What’s the Joint Terrorism Task Force Doing in the Tiny Town of Rachel? - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, I-Team Exclusive

What’s the Joint Terrorism Task Force Doing in the Tiny Town of Rachel?

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(June 20) -- FBI agents have confirmed that a search warrant was served Thursday night on the home of a self-described military watchdog in the tiny town of Rachel, near the mysterious Area 51 military base.

Eyewitness News has learned this action was initiated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The search warrant remains sealed and the FBI won’t say what was seized from the home of Rachel resident Chuck Clark. It's believed the action was taken because Chuck Clark escorted the I-Team on a tour of the roads surrounding the base. During the visit, he showed us the location of military sensors, hidden on public land. Here's our story.

Retired astronomer and desert rat Chuck Clark has a new hobby.  He's prowled the hills and deserts of Lincoln County for several years now, has photographed exotic aircraft in the skies, and keeps an eye on the top secret base known as Area 51.  He's even written a book about the place. Over the past few months, he's discovered that the military has been installing secret sensor devices on public lands surrounding the base.  Using a frequency counter device, he can tell when his vehicle trips a sensor. When that happens, he looks for the hard-to-spot wire atop the device, and then he digs them up, takes pictures, and puts them back. 

Clark isn’t a terrorist or spy but is angered that hikers, four wheelers, or photographers are being monitored by the military on public land, miles from the boundary of the base, which is clearly marked by signs.

Chuck Clark says, “It's overkill in my opinion. They have a 25-mile buffer zone around the base. Why they have to put stuff outside the line really escapes me.”

During the I-Team visit last week, two sensors were located and base security wrote down the plate numbers of our vehicles. 

We returned five days ago and drove to the rear entrance of Area 51.

Two days later, FBI agents, working with Air Force intelligence and the Joint Terrorism Task Force , raided Clark’s home and seized photos, records and his computer.  Is it legal for anyone to touch military sensors hidden on public land? The government doesn’t think so, although Clark hasn’t been charged with anything, is the military trying to silence this outback gadfly?

"They’re paranoid about this location and I don’t see why" said Clark.

We asked the BLM if it's legal for the military to put sensing devices out on public land but a spokesman couldn’t answer our question.  Law enforcement sources say that by handling the sensors, the devices are disabled. So it amounts to destruction of government property. As we mentioned, Clark hasn’t been charged. He was out of the state when the warrant was served.  Our investigation of the issues involved will continue.

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