Breaking News on Denver "Assassination" Arrests

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It is at once reassuring and alarming to know that arrests have been made and that at least a strong suspicion of foul play has been suggested. This page will build the news and amend any facts as they become available.

Current Update: Thursday –10:51 AM EASTERN — As of this morning, having gove through all the links below, this story is OFF THE RADAR as predicted. I regard this as the inevitable result of the few media who covered this having accepted the word of a Republican State Attorney in CO that the threat was not credible. My question remains: On what basis? Is there a term for media negligence?

No Conspiracy Charge, Understood, But What Now and Going Forward?

Most recent 1:40 PM EASTERN Wednesday

Sorry but would take the word of a Republican US Attorney after the ravaging and politicization of our Justice Department. Predictably Troy Eid is a Republican who has contributed to Republican campaigns in Colorado. This biographical snippet suggests to me that he is reasonably new to his job and that he survived the intensely partisan vetting of the Bush justice operation. Here is a bit of the just released Washington Post article which essentially repeats other accounts below.

U.S. Attorney Troy A. Eid said the three men, who were arrested in suburban Denver on Sunday, had been more “aspirational than operational” in their threats and therefore did not warrant being charged for those actions.

“There is insufficient evidence at this time to indicate a true threat, plot or conspiracy against Senator Obama. The reported threats, hateful and bigoted though they were, involved a group of meth heads, methamphetamine abusers, all of whom were impaired at the time,” Eid said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

This is the third among many news sources looked at today to deal with this story.

Earlier update 11:56 Wednesday AM EASTERN TIME.

I am frankly amazed. I mine the links to the left below daily for the most salient information and post links to it. I could only find TWO references to this topic, one of them the NYTimes link posted below. Today’s links are posted at http://stephencrosehome.blogspot.com.

The only possible explanation is the spin that an official put on it — “no credible threat”.

If people talk about attacking you with guns and have the means and the apparent motive, do we simply rely on the judgment of the investigators?

Apparently the Southern Poverty Law Center is acting as a shield for this interpretation since it says it can find no links between those arrested and such organizations.

So what?

The fact that the media is now micro-covering inessential things in Denver and closing their eyes to this story is a damning indication of a head-in-the-sand attitude that will only be revealed if negligence now has terrible consequences later. Neither the press nor the investigators are offering anything like reassurance.

And, to be perfectly clear, the blogs and opinion sites I rely on for alternative accesses appear to be MUTE — as of this update.

Plot is confirmed, persons charged, in what now seems to be a thwarted attempt

Federal prosecutors in Colorado have charged three men, one of whom reportedly has strong ties to a white supremacist gang, with weapons and drug charges stemming from an investigation into an alleged plot to use a rifle to kill Sen. Barack Obama, according to court documents.

Law enforcement sources said the men planned to seek a high vantage point overlooking Invesco Field and open fire with .22 and .270 scope-equipped rifles, though federal authorities have emphasized that there was no immediate, credible threat to the Illinois senator.

Obama, who will travel to Denver this week, is set to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president and speak at the stadium Thursday.

A traffic stop launched the investigation and authorities arrested Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, Nathan Johnson, 32, and Shawn Robert Adolph, 33, as part of the inquiry. All three men had tattoos of white supremacist imagery, authorities told ABC News.

Latest from the NYTimes

DENVER — An apparently half-baked plot by three Denver-area men to assassinate Senator Barack Obama on the basis of his race has highlighted the question of exactly what and whom to fear as Mr. Obama prepares to become the first black nominee for president from a major party.

This report is post-press conference. Several of the main media sources have not really covered this at all. Huff published a very early version of this page.

An Interview With one of Those Arrested

7:34 PM Eastern — No word yet of a press conference but this reasonably full account creates a tension between the statement that there is no credible indication of danger and the seeming liklihood that the three arrested were up to no good and, in one case, admitted designs on Barack.

Link To Arrested Men and Photos

Items are newest first.

In Context

TIME Threat Not Credible


“It’s premature to say that it was a valid threat or that these folks have the ability to carry it out,” said a U.S. government official familiar with the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

This modifies the FOX report below.

NY Times Account

The police said they had found two rifles, one with a scope, in the car, along with walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest and licenses in the names of other people. One of the rifles was listed as stolen from Kansas.

The investigation included the Secret Service, the F.B.I. and a joint terrorism task force, officials said.

FOX: Questions Raised

Federal officials said verbal threats against Obama were made, but were not considered credible.

“This is a methamphetamine and firearms case that arose from a traffic stop made by an Aurora Police officer,” said Paul Bresson, an FBI national spokesman assigned to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. “Firearms and methamphetamine were seized and a number of individuals are in state custody. The matter continues to be under investigation. We’ll provide more information as it becomes available.”

Police Investigate Possible Plot To Kill Obama

DENVER (CBS) ― CBS station KCNC-TV in Denver has learned at least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges.

KCNC-TV Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”

Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

The story began emerging Sunday morning when Aurora, Colo. police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell. He was driving a rented pickup truck in an erratic manner according to sources.

Sources told KCNC-TV police found two high-powered, scoped rifles in the car along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

Subsequently authorities went to the Cherry Creek Hotel to contact an associate of Gartrell’s. But that man, who was wanted on numerous warrants, jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window. Law enforcement sources say the man broke an ankle in the fall and was captured moments later. Sources say he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and is thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.

A third man — an associate of Gartrell and the hotel jumper was also arrested. He told authorities that the two men “planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech.”

That man, along with a woman, are also under arrest.

The Secret Service, FBI, ATF and the joint terrorism task force are all investigating the alleged plot.

The U.S. Attorney in Denver has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon.

A Police Video Describing Arrest

From TheTimesOnline UK

US police are investigating whether they have foiled an assassination plot against Barack Obama after four people were arrested near the Democratic convention in Denver in the possession of high powered rifles.

One of the suspects told police they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards,” Denver television station CDS4 is reporting. Police have told the television station that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

The suspects were arrested on Sunday when local police arrested a man , identified by the television station as Tharin Gartrell, 28, who was driving a rented pickup truck erratically. CDS4 is reprrting that in his truck police found two high powered rifles with telescopic sites, as well as camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a high powered spotting scope, licences in the names of various people, and the drug methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

When police accompanied Mr Gartrell to his hotel in Denver a second man, who was wanted on a number of arrest warrants, jumped from a window and was injured in a six-story fall. He broke his ankle and was arrested shortly afterwards. Sources told the television station that he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and was thought to have ties to white supremacist organisations.

A third man, associated with Mr Gartrell, was also arrested and told police that Mr Gartrell and the second man arrested “planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech.”

A woman has also been arrested.

Denver police refused to comment on reports that they might have foiled an assassination plot, but have scheduled a press conference for today.

Mr Obama, who will accept the Democratic presidential nomination in Denver on Thursday, has been under Secret Service protection for over a year after receiving credible death threats.

Michelle’s Speech

Another UK dispatch from Denver


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