Enter Dave Hall, a tattooed, 350-pound, six-foot-four former biker. A black belt in martial arts, he could fight, drink, and ride with the best–which is to say, the worst–of them. But Hall was no stereotypical biker. A thoughtful, articulate man blessed with a photographic memory and an unshakeable core of decency, Hall was looking for a new direction in life. After Hall was arrested for his minor involvement in a drug deal, FBI special agent Tym Burkey gave him a choice: go to jail or become an informant. Hall didn’t go to jail.
So began a most unlikely partnership, between a hell-raising former biker and a by-the-book FBI man. The oddest of odd couples, they would slowly forge a unique friendship based on trust and support–a friendship that Hall especially would come to value in the months and years ahead.
For what was supposed to be a short-term assignment grew to something much longer, and bigger in scope, as Hall became the Ohio Aryan Nations leader’s right hand man. And more and more, Hall suspected that a significant terrorist action was being planned, something on the order of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Yet with the clock ticking, Hall found his hold on reality crumbling as he was forced into behaviors and beliefs that repelled him. With the ever-present threat of discovery and death hanging over his head, he felt his psyche start to fragment, leading to estrangement from his family and friends, and vicious bouts of insomnia, night terrors, and panic attacks. But it was too late to back out. Together, Hall and Burkey would have to finish their dance with the Devil.
Harrowing and intense, this true-life thriller is a testament to bravery, dedication, and friendship–and a timely reminder that America’s homegrown terrorists can be just as deadly as those from overseas.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.52(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.14(d)|
About the Author
Tym Burkey has been a special agent with the FBI since 1991. He earned the first of his three FBI quality service incentive awards in 1999 for his work on the Aryan Nations investigation.
Katherine Ramsland is the author of thirty-one books, including Inside the Mind of Serial Killers: Why They Kill. She teaches forensic psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania and for the past six years has been a regular contributor to truTV’s Crime Library.
Read an Excerpt
When Pastor Ray sat down across the table from me, I assumed he’d start ranting as usual about how much he hated the Jews and the mud races. By now, I pretty much knew that stuff by heart. But this time I was wrong. This time, he removed a .45-caliber automatic pistol from where he’d stuck it in his belt. He looked it over, popped out the clip, and took a bullet from the chamber then placed the gun on the table. I waited for more, but he wasn’t talking. His dark eyes were on the bullet.
Attempting to lighten the mood, I asked, “Got yourself a new weapon, Pastor?”
He looked at me. “No,” he said calmly. “I’ve had this for a while now.”
He picked up an ammo box and dumped some cartridges onto the table. I wondered what the hell he was up to, but I dared not show he made me nervous. Ever since I’d met the man, one of the most ambitious figures in the Aryan Nations, I’d been on high alert. He was both the smartest man I’d ever encountered and the craziest.
Ray selected a cartridge and looked it over, as if to assess its weight or shine. Then with deliberation, he slipped it into the clip and said, “You know, Brother Dave, we’ve got to be very careful about informants.”
I nodded. “I agree.”
He looked down at the gun that lay on the table between us, even as he continued to make comments that I could hardly hear. Blood was pumping in my ears, and though the heat was off, the room was warming up. I tried to shift as if trying to keep warm in the chilly air, but the Ohio winter didn’t get to Ray. He seemed not to even notice how cold it was.
Picking up the bullets one by one, he continued to place them back into the clip until they were all nestled together. Clearly, he had something in mind. This was a man who had already tried to kill a cop, shooting him several times over a traffic stop, and I’d heard him repeatedly threaten to kill others.
“Brother Dave,” he said, “what do you think we ought to do about informants?”
Okay, I knew something was up, and I knew I might not get out of here alive. I had a sudden instinct to grab my side of the table, lift it, and turn it over on him, to crush him beneath it. But somehow I kept my wits about me. If I were just another member of the Aryan Nations, as I’d been pretending to be for the past two years, I’d be assertive on this topic, ready to act. I had to keep that in mind.
“I don’t know,” I said with a shrug. “I think you ought to take ’em out and shoot ’em.”
Pastor Ray seemed to like that response, because he smiled a little, but I couldn’t really tell if he believed my act. I’d been wondering that each day since I’d started this assignment. Sometimes he seemed to trust me; other times I wasn’t so sure. I watched as he put the clip into the pistol, making it lethal, and cocked it. Then he laid the pistol back down on the table, putting his finger on the trigger and pointing the eye of the barrel directly at my chest. I tried not to swallow.
He nodded a little, as if affirming something for himself. “What do you think we really should do about informants?”
I didn’t know if he wanted an answer or was just trying to scare me, so I acted like I was now ready to get serious. “Well, for one thing,” I said, “I think we ought to really make sure that they’re informants. If we find out they are, we ought to tell them that they’re dismissed from the Aryan Nations, they’re never allowed back at the church again, and then point them toward the door and make them leave. And when they turn to walk out, shoot ’em in the back of the head.”
Ray smiled. Then he slowly lowered the hammer on the pistol. In his typical way, he acted as if everything was normal. Looking straight at me, he asked, “D’you mind giving me a ride over to Kale Kelly’s place?”
I followed right along as if this had been an everyday conversation. “Not at all,” I responded as my insides slowly unclenched. I wasn’t going to die today.
Ray got up, stuck the pistol back under his belt, and said, “Let’s go, Brother.”
When I stood to follow him, I felt a little dizzy, like all my blood had drained out through my feet. But by the time we got to the car, I had recovered: I was fighting off the urge to snap the good pastor’s neck.
It had been such a simple test, seemingly easy to pass, but I knew my life had hung in the balance. I couldn’t have known for sure what was the right or wrong thing to say, but apparently I’d satisfied him.
Later that night, when I was by myself, I finally got truly nervous. Pastor Ray Redfeairn was an unpredictable maniac with a hair-trigger temper. He acted first and thought about it later—if at all. He seemed to feel no remorse. He watched me so closely I could just about feel his eyes on me, and I began to wonder, not for the first time, why I was even in this situation.
Dave Hall’s involvement with one of the most dangerous men I’d ever investigated was due largely to me.
I’ve been an FBI special agent since June 1991, but it had taken real effort to actually get in. My path was indirect. I’d received a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from the University of Akron, in 1983 and was working for the city Engineering Department in Wooster, Ohio, where I grew up. I wanted to find a new line of work, but in 1984 I’d married my wife, Anne, so I had little room to experiment. My sister-in-law provided media training at the FBI’s academy, and she encouraged me to look into employment there. I took the entrance exam but did not qualify. I would have put it behind me, but after getting an MBA, I decided to try again. It turned out that at that time, the FBI was facing the savings and loan scandals and was eager to sign up people with a business background. This time I passed and they accepted me. Although Anne was expecting our third child, she urged me to go to the training.
After I completed the program at the Academy, I was assigned to the Dayton Resident Agency (DRA), an FBI satellite office out of the Cincinnati Division, which put me in southern Ohio, a hotbed of militant groups. But in the early nineties, I was working on crimes such as bank robberies, truck hijackings, and drugs.
On April 19, 1995, the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was bombed. One hundred sixty-eight men, women, and children were killed and hundreds more were injured in the bombing. An alert highway patrol officer arrested Timothy McVeigh on his way out of town, and thanks to McVeigh’s stated agenda we learned that a new type of terrorist had emerged in our homeland and that there were many groups around the country preparing for similar acts.
McVeigh espoused white supremacist rhetoric and supposedly envisioned himself avenging the 1993 standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, which resulted in a conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound. Four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) died there, as did more than eighty members of David Koresh’s community. McVeigh’s anger may also have been fueled by a book called The Turner Diaries, a piece of apocalyptic hate literature written by William L. Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald and published in 1978. Approximately eighty thousand words long, it features a racist white “hero,” Earl Turner, who joins an underground movement that in the early 1990s resists the so-called Jewish conspiracy that has taken over the American government and confiscated everyone’s guns. The book graphically depicts the subsequent extermination of Jews, blacks, Hispanics, other “mud faces,” and white “race traitors.” Turner’s purpose was to establish an all-white separatist homeland in the Northwest.
The book is so full of hate it was hard for me to stomach it. I read it only on company time, not my time, while I was on a stakeout. I would never have read something like that by choice. A particularly disturbing part for me was the fictional bombing of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., which of course houses FBI headquarters. If I needed convincing that groups that embraced the Diaries viewed us as the enemy, this did it for me.
Pierce, the Diaries author, founded the National Alliance (NA), a white supremacist organization in Hillsboro, West Virginia, around the same time that Richard Butler formed the Aryan Nations (AN). The main differences between the NA and the AN were the level of violence and the religious angle. The AN openly preached from the Bible and used it to justify violence, whereas the agnostic NA advocated violence as a means to an end.
Timothy McVeigh apparently bought into The Turner Diaries’ racist paranoia, because one passage describes using a fertilizer bomb consisting of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil to blow up a federal building. McVeigh’s destructive act would prove inspiring for other antigovernment groups, and the Diaries was often found in the homes or possession of members of these groups.
We knew that the central AN headquarters was a compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, and we knew that its membership hoped for a militant uprising. There was an AN church in our jurisdiction, so we kept an eye on it, especially after McVeigh’s attack. As the AN grew in power, the FBI was shifting its focus to prepare for more acts of domestic terrorism, which filtered down to local units that had direct contact with such groups. It was around this time that I met Dave Hall.
In July 1996, I’d agreed to help out a friend. Mostly in those days I spent time with my friends, partying or just hanging out. I was on disability from a work-related back injury, so I puttered around and enjoyed myself. I had a trailer and a boat up at a lake north of Dayton, and I went there a lot to go fishing. Occasionally I worked on motorcycles for various friends, and I also saw my mom a lot. Basically it was a relaxed, laid-back life. But that was about to change.
I lived in Ohio but had grown up in Kentucky and still had family there. A distant relative wanted to meet my uncle Mike* for the purpose of selling him marijuana. They asked me to be the go-between—in other words, go get the marijuana—and I said, “No. I’m not gonna do that.” So then the guy in Kentucky asked for only an introduction. “Well, okay,” I said, “but I’m not coming to Kentucky. You’re gonna have to come up here and I’ll meet you at a rest stop in Ohio, on I-75. Then you can follow me up to my uncle’s house. I’ll introduce you and you guys can take it from there. I don’t want no part of it.”
So we arranged to do that. But unbeknownst to me, this guy from Kentucky had been busted and was working with the feds. He was laying a trap. We met at that rest area, and the next thing I knew, two agents came knocking at my door.
Table of Contents
Close Call 3
First Encounter 6
The Invitation 18
In Good Standing 30
Into the Dark World of White Supremacy 45
Taking Risks 61
Membership Dues 74
Recruitment Rally 86
White Noise 98
Keeping Cover 118
Idaho Immersion 129
Side Trip with Psychopaths 139
No Return 151
Summer of Hate 164
The Feast of the Tabernacles 177
AN Meets Militia 186
Terrible Times 200
Clandestine Preparations 220
Earle Cabell 230
The Grand Dragon 244
April Fools 253
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The information in the story was very interesting. The style of writing left me cold. My hats off to Dave Hall for undertaking this life threatening and scary task. I have known about these groups for years but it is still unnerving to see that they continue to attract new members. This country has no place for these hate groups.