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Last updated September 4, 1997

"Patriot" Profile #5: The Private War of Bradley Glover

Copyright 1997 by Mark Pitcavage


Introduction: The militias that are the most well known are not necessarily the ones that are the most dangerous. There is less chance that the Militia of Montana, for instance, will commit a major criminal act than there is that it might serve to introduce to each other individuals who are more radical than the group as a whole, and who may break off from the group in order to accomplish their ends. This profile is an example of one such group, a collection of radical misfits who spun off from a larger group to form an unnamed yet extremely dangerous militia cell. Their goal? Mayhem and destruction.


For the officers and men of the 178th Military Police Detachment, the day was occasionally difficult but not too eventful. Tasked with traffic control for the 1997 "Freedom Fest" celebration at Fort Hood, Texas, they had to insure that the 50,000 or so expected visitors to the military installation came and went in orderly fashion on that warm Fourth of July.

The "Freedom Fest" had become an annual attraction for the people of the central Texas town of Killeen. This year it featured marathons, concessions, military bands, carnival rides and community activities. The Military Police also took part in these activities--they devised an "Identi-Kid" operation for parents. Mothers and fathers could get packets that included Polaroid snapshots, fingerprints and other descriptive information about their children--in case something should ever happen to their sons and daughters. Capping the day's events was a massive fireworks display in the late evening, with more than $28,000 worth of fireworks paid for by the Fort Hood Recycle Program. After that, the Military Police had to help the attendees leave the military base without more than the usual delays. It was close to midnight before the long day was over.

And yet the day could have been far longer if it had not been for some undercover state police officers in faraway Missouri. The Military Police could have been extracting casualties rather than directing traffic. The fireworks could have been eclipsed--or even preempted--by far more deadly explosions.

It was that close.

At the Colorado Bend State Park that day, in nearby San Saba County, FBI agents arrested two men for possession of illegal weapons: Bradley Glover, 57, a resident of Kansas, and Michael Dorsett, 41, who lived in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Though arrested on weapons charges, the suspects appear to have been involved in something far worse: a plot to launch an attack on Fort Hood that Fourth of July. Glover and Dorsett had become convinced that the military installation was being used to train Communist Chinese troops in connection with a New World Order conspiracy. The arrests did not stop with Glover and Dorsett. Within days, a total of seven individuals in three different states had been arrested--all members of the same group.

The full extent of the conspiracy remains to be uncovered, yet what is known already provides a tantalizing glimpse into the shadowy world of militias and anti-government extremists. While the members of many such groups are no more dangerous than malcontents of other stripes, satisfied with meeting occasionally to grumble and spin tales of black helicopters, but not particularly inclined to commit violent acts, within and on the periphery of the movement are individuals of a different sort, possessed of an implacable anger and a certainty of conviction that admits no alternatives to their extreme beliefs. Bored with the inactivity of their associates, convinced that imminent action is needed, they drop in and out of groups, announce their views like conspiratorial Cassandras, and look for other people of like minds.

Occasionally they find them.



When will the hostilities begin? This was a question that dogged the mind of Brad Glover. War of some sort was a certainty; there was no doubt about that. Though there had been years of government malfeasance--obviously to further nefarious goals--the signs were pointing toward an imminent collision. Nothing seemed to indicate that more than the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, obviously engineered by the federal government itself as an excuse to crack down on the "patriot" movement. When Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the credulous British reporter for the Sunday Telegraph, interviewed Glover in April 1995 not long after the bombing, the militia activist stated that "it's only a matter of time now before the shooting war begins."

How would the war begin? Glover's vision was clear. The bombing would lead to government-sponsored anti-terrorism legislation that would impose a crackdown on militia groups. In response, the militia would resist. Initially, it wouldn't be that difficult. "If this thing goes down," Glover predicted in May 1995, "there's going to be an extremely large number of U.S. military that's coming to our side with their weapons. They'll turn like a dog on a cat." The militia would easily defeat the government forces: "We can whip those guys. We can take out the so-called ninja wanna-bes. We'll beat 'em quick." More problematic were the UN forces, for Bill Clinton would surely appeal to that body for military forces to put down the rebellion. "That's what worries us," Glover said. "Then we're gonna be fighting big time."

