Harney County, Oregon, fire chief Chris Briels resigned on Jan. 13 based on his distrust of the local government and his belief that FBI agents are going undercover near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which Ammon Bundy's militia has illegally occupied since Jan. 2 (video below).
Briels held a press conference with Bundy and said he gave his resignation to county Judge Steve Grasty, KATU reports.
Briels recalled joining the Community Committee for Public Safety, which has said it may fight for local ranchers' land rights after Bundy's militia leaves.
“I’ve been told by [Grasty] to distance myself from this committee of public safety," Briels said. "I’ve been told that we don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve been told that my life is in danger. I’ve been told all kinds of things. I will not be told what to do. I have my own mind, and I will use my own mind, not somebody else’s.”
Briels then recalled confronting some strangers at the local armory and taking pictures of their vehicles, but not being allowed to see the county sheriff about the incident. Briels said he was told to call 911, but called dispatch instead, which ran the license plates that "came back to undercover FBI agents."
"Mr. Grasty told me today that I'm the one causing the fear, that I have no right to question anybody about what anybody is doing at our armory, and that I have no right to follow anybody and question anybody, that I am the one who is causing fear," Briels said.
Grasty, identified as the Harney County commissioner by The Oregonian, told the self-appointed committee on Jan. 13 that they would not be allowed to meet with Bundy's group at the county-owned fairgrounds on Jan. 15.
"We have a longstanding practice of allowing community groups to use county facilities," Grasty said. "But we unfortunately now find ourselves in a place where the county must deny those facilities to any group that is supportive of, associated with, or on the behalf of the militants at the refuge."