Authorities in Harney County were shocked today when local Fire Marshal Chris Briels defected to join the armed militia groups at the Malheur County Wildlife Refuge now known as the Harney County Resource Center.
Briels made the decision to resign his office after discovering FBI agents poking around the county Armory. He then followed the suspects and pulled them over. It was then, According to Briels, he discovered the men, but they were actually the FBI apparently posing as Militia.
Chris Briels, was the Burns Fire Chief from 1984 to 2006. When he retired in 2006 Harney county asked him to stay on as the county Fire Marshall. According to KATU 2, The Fire Marshal says he resigned, turning in his resignation to Judge Steve Gratsy, because he feels he can no longer trust his own government, which is a strong statement from a public official.
In a press release by Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, she claims Briels reached out to her and disclosed that the Sheriff’s office, and Judge Steve Grasty, engaged in a subversive campaign, spreading lies and falsehoods to the community that the militia had been following and harassing people. It turns out it was allegedly the FBI who was doing the harassing.
“I just got off the phone with the former Fire Chief of Burns, Chris Briels, the Burns Fire Chief from 1984 to 2006. When he retired in 2006 the county asked him to stay on as the county Fire Marshall. According to the conversation I had with Chief Briels today at 12:26pm Pacific time, he disclosed to me that the Sheriff’s office and Judge Grasty has been telling the community that the “militia” have been following and harassing people. Chief Briels observed what he thought was “militia” poking around the Armory and following townspeople so he took it upon himself to pull them over. According to Chief Briels these men posing as “militia” were the FBI. Chief Briels was so upset he has just resigned as the county Fire Marshall. He has gone public with this information.”
Briels accused the Bureau of Land Management of land grabbing and supports the effort to hand over the land to ranchers, but he also feels betrayed by Grasty and other members of the county government.
When Briels confronted Gratsy, asking why there were undercover FBI agents attempting to enter the county armory, he was told by Gratsy to back off. Briels, who has lived in Harney County since 1978, been a public official since 1984, and is a member of the Community Committee for Public Safety, said his “heart has been hurt.”
“I’ve been told by Steve [Gratsy] to distance myself from this committee of public safety. I’ve been told that we don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve been told that my life is in danger. I’ve been told all kinds of things. I will not be told what to do,” he said. “I have my own mind, and I will use my own mind, not somebody else’s.”
In the first sign of fracture among local leaders, the resignation of local Fire Chief is a major blow against the Federal Government and its attempt to end the standoff. The attempts by the FBI to most likely further infiltrate the Militia groups has revealed the lengths to which the Federal Government, and those local officials assisting their efforts will go to manipulate the public and to protect their own interests.
Chris Briels has told media that he was misunderstood by Assemblywoman Fiore in regards to the FBI “posing as militia.” There were indeed undercover FBI that Briels discovered poking around the armory, however the claim that they were posing as militiamen was apparently a misunderstanding according to Briels. However, the press release by Fiore did in fact make that claim.