Perhaps they would, but in the meantime Glover was in the spotlight. Initial reports that Oklahoma City bombing suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were members of the Michigan Militia had caused television stations and newspapers everywhere to turn their attention to this new manifestation of anti-government extremism. Glover was more than happy to oblige reporters looking for a story. After all, he was the self-styled commander of the Southern Kansas Regional Militia, an important man. He could--or so he claimed--mobilize 1,000 militiamen in southern Kansas alone. Like many other militiamen--and like Timothy McVeigh--he had been mesmerized in early 1994 by Indianapolis attorney Linda Thompson's conspiratorial videotape "Waco: the Big Lie." He had gone on to form small paramilitary groups with names like the Southern Kansas Regional Militia and the First Kansas Mechanized Infantry. This was rather more glamorous than his real world job as a sometime computer consultant.

"Brad Glover is ready for war," wrote Knight-Ridder reporter Judy Thomas that spring, entranced by his martial appearance. "Last week, the Towanda man got his full head of hair cropped short. He made sure his bulletproof vest and military laser night-vision goggles were in good condition. He readjusted his combat helmet so it would fit snugly. His pale yellow pickup, stocked with bottled water, medical supplies, food and clothing for any climate, is ready to move on a moment's notice. His rifles and ammunition are close enough to get to in seconds. And he doesn't hesitate to draw his handguns on strangers who come onto his property."

Glover repaid her attention with fiery rhetoric. "Realize one thing," he instructed her. "We're not turning against the government, the true, approved Constitution of the United States. We're turning against a rogue element, a cancer against the body. And we're going to cut that cancer out and restore the health of the country."

Brad Glover was ready for war, yet the crackdown he anticipated never came. Perhaps it was as Mark Koernke suggested in his videos and speeches, that the actions of the "patriot" movement were keeping the New World Order forces at bay. Or perhaps that "rogue element" was merely plotting behind the scenes. Whatever the case, Glover was not about to cut down on his own activity. Long in touch with militia leaders in other states, by the fall of 1995 Glover became a national council member of a group of militias across the country led by South Dakota militia figure John Parsons.

The confederation, called the Tri-States Militia, held an organizing meeting in Texas in October 1995. "There is a thunder rolling across this country," said Tri-States leader Parsons at the meeting, "and what you're looking at is the lightning bolt in that thunder." But at this meeting Glover was somewhat less confrontational, at least during that segment open to members of the press. "We have two arms," he explained. "The political side and the military side. We hope the political approach will solve our country's problems, but if the situation deteriorates to the point where they deny our political efforts then we have the other side." Still, he suggested, the militia was simply the "original neighborhood watch." However, an attendee at the meeting later characterized his impression of Glover as a "crazy and dangerous" person, one who tried to push others into overt action at the meeting.

What Glover did not know was that the situation which was about to deteriorate was not the country's, but his own position within the fractious militia movement. The first fumble came as a result of the Tri-States Militia itself, which collapsed amid recriminations and acrimony only six months after its creation when it was revealed during the bombing conspiracy trial of Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley in the spring of 1996 that John Parsons had essentially been a paid FBI informant, accepting some $1800 monthly to run the Tri-States "National Information Center." As the organization disintegrated, members were quick to blame Parsons and each other for a variety of crimes. Not unscathed was Glover, whose predictions of war and calls to action had already irritated the relative moderates among the Tri-States members.

To Alabama militia figure Mike Vanderboegh, Brad Glover was an "agent provocateur," paid by the government to entice patriots to commit illegal actions. Glover, claimed Vanderboegh, "was tossed out of the organization for scaring little old ladies on patriot shortwave with tales of millions of jabbering communists poised to invade from Mexico...his mental health was the subject of intense and frequent debate during his association with Tri-States, and from personal observation I would say that he is either looney tunes or crazy like a fox...It would be fair to say that he is an unstable personality with paranoid ideations [sic]. He started out with a pretty fair constitutional militia unit in Kansas, but his inherent instability caused most of his troops to vote with their feet to other, more responsible commanders (ie, non-nutburgers that didn't propose to START a war). Glover has a serious John Brown-complex and has spoken of sparking the second American Civil War. He just can't seem to figure out where Harper's Ferry is at."

