Monday, January 14, 2013
My interview with FBI informant Bill Fulton.
In the beginning we approached each other with wariness and a healthy amount of mistrust, however over time we began to get along fairly well and had a number of fascinating, and often combative, conversations about politics, Alaska, and current events.
Before we began this Q and A Bill warned me that some questions were still off limits, due to the fact that there were still ongoing investigations, and that in fact I had to avoid even asking him anything relating to them. Because an answer of "no comment" is still an answer. (Trust me, I find this just as frustrating as you do.)
One of the big questions I wanted to ask is about the possibility that certain people, not to be named here of course, might soon see some jail time. But even that received a "Gryph we talked about this" response. So even something as vague as that was off limits.
So here are the questions that we agreed I COULD ask, and his answers to them. (Since a number of them had already been answered during the Salon interview and the Huffington Post interview I tried to avoid covering the same ground)
Q: First things first, why are you coming forward now with your real name and offering to answer questions after staying in the shadows for so long? What has changed?
Fulton: Well the short answer is that Schaeffer Cox got convicted. And the people who asked me not to speak, no longer care that I speak. So now I would like to take this opportunity to clear my name.
Q: Are you happy with the sentence that Schaeffer Cox and his militia buddies received? And please elaborate as why or why not.
Fulton: I'm happy with the Coleman Barney sentence. He was essentially a good guy that got in with a bad crowd.
As for Lonnie Vernon and his wife I am somewhat indifferent. He was a dangerous guy, and really did pose a threat to the community, and he got the sentence that I think he deserved, He will most likely never get out of jail alive due this age.
However Cox is a different story, I would really like to have seen him get more time, I think he deserves it.
You have to remember that he started this whole thing Gryph. He started the 2nd Amendment task force out in Fairbanks and that is still active, as is the one it spawned in Anchorage.
He also started the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia and through that presented a clear danger to the public.
I consider him "Hilteresque" in his ability to find gullible people and manipulate them toward evil. So yes I think Cox could have used a few more years locked away, and I really do worry that he may emerge even more dangerous than before.
Q: Now in an earlier conversation that you and I had you informed me that you were in a hotel room during the 2008 Republican Convention when Frank Bailey and Joe Miller introduced you to Schaeffer Cox for the first time. Could you explain the significance of that meeting?
Fulton: Well the significance was that here I was meeting this young kid, who was being touted as this up and coming conservative star (He was so naive he even brought his wife into the room with him) , and he was being introduced to me by Sarah Palin's Chief of Staff and the a man who would someday be the Republican candidate for the Senate. There was no way to know at the time where all this was heading, but it was a pivotal moment for everybody who attended that meeting.
Q: Well that's an understatement, however could you please elaborate on why this meeting, which was ostensibly about forcing Randy Reuderich out of the Alaska GOP Chairman's seat and taking over, suddenly changed direction?
Fulton: Well yes the original intent was to shitcan Reuderich and replace him with somebody else. But then they decided not to do that it so that it wouldn't distract from the last minute decision to run Sean Parnell against Don Young.
Q: What changed?
Fulton: I'm not entirely sure, but it had something to do with the fact that Sarah Palin was going to be tapped as the VP candidate.
Q: Really? This was happening in March of 2008, according to Palin, AND the McCain campaign, they did not choose her until the very last minute, late in August of 2008, which is why they did not have time to vet her carefully.
Fulton: Bullshit. Frank Bailey and Joe Miller discussed the nomination as if it was a done deal, and claimed that she was already being vetted.
Q: In March of 2008?
Fulton: Yes, in March of 2008.
Q: And this was only about a month BEFORE she gave birth to Trig
Fulton: Well I don't know anything about all that, but yes this was in March of 2008.
Q: You are probably best known for handcuffing Tony Hopfinger after that Joe Miller speech. How do you feel the media treated you after that incident, and how frustrating was it for you to deal with that kind of negativity knowing that you were in fact on the side of the angels?
Fulton: Well I don't feel I was treated fairly that's for sure. The media dug up minor facts, like that I was late renewing my business license on Drop Zone, and blew it way out of proportion. And when they could not find facts they simply made them up.
I still feel that the bust was legitimate, and my people and I had done the same thing at various events and concerts all over town. However because of who Joe Miller was, and the way the media was portraying him, the arrest served as the perfect catalyst to give the media permission to define him as somebody who would hire jack booted thugs to rough up reporters who tried to question him.
In fact I performed my duties to the best of my abilities, and would do so again in similar circumstances.
The funny thing is that both the Left and Right in the media got it wrong. To the left I was a neo-Nazi trampling on a reporter's First Amendment rights, but to the Right I was a hero finally treating the Left Wing media the way they always secretly wanted them to be treated. Go figure.
Q: And on that note how do you think Joe Miller feels now knowing that you were working with the FBI while you were also working on his security detail?
Fulton: I KNOW how he feels. He has been writing about it on his blog. He thinks I was a plant that was dedicated to sabotaging his campaign from within.
Q: Were you?
Fulton: No. I just did what Miller hired me to do. He also has complained that my version of fitting him for body armor in the bathroom due to his paranoia is an exaggeration and that I had "followed him around the convention center warning him of threats."
Q: And did you?
Fulton: Hell no! Nobody needed to help Joe Miller feel paranoid.
Q: In earlier conversations you claimed that after the Hopfinger debacle you received some rather vicious death threats, can you elaborate?
Fulton: Oh hell Gryph, they came by email calling me every name in the book, phone messages with bomb threats, people stopping by Drop Zone to threaten my employees, it was really bad for awhile.
Q: And exactly who were the people that were sending these threats?
Fulton: Well I guess you would categorize them as the Left Wing. People who were upset about the handcuffing of a reporter. You know Gryph the crazies are on both sides of the aisle. I know you don't believe that but it's true.
Personally I think it is time to stop all of this name calling and partisan bickering, and to start communicating in an honest fashion. It does no good to have extremists from both sides defining the debate, and that seems to be what is happening right now.
Q: Well speaking of extremists let's return to Sarah Palin for a bit. When was the first time you met her?
Fulton: I met her a couple of times at social events. Nothing very memorable.
Q: Do you think she would EVER risk running for office again?
Fulton: No I don't. She is just too polarizing to successfully run for office. I doubt that anybody except the very fringe would support her.
Q: Well as you know the plan that was hatched way back in 2008 to take over the Alaska Republican party, has now been realized. What are your thoughts on that?
Fulton: Not good. When you pander to extremists to get their support, you reinforce their beliefs, and that just makes them more dangerous. So this group led by Joe Miller getting control of the Republican party is not a good thing, for anybody.
Q: Okay well finally I suppose I should ask you what's next for Bill Fulton?
Fulton: Well I am looking to teach a law enforcement course dealing with extremists and infiltrating their ranks. I am also planning to write a book about my experiences in Alaska, and with the militia up there.
Q: Sounds good Bill, thanks for your time, and good luck with that book.
Now as I mentioned before Bill will answer some of YOUR questions next.
What we have worked out is that you can submit them in the comment section, he will choose the ones he feels he can answer, and then I will type them out in a later post, either tomorrow or the next day depending on time constraints.
Please remember that there are still certain questions that Bill will not be able, or willing, to answer.
With that in mind I am confident that you all can come up with some good questions that perhaps did not occur to me, or the reporters at Salon or HuffPo.