MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran charged with fraud for allegedly stealing personal information of roughly 400 members of his former Army unit was likely responsible for analyzing the military's enemy intelligence.
Keith Michael Novak, 25, planned to use the stolen names, Social Security numbers and security clearance levels to create fake identities for members of his militia group. He also wanted to sell the information and use the money to expand his radio communications capability, according to an affidavit and criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
The affidavit said he also took combat gear from his former unit at Fort Bragg, N.C., including flak jackets and prepared "gear bags," for members of his militia group.
Novak, of Maplewood, was in federal custody Thursday and unavailable for comment. The federal defender's office has the case, but no attorney had been chosen to represent him by Thursday evening.
His father, whose home was searched Wednesday, has an unlisted number. Attempts to reach him Thursday by phone and email were unsuccessful.
Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, said in an email that, in general, "appropriate precautionary actions will be taken in this matter."
According to the affidavit, Novak was an active-duty soldier and intelligence analyst with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg from Feb. 26, 2009, to Sept. 3, 2012, and served in Iraq in 2010. He is currently a human intelligence analyst with the Minnesota National Guard, serving one weekend a month.
When Novak was in the Army, he would have been responsible for giving personnel information about enemy forces and potential battle areas. Other duties typically include assessing the significance of incoming information and preparing maps, charts and intelligence reports, according to a job description on the Army's website.
Novak went to a training camp in Utah in late January and met two undercover FBI employees who posed as members of a Utah-based militia, the affidavit said. Novak told the undercover employees that he took classified materials from Fort Bragg and would share the materials with them.
In July, the undercover employees came to Minnesota, where Novak gave them an electronic copy of classified documents and taught them how to encrypt files, the affidavit said. He also said that he had a personnel roster of a "Battalion's-worth of people" from his former unit.
The undercover employees said they knew someone who could make fake IDs, which Novak said he needed for his militia, the affidavit said.
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