What particularly irritated Vanderboegh was Glover's response to the "siege" of the Montana Freemen in Jordan, Montana, in March 1996, when FBI agents arrested Leroy Schweitzer and Dan Petersen and began a standoff with other Freemen that lasted for 81 days. Although most militia members stayed away from the standoff, some of the more radical among them itched to support the Freemen in their struggle against the government. Glover's friend Stewart Waterhouse even went so far as to break into the Freemen's perimeter and join them. Within days of the arrest of Schweitzer, Glover issued via fax a pronouncement titled "Operation Worst Nightmare," which called on militia units to rise up and participate in a number of activities--from destruction of federal facilities to "confiscating" weapons from gun stores to seizing jails--should the federal authorities use military force against the Montana Freemen. "We must make every effort to avoid open conflict at all costs, but let us be clear if the federal [sic] step across this line [using military force] the constitutional militia have no choice."

Vanderboegh's attacks on Glover were widely distributed and were echoed by others in the movement. While Glover still had contacts among the more radical members of the "patriot" community in Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri, he had lost the support of the "moderate" wing of the militia movement. Perhaps in response, Glover began to associate with groups and individuals who made some of the people in the militias look like weekend warriors indeed. Although his movements and activities for much of 1996 are still unclear, at some point he began associating with common law court activists, including Bill and Karen Hanzlicek (convicted in the spring of 1997 for passing counterfeit checks made by the Montana Freemen), and extremists in St. Marys, Kansas, associated with the safe-sounding St. Pius X Society. This latter group has included Barry Nelson (who traveled with Stewart Waterhouse to Jordan, Montana), Richard Frank Keyes III (a participant in the standoff near Ft. Davis, Texas, involving the common law group calling itself the Republic of Texas), and common law court activist Ronald Griesacker, among others.

But the associations that ended up putting Brad Glover in a jail cell stemmed from the Third Continental Congress. The Congress was itself largely the product of extremists on the outs with more restrained elements. In the summer of 1996 former Michigan Militia leaders Norm Olsen and Ray Southwell came up with the idea of holding a third "continental congress" to redress the problems that plagued the nation. Not coincidentally, such a congress might also restore the battered reputations of Olsen and Southwell, ousted from the Michigan Militia after Olsen's claims that the Oklahoma City bombing was perpetrated by the Japanese government in retaliation for CIA involvement with the Tokyo subway gas attack (actually conducted by a Japanese cult).

For organizer Ray Southwell, the Third Continental Congress would operate as a directing body for all of the militia groups in the nation. It could then "reestablish Justice in America for all the people, whatever color they may be, or whatever faith system they may observe." This, Southwell believed, was "God's will." Norm Olsen was similarly fatalistic. "My goal is not to plan a revolution, for revolution will come," he prophesied. "My goal is not to point fingers, lay blame or find fault, for few doubt the crimes of the present de facto government. My goal is not to cast support to politicians or to shore up the broken machine that the federal government has become. Rather, my goal is to establish the Republican Provisional Government."

The Third Continental Congress held its first meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, in late October. Only a dozen delegates were on hand for opening ceremonies, due to bad weather, but a few more straggled in over the next few days. Attendees included a number of the more prominent hand-wringers in the movement, including Sarah Lowe, whose husband had recently been voted president of the Republic of Texas (the previous president had been impeached after a week in office) and conspiracy fan James Vallaster, also of Texas. The meeting, held at a Holiday Inn, produced little but talk, although subsequently Southwell issued a manifesto calling for a Continental Defense Force, which was simply his proposal for unifying the militias under Third Continental Congress leadership all over again. A second meeting of the Congress took place in Independence, Missouri, in January 1997, but nothing decisive emerged.

For a few delegates, however, the inaction itself produced decision. If Southwell's Continental Congress would not take action, perhaps they could form one that would. Ronald Griesacker and several delegates to the Continental Congress, Kevin and Terry Hobeck of Ohio and another couple, Dennis and Ardith Fick, decided to form their own Continental Congress, which reportedly met in Silver Lake, Indiana, in February 1997. Brad Glover was naturally a member. Thomas and Kimberly Newman joined from Wichita, Kansas. Michael Dorsett joined up from Texas. From Wisconsin came Merlon Lingenfelter, Jr., known to many as "Butch." And unbeknownst to Griesacker, Glover and the others, undercover officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol also joined the group and met with them in Towanda, Kansas, in April 1997 as they began to plan. The officers had attended the Continental Congress meeting in January and became concerned about the radical statements that the splinter group was making. It was decided to begin an investigation.

