Sheriff vocalizes support for armed militia

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BURNS, OR - The FBI is in an ongoing standoff with an armed militia group in rural Oregon. The heavily armed group is occupying a remote federal building, in a wildlife refuge, as a protest against the federal government's authority.

Now, local law enforcement could be making the situation even more tense. The sheriff of nearby Grant County, Glenn Palmer, is speaking out in support of the armed militia. He told "The Oregonian" newspaper that "the government is going to have to concede something" to end the standoff. Palmer went on to say that freeing the two imprisoned ranchers "would be a start" and that "sending the FBI home would be a start." According to witnesses, the sheriff has had regular contact with militia leaders, including a lunch where the sheriff had two of the militants autograph a pocket version of the U.S. Constitution.

The president of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association says other sheriffs are concerned with Palmer's conduct. Malheur County sheriff Brian Wolfe, who has been assisting the FBI, says Palmer's statement  "doesn't help the cause. If anything, it hampers the effort to end this."