The author of an online novel cited by four Georgia men who allegedly sought to kill U.S. law enforcement officials and federal judges said his work has been misinterpreted.
Mike Vanderboegh, of Pinson, Ala., said his novel, "Absolved," which is set to be published in book form later this year, was "intended to communicate the fact that another Civil War is possible" in the United States.
"The federal government has been pushing the limits of liberty back in this country for many, many years, and my point was, at some undetermined moment in the future, someone is going to determine that they're not going to be pushed around anymore," Vanderboegh told FoxNews.com. "It is what it is … it's a terrible description of what might happen if people continue to be victimized in this country."
Federal authorities say members of the fringe militia group said they intended to model their actions on Vanderboegh's work, although the author's name is not listed in indictments charging the four men. The suspects, Frederick Thomas, 73, Dan Roberts, 67, Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68, all live in the north Georgia towns of Cleveland and Toccoa.
The four gray-haired men appeared in federal court Wednesday without entering a plea and were jailed for a bail hearing next week. They apparently had trouble hearing the judge, some of them cupping their ears.
The men, according to court documents, had been discussing "covert" operations since at least March, considering murder, theft and the use of toxic agents like ricin to undermine state and federal government.
"What kind of moron uses the phrase 'save the Constitution' and then goes out to try and distribute ricin?" Vanderboegh said. "This has got to be the Alzheimer's gang. What political point is made there? I don't understand what was going on in the minds of these Georgia idiots."
Relatives of two of the men said the charges were baseless. The public defender assigned to the case had no comment.
Vanderboegh, who also has closely followed the botched federal investigation known as "Fast and Furious," also runs a whistleblower website called Sipsey Street Irregulars. He said it appears that at least one of the men charged had visited his website and left comments, but he denied having any personal contact with the men.
"I am responsible for this as Tom Clancy is for 9/11, which is to say not at all," he said.
The four suspected militia members allegedly boasted of a "bucket list" of government officials who needed to be "taken out"; talked about scattering ricin from a plane or a car speeding down a highway past major U.S. cities; and scouted IRS and ATF offices, with one man saying, "We'd have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh."
Federal investigators said they had them under surveillance for at least seven months, infiltrating their meetings at a Waffle House, homes and other places, before finally arresting them Tuesday, just days after discovering evidence they were trying to extract ricin from castor beans.
Vanderboegh said he has not been contacted by law enforcement authorities in connection to Tuesday's arrests, and he characterized the matter as a "misinterpretation of a piece of fiction."
Citing department policy, a Department of Justice source declined to indicate whether authorities had interviewed Vanderboegh or plan to do so.
"If we begin to treat fiction as grounds for legal action against the author because someone misinterprets it or uses a tactic from the book," Vanderboegh said, "then the First Amendment no longer exists."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.