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Burns Chronicles – Mark McConnell #2

There is only one informant that went to a meeting with the principals at the Refuge wired for sound.

Burns Chronicles – Mark McConnell #2

Burns Chronicles No 45
Mark McConnell #2

by Gary Hunt
November 30, 2016

I have obtained some additional information on Mark McConnell that will be of interest to all.  After my last article, “Mark McConnell“, it seems that McConnell kept saying that the information was readily available.  He never really addressed whether he was an informant, or not.  He simply sidestepped the issue of the role he played.

So, let’s separate the issues between what he said and whether he was an informant.  To do so, we simply look to the Court record and see what transpired, on two separate occasions, during the trial of the United States of America v. Ammon Bundy, et al.  The verdict was not guilty on all but one count.

From the rough draft transcripts of the trial, September 21, 2016.  Mr. Gabriel is one of the prosecuting attorneys.  Beckert is an Oregon State Police officer.  Mr. Mumford was Ammon Bundy’s attorney.  Yu will not that the government prosecuting attorney intentionally outed McConnell as a government informant.  I will leave the reader to speculate as to why they would do this.

GABRIEL: Your Honor, Jeremiah Beckert from the Oregon State Police. He will testify to the stop of the Jeep that Ammon Bundy and Mark McConnell and Brian Cavalier were traveling in.

* * *

Mr. Gabriel: So I want to direct your attention to the evening of January 26th of this year, 2016.

A.  Okay.

Q.  Were you a part of a traffic stop on a brown Jeep?

A.  Yes, I was.


Q.  Let’s pull up Exhibit 2, page 2, please. Do you recognize this map?

A.  Yes, I do.

Q.  And what are we looking at here?

A.  We’re looking at basically Harney County. Highway 395, north of Burns.

Q.  And could you please indicate for the jury — it’s a touch screen.

A.  Okay.

Q.  Where the stop of the brown Jeep was.

A.  It’s labeled. (Indicating) right about there.

Q.  Okay. Is that accurately labeled?

A.  Yes.

Q.  So how did — how did the traffic stop work?

A.  We were staged at a snow park, off the highway. And then as we — as the white pickup truck, and the Jeep came northbound, we moved towards highway 395. Saw both vehicles go past. My vehicle was assigned to stop the Jeep.

Q.  Was it a marked or unmarked vehicle?

A.  It was an unmarked pickup and it had lights and sirens.

Q.  Police lights, blue and red?

A.  Blue and red light lease with the wig wag.

Q.  As well as a siren?

A.  As well as a siren, yeah.

Q.  Did you comply the siren at all?

A.  We hit it a few times, yeah.

Q.  So did the Jeep stop?

A.  It did. Yes.

Q.  Who was in the Jeep?

A.  The driver, last name, Mr. McConnell, Ammon Bundy, and Brian Cavalier, was in the back seat.

Q.  Could you tell the jury in what order these three gentlemen got out of the Jeep?

A.  So the driver got out first, Mr. McConnell. Then Mr. Bundy got out second from the far right, and then the rear passenger, Mr. Cavalier.

Q.  So talking about the driver, first, was the driver armed?

A.  Yes, he was.

Q.  What was he armed with?

A.  He had a pistol, semiautomatic pistol.

Q.  And did you have information about whether the driver was cooperating with the Government?

A.  Yes, we did.

Q.  Okay. Is that how you got the information about where the vehicles would be?

A.  Yes. That, yes.

Q.  Where do you — do you know where you got the information?

A.  I do, yes.

Q.  Okay. So — is that where you got the information?

A.  We got the information from — from the source, and then also from aerial Surveillance.

* * *

MUMFORD: You said — you said that the driver, Mr. McConnell, was cooperating with the Government at the time?

THE WITNESS: Yes, that’s what we were told.


Q.  What did the Government give him in exchange for his cooperation?

A.  I don’t have any knowledge that have. All I was told, is that we have an informant that’s cooperating.

Q.  Is — it’s true, is it not, that there was — there was no violation of state law, at the time, isn’t that right?

THE COURT: Excuse me. You mean for the purpose of a stop?

MUMFORD: Yes, thank you, your Honor. Thank you.

THE COURT: To justify the stop?

THE WITNESS: I was not told about any state charges, it was federal charges that we were told about.

* * *


Q.  You testified that mark McConnell was a Government informant. What agency was he informing to?

GABRIEL: Objection, your Honor.


GABRIEL: The relevance of that.

THE COURT: You brought it up. The objection is overruled. Answer the question.

THE WITNESS: I don’t know exactly what agency it was. They never told us he was working for any one of these three-letter agencies we just knew he was a Government informant. That was good enough for me.


Q.  So how long had he been working with?


THE WITNESS: I don’t know.


Q.  Was he being paid?

GABRIEL: Objection, your Honor.

THE COURT: Do you know the answer, yes or no?

THE WITNESS: I don’t know —

THE COURT: Answer the question, then, you don’t know, is that —

THE WITNESS: I don’t know.

Next, we can go to October 17, 2016.  This is when the Defense wanted all of the informant information out.  The Prosecutors argued against any such release.  The final settlement was that the Defense could say that there were nine informants on the Refuge, but they could not mention the six that never were on the Refuge.  The jury was out at this time.  It was a sidebar discussion.  The numbers mentioned are the CHS (Confidential Human Source) numbers assigned to each of the fifteen informants — a means of identification without divulging the informant’s name.

THE COURT: Have you done — have you or any defendant done an analysis of that which was disclosed in the redacted reports to determine and be able to represent to the Court from your analysis who besides Mr. Killman, Ms. Linnell, and Mr. McConnell were actually engaged with any of the alleged defendant conspirators. Have you done that? And, if so, how many?

MUMFORD: Your Honor, I will say that we have attempted to, yes. But, Your Honor, one of the issues we don’t know is we — we don’t even know the number of Mr. McConnell, as the CHS number. What number is he?

* * *

GABRIEL: That’s correct, Your Honor, but we did provide the number that went with Mr. McConnell.

THE COURT: I know that. The point is the content of the proffer, even in its redacted form should make clear which CHS number Mr. McConnell is. Shouldn’t it?

Now, can there be any doubt that the FBI, the Court, and the Defense, believe that McConnell is an informant?  However, we might as well go one step further.

There is only one informant that went to a meeting with the principals at the Refuge wired for sound.  Here is from another report filed with Mark McConnell as CHS #11.  This is a report from January 12, 2016.  “xxxx” indicates a redaction.

Original consensually monitored body recording on 01/07/2016 between xxxx Ryan Payne and unknown others in Burns, OR.

This report indicates that the recording was then filed, though the specifics are also redacted.

So, regardless of what might be said about the information provided, it is inconceivable that Mark McConnell was not an informant for the FBI during most of the period between the initial occupation on January 2, 2016 until the murder of LaVoy Finicum and the arrest of all of the other people in both vehicles, except Victoria Sharp and Mark McConnell.



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