The group's members were a strange combination of the banal and the bizarre. The Hobecks owned a trucking firm in Ohio. Others were not so mundane. Corrections officer Ronald Griesacker, for instance, was a peripatetic figure in the patriot movement, involved with the Republic of Texas, the Washitaw Nation, the common law court movement, the militias, and other odd groups. When the Republic of Texas kicked him out in late 1996, he and Glover tried the following spring to form a group called "The Preamble People," which seemed to promote some of the same check scams popularized by the Montana Freemen. This attempt was apparently abandoned as other plans took more definite shape.

Perhaps one of the most interesting of the conspirators was Merlon "Butch" Lingenfelter, Jr., a 37-year-old dairy farmer and house painter who believed in a vast Jewish conspiracy that controlled the federal government, the banking industry, the media, and the entertainment industry. Lingenfelter felt he had a commitment to expose the "International Zionist Jew bankers who run everything else." In this, as in other things, he was guided by his father, Merlon Lingenfelter, Sr., now deceased. Together they filed court papers demanding that government officials respond to their charges about Jewish influences.

The Lingenfelters had a family history of such activity. In the 1980s they became influenced by the ideology of the anti-government group Posse Comitatus; this eventually provoked a confrontation in the tiny town of Weslaco in southern Texas. The Lingenfelters joined a UFO cult called the "Outer Dimensional Forces," nominally led by a man who called himself "Nodrog" who built a base for UFOs to land. The ODF's prize possession was a fifth-dimensional Armageddon Time Ark which would be used to rescue a chosen few from Armageddon (Nodrog sold spaces aboard the craft). Though Nodrog was long thought harmless, Posse adherents like the Lingenfelters gave it a more sinister bent. After ODF members clashed with local authorities, Lingenfelter, Sr.'s other son, Mark Alan, used a pipe bomb to blow up a car in front of the paint store where the mayor of Weslaco worked.

At first, Lingenfelter, Sr., represented Mark Alan, which under the circumstances was probably unfortunate, because at times the father's connection to reality seemed tenuous. "Your President, all supporting Bloodsuckers of the United States, plus all Bloodsuckers of Canada and Mexico, have been duly served and convicted in the Outer Dimensional Forces Foursquare Court at Alternate Base, of Triple High Treason," he informed a Brownsville newspaper. Later, Mark Alan represented himself, but with no better results. In 1986 a federal jury convicted Mark Alan Lingenfelter for the pipe-bombing incident. It was not surprising that his brother, Merlon Jr., might be disposed toward radical actions a decade later.

Another conspirator with dubious family ties was Michael Dorsett. Dorsett was the son of Leonard Raymond Dorsett, a Fort Worth police officer fired in 1962 for conducting "subversive activities" which included collecting police files and monitoring radio calls. His son Michael spent a few years in the Navy, then worked variously as an insurance adjustor and a roofer. However, by the mid-1980s Dorsett seemed to have exhibited considerable instability, losing a suit for defrauding a subcontractor as well as two wives. By the end of the 1980s Dorsett owed nearly $10,000 in federal taxes. In the 1990s he tried to establish a second identity, as "Michael Anthony Tomlin," and became increasingly involved with the "common law" ideology. As late as June 1997 Dorsett tried to file common law documents to get rid of his federal tax liens. He was indicted in September 1996 by a federal grand jury for attempting to get a passport in Tomlin's name. However, no arrest was made by the time Dorsett became involved with the other conspirators.

The plotters met at Brad Glover's residence in Towanda, Kansas in April. Glover made it clear that his long-sought shooting war was going to happen. The fiery statements of Glover and Dorsett seemed to egg each other on. A few members of the splinter group became cautious and dropped out, but most stayed on. As they talked, one focus of conversation was the presence of United Nations troops in the United States. Allegations of such troops had been made so often and with such confidence in the patriot community that their presence was taken for granted by many patriots. Radio broadcaster Mark Koernke regularly spoke of hundreds of thousands of UN soldiers hiding in the United States, at military installations, in the national parks, and elsewhere. Indeed, the New World Order hardly seemed to bother with the effort of hiding them any longer--had not Bill Clinton himself openly turned over Holloman Air Force Base to the Germans?

As members of the group talked among themselves that spring, they committed themselves to action. They would develop an arsenal of weapons and military equipment, with which they could launch a series of attacks against government installations housing foreign troops. In-between raids. They would hide out in a safe location. Participants--those who remained--realized that they were crossing the Rubicon, but they were willing to make the sacrifice. The Hobecks sold their trucking firm in Ohio, liquidated their assets, to provide cash for the group. Other members also chipped in. The group would be flush and mobile, able to hit and run, able to stay ahead of the authorities. Unlike many other militia members or sympathizers who routinely use fiery rhetoric and fantasize about fighting the government, Glover's group crossed the line from speech to action. The Hobecks went to Colorado to establish a refuge at the Thirty Mile Resort in the Rio Grande National Forest. Others conducted reconnaissance missions on military bases, including Holloman Air Force Base at Alamagordo, New Mexico.

The normal paranoia of Glover's group now became justifiable: if authorities became aware of their actions, they would be put behind bars. They stationed guards during the April and May meetings at Towanda, including their children, who carried weapons as they patrolled Glover's farm. In June, Glover moved into Dorsett's home in Arlington, Texas. But thanks to the vigilance of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, law enforcement officers were by now aware of all of their actions. When Dorsett and Glover announced their intention to head south, the FBI was prepared. They watched as the two men drove to San Saba County.

When authorities decided to act, they moved quickly. On the Fourth of July, as families and troops prepared to celebrate at Fort Hood, the FBI moved to arrest the plotters. They nabbed Glover and Dorsett at 6:15 a.m. in their tents in the Colorado Bend State Park before the festivities even began. The two militiamen had an arsenal with them: two rifles, five pistols, 1600 rounds of ammunition, bulletproof vests, a smoke grenade, a homemade silencer, explosive material, a night vision scope and other items. "Their explosives would have been more damaging to the personnel at Fort Hood than to the physical installation," explained Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Richard Coffey to a Texas newspaper reporter. "They did not have the same philosophy as the people in Oklahoma City. They were not looking for a huge explosion to make their point." Instead, they planned small, repeated explosions.

Unfortunately, possibly because the charges were weapons charges and not conspiracy charges, Bradley Glover was able to post bail on the very day of his arrest. He took the opportunity to flee to Wisconsin, but was once more taken into custody in Mondovi, Wisconsin, on July 10, after possession of an illegal firearm silencer was added to the charges against him. He was returned to Texas. Dorsett was held on an outstanding federal passport violation.

In Wisconsin, authorities arrested Merlon Lingenfelter in Mondovi on July 10, while looking for Glover. Lingenfelter surrendered his two machine guns and two pipe bombs, but he was still defiant. "I'm not trying to be a noble knight in this, but it's time somebody somewhere does something," Lingenfelter told a reporter after his arrest. However, he claimed that the meetings held by Glover's group were just social outings.

The others had to be nudged into revealing their arsenals. The Hobecks, under surveillance since July 4, were contacted by the undercover Missouri patrol officers and told they needed supplies and a place to stay. On July 5, the Hobecks and Newmans gave two illegal automatic weapons to the officers from a storage locker at a self-storage site. Later, Thomas Newman handed them a bag full of pipe bombs. This was enough to trigger their arrest, which came on July 10 for the Hobecks in Colorado and July 11 for the Newmans in Kansas.

The investigation is not yet over; others involved with Glover, Dorsett and the rest may eventually be charged, possibly on conspiracy charges. The seven initially arrested were all arrested on weapons and explosives charges. But presumably the threat to Fort Hood and other military installations from Glover's private army is over. Glover's war did not turn out exactly the way he wished it to; he became the "victim" of a preemptive strike.

The credit for stopping Glover belongs to the astute police work exhibited at all levels, but particularly by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, whose undercover officers not only managed a difficult situation well, but were alert enough to catch wind of the conspiracy in the first place. If the nation was taken by surprise at Oklahoma City in 1995, it was the extremists who were caught short two years later.

One must admit that even had not state and federal law enforcement officials displayed such outstanding work, it is difficult to imagine how Glover's band of misfits could have eluded capture. "I think you have to have a warped sense of reality to think you can pull of a mission like that," Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain James Keathley told the Rocky Mountain News. "It sounds like a suicide mission to me. I don't know if they could have pulled this off." The question remains, though, what damage they might have caused while trying to pull it off. Even one such act of terrorism would have been horrible enough.

Bradley Glover and his associates fantasized about being warriors; now they will have to content themselves with daydreaming about being prisoners-of-war.


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