Commentary on the FBI Project Megiddo

Jon Roland
Original August, 1999; revised May, 2000

The Project Megiddo document was found on the FBI web site shortly after it was put up in mid-1999, and soon became the topic of extensive discussion among civil libertarians. We converted it from PDF to other formats, and put it up here, for the convenience of those inquiring into this matter, and in case the FBI takes down their own copy in abject embarrassment.

The document purports to describe the thinking and preparations of the FBI for public disturbances thought likely to result from the anticipated Y2K crisis. This commentary, having been revised since the Y2K non-crisis, has the benefit of hindsight, but my comments made when it first appeared remain valid: If this represents the thinking of an organization the citizens of the United States depend on to protect us, then we are in trouble. As preparation, it is incompetent. In essence, it is little more than an ideological polemic, and highly unprofessional. Even the writing and grammar is incompetent. We need to ask whether we should trust people like this to carry firearms, or hold any positions of responsibility.

One of the revealing things is their definition of "militia": two or more persons with firearms who engage in paramilitary training. That is not the way the term is used in the Constitution, or defined in the law, such as 10 USC 311, or in any competent dictionary. It is their own definition, and it conveniently allows them to lump together constitutional militias with their functional opposites, criminal gangs. Their definition could cover military schools, veterans associations, historical reenactors, filmmakers, or the boy scouts.

This document is loaded with propaganda words, such as "right-wing", or "paramilitary", words with no semantic content but only epithets used in polemics. It is a political tract, written like something that Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center might come up with in a fundraising scam.

For the record, and to make sure no one misunderstands, the word militia means defense service, and is applicable to any one or more persons engaged in the defense of the community and its constitution on a nonofficial basis. It is, as the Founder George Mason defined it, "... the whole people, except for a few public officials." (3 Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Ratification of the Constitution).

Their usage of words indicates that they regard any armed group as potential competitors, which speaks volumes about their mentality, which is essentially fascist. They are not working for the people, but against them.

For those who accuse patriot activists of being paranoid and susceptible to conspiracy theories, here is a statement by people who are certifiably paranoid, and whose own conspiracy theories are doctrine rather than a tool of skeptical inquiry. Here it is, in their own words. We don't invent this stuff, or have to. They do.

FBI Project Megiddo | Defense Page | Militia Page