A FORMER small-town Pennsylvania police chief who posted online videos of himself ranting obscenely about liberals and the Second Amendment while shooting automatic weapons secretly fed information on people he considered militia members, anti-government extremists and "sovereign citizens" to the FBI and State Police, according to documents he showed to the Associated Press.
The extent of former Gilberton Chief Mark Kessler's relationship with state and federal law enforcement, whether they asked for the information, what they did with it and how they viewed him all remain unclear.
FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said the agency doesn't comment on people who claim to be informants. State Police declined to comment, too.
Kessler said that individuals advocating insurrection and violence contacted him as a result of the videos, and he saw them as a threat and had a responsibility to report them to federal and state authorities.
He said he's going public now because he wants to reclaim his reputation. Kessler retired from the police department last February in a settlement with borough officials, who intended to fire him after the videos emerged.
No law-enforcement agency put him up to the videos; in fact, they were upset with him for posting them, he said.
"I wasn't portraying me. I was basically acting to attract these sickos and it worked," Kessler said.
"I thought I was doing good for myself, my country, my fellow Americans, by trapping these radicals and extremists and bringing them to the appropriate authorities, but in the meantime I decimated my career," he said. "Was it worth it? If I saved one person's life, absolutely it was worth it."