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Salon: Joe Miller in hot water for ties to militia leader

March 16, 2011- Last year, I did a lengthy story outlining the support Alaska Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller was getting within the state's militia movement. Now, one of the militia leaders I interviewed -- 26-year-old Schaeffer Cox -- has been arrested and charged in a lurid plot to kill judges and state troopers.

This is something of a political problem for Miller -- who, despite his election loss last year, pretty clearly still has national ambitions -- because Cox told me last year that he and Miller were friends.

Cox has been locked in a battle with authorities since he was arrested in March 2010 for failing to reveal he was carrying a concealed weapon when approaching a police officer, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Cox went into hiding at a friend's house and allegedly began plotting an elaborate revenge plot in case authorities came to arrest him or take away his baby. The FBI was secretly recording conversations between Cox and other militia members. The ADN quotes from the complaint describing what was planned if the police came for Cox:

"The plan would then have the tactical teams going to the target's houses, cutting the power, shooting the inhabitants as they come out to check on their power; then the team would kick the target's residence's doors in, kill everybody inside and set the house on fire. Then the team would lay in hiding and take out the initial responding officer before moving on to the next target."

Making the plot more serious, Cox and his friends are also charged with possessing illegal weapons, including grenades and machine guns.

When I spoke with Cox, he came off as an articulate true believer who had a well-formed, if extreme, worldview. He described himself to me as the commander of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, which he claimed had a membership of 3,500 armed men. Cox knew Miller because both live in Fairbanks. In my story, I paraphrased Cox's statement that he is friends with Miller, but also, that, as a radical, he could not support either political party. "He's going to try to run things in a more conservative way, but he's still trying to run things -- so he has the same fundamental problem of all the other politicians," Cox said.



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