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Idaho County Sheriff on Idaho Couple in Oregon Standoff: They Were 'Radicalized,' 'Sleep Deprived'

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ADAM ROSENLUND
  • Adam Rosenlund


An Idaho couple that was among the final four anti-government militants to surrender to the FBI Thursday, ending a marathon standoff at an eastern Idaho federal facility, is getting some public support from its own county sheriff.

Sean Anderson, 48, and his 47-year-old wife Sandra, both of Riggins, were taken into custody Feb. 11 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, outside of Burns, Ore. They had joined a nearly six-week armed occupation of the refuge protesting federal land management policies. Following the arrests, Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings told the Lewiston Tribune the Andersons did nothing wrong other than "make a bad choice."

"The government is getting to where you better not threaten," Giddings told the Tribune. "You don't talk like that to the government or your parents or anybody else. It can get you in trouble."

In a video posted online during the occupation, a man identified as Sean Anderson said, "Americans people better wake up and get here and fight for your country right now. If they stop you from getting here, kill them."

Giddings said he believed the Andersons had been "radicalized."

"Then they got that gang mentality of, 'We're going to stick together,' and then through sleep deprivation and self-talk and all this crap, they were really stupid in their decision," he said.

Giddings added that if a similar occupation of a federal facility were to occur in his county—home to both U.S. Forest Service and BLM offices—"the sheriff's department would deal with it. The FBI would have nothing to do with it. It would be a $300 fine and go home."