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Extremist Letters Sent to Governors, FBI Alerted

More than 30 governors received letters demanding they step down


Right-wing extremists threaten governors (MSNBC “Countdown,” April 2, 2010) — Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., responds to a letter he received from the Guardians of the Free Republics. (06:37)

April 2, 2010

WASHINGTON — The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group’s call to remove governors from office could provoke violence.

The group called the Guardians of the free Republics wants to “restore America” by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site [link added]. It sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed.

Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group’s message, but fear the broad call for removal of top state officials could lead others to act out violently. At least two states beefed up security in response.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he received one of the letters but wasn’t overly alarmed.

“We get all kinds of, shall we say, ‘interesting’ mail, so it’s not out of the norm,” Pawlenty said Friday. “It got more attention because it went to so many governors.”

As of Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters saying if they don’t leave office within three days they will be removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The note was obtained by The Associated Press.

The FBI expects all 50 governors will eventually receive such letters.

Governors whose offices reported getting the letters included Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chet Culver of Iowa, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and Gary Herbert of Utah, where officials stepped up security in response to the letter. …

Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said federal authorities had alerted the governor that such a letter might be coming, and it arrived Monday. Boyd, who described the letter as “non-threatening,” said it was opened by a staffer and immediately turned over to the Michigan State Police. …

The FBI warning comes at a time of heightened attention to far-right extremist groups after the arrest of nine Christian militia members [link added] last weekend accused of plotting violence.

In explaining the letters sent to the governors, the intelligence note says officials have no specific knowledge of plans to use violence, but they caution police to be aware in case other individuals interpret the letters “as a justification for violence or other criminal actions.”

The FBI associated the letter with “sovereign citizens,” most of whom believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen, like paying taxes or needing a government license to drive. A small number of these people are armed and resort to violence, according to the intelligence report.

Last weekend, the FBI conducted raids on suspected members of a Christian militia in the Midwest that was allegedly planning to kill police officers. In the past year, federal agents have seen an increase in “chatter” from an array of domestic extremist groups, which can include radical self-styled militias, white separatists or extreme civil libertarians and sovereign citizens.


Homeland terrorism threatens the country (MSNBC “The Daily Rundown,” March 30, 2010) — NBC terrorism analyst Michael Sheehan explains whats behind the exploding number of dangerous militia in the U.S. and whether the government is taking their threats seriously. (03:18)


Topical posts on this site

‘Sovereign Citizens’ Militia Plot (March 14, 2011)

Christian Militia Terror Plot (March 29, 2010)

Bachmann and Violent Extremism (March 25, 2010)

Pentagon Plot Political Paranoia (March 5, 2010)

Extremism Explodes in America (March 3, 2010)

Bachmann Conspiracy Nation (Feb. 20, 2010)

Suspicious Plane Crash in Texas (Feb. 19, 2010)

Condemning Beck and Bachmann (Nov. 19, 2009)

Anger in America (Oct. 31, 2009)

Economy and Obama Volatile Mix (April 16, 2009)

Bachmann Call for Armed Revolt? (March 24, 2009)

Obama, Economy Fuel Hate Groups (Feb. 28, 2009)

Obama Racist Backlash (Nov. 16, 2008)



Timeline: Key Dates in U.S. Militia Movements
Highlights from a timeline of right-wing militia actions compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes. The center says militias have resurfaced in the last few years after being below the radar for nearly a decade.



At the time of his arrest shortly after the bombing on charges of driving without license plates and illegal firearm possession, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and the motto Sic Semper Tyrannis [Thus, always, to tyrants] — the state motto of Virginia and the words shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot President Lincoln. On its back, McVeigh’s shirt depicted a tree with an image of three blood droplets and the Thomas Jefferson quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“… the blood of patriots and tyrants”

Copyright © 1995, Charles H. Porter IV / AP

“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”

— U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), March 21, 2009


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — April 3, 2009


North Korea fuels missile, and fears (NBC Nightly News, April 3, 2010) — U.S. officials say North Korea may be close to launching a long-range missile rocket that was being fueled. North Korea says its intention is simply to launch a satellite into space. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (01:07)

Obama Promises “Stern Response”

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak issued a statement agreeing on “a stern, united response from the international community” as North Korea prepared to launch a long-range, multistage Taepodong-2 rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

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