Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/10/2011

How often are government officials threatened?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Though suspect Jared L. Loughner allegedