge equipment,” Mr. Holm said, OPB reported. “We’re working with the FBI to mitigate any risk [to employees].”

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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