James ("Bo") Gritz, ex-Special Forces commander and Vietnam War hero, is well known in the Patriot movement. But its extremist credo leaves him cold. Though mad at Washington, he helped win the 1992 surrender of separatist Randy Weaver. TIME San Francisco bureau chief David S. Jackson talked to Gritz in Bakersfield, California. Excerpts:

TIME: What is the difference between you and Patriot figures like Mark Koernke and Linda Thompson?

Gritz: Koernke and Thompson are figuratively yelling "Fire!" in a theater. Koernke may be a janitor, but this guy is a very clever, very well-read man. And Linda Thompson is an attorney....

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