- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

Undercover FBI agents disguised as documentary filmmakers were deployed to the Nevada desert in 2014 to speak with supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy amid an armed standoff with the federal government, an agent testified this week.

Testifying on behalf of the government in its case against two of those supporters, FBI Special Agent Charles Johnson told jurors Wednesday how the bureau used a bogus film crew to gather statements during the standoff, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Footage from the purported film, “America Reloaded,” was played in court as jurors prepared to decide the fate of Scott Drexler and Eric Parker — two of six defendants accused of conspiring to keep the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from impounding Mr. Bundy’s cattle during the widely reported 2014 row between federal BLM agents and the rancher and his supporters.

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Mr. Drexler told the supposed filmmakers that he had traveled from Idaho to the Bunkerville ranch upon reading about protests being waged against the BLM after its agents tried to seize cattle from Mr. Bundy following a lengthy legal dispute.

“What I was looking for was just a show of support … it seems as if when there are armed people around a situation, then the authorities have to be a little more civil, have to treat you like a person,” he said on camera. “If nobody is facing any kind of consequences for their actions, they can just do whatever they want.”

The objective of individuals who assembled on Mr. Bundy’s behalf “was just a show of force,” Mr. Drexler told the interviewers, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Parker, meanwhile, said his own involvement stemmed from his desire “to stand for the Constitution.”

“I don’t think you have to be in the militia for that,” Mr. Parker said on the video. “The goal was peaceful end.”

Nonetheless, jurors were showed footage in which Mr. Parker demonstrated precisely how he planned to use his rifle to get a clear vantage point in the event the standoff turned violent.

“If they started shooting at people in the crowd, I would have been able to lay down cover fire,” Mr. Parker said on tape.

Prosecutors have charged six men in all with charges stemming from the standoff, including conspiracy, firearm offenses and assault on a federal officer, including Mr. Bundy and two of his sons, Ryan and Ammon.

Dan Hill, Ammon Bundy’s defense attorney, previously took aim over the FBI’s use of a bogus film crew when details about the practice emerged in earlier court filings, and said then that it was “troublesome that the FBI would sink to that tactic.”

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