Minnesota Guardsman pleads guilty to stealing IDs of fellow soldiers


A Minnesota National Guard member has pleaded guilty to identity theft for stealing personal information from members of his former Army unit, the Associated Press reports.

Keith Michael Novak of Maplewood was accused of swiping the information of hundreds of soldiers in hopes of generating fake IDs for members of a militia he was leading before his arrest.

The AP says Novak was a soldier and intelligence analyst with an Army unit based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from 2009-2012, which included a deployment to Iraq. He later joined the Minnesota National Guard, also as an intelligence analyst.

In the criminal complaint the Justice Department filed against Novak in December authorities say he talked with undercover FBI agents about a plan to blow up a National Security Agency facility. The agents were posing as militia members at a National Guard training camp in Utah.

The affidavit says Novak later sent identifying information about 44 people to one of the agents to have fake ID cards made for members of his militia, the 44th Spatha Libertas.

The Associated Press says no sentencing date has been set for Novak, who remains in custody. The week after his arrest a federal magistrate rejected Novak's request for release, calling him a flight risk.

The Star Tribune cited an unidentified source in reporting in December there was a "high probability" that Novak's militia was connected to a group in western Minnesota called the Black Snake Militia.

That group gained public attention last year when federal authorities claimed members were planning attacks on a police station and National Guard facility in Montevideo. No terrorism charges were filed but a Montevideo man, Buford "Bucky" Rogers, pleaded guilty to weapons violations in January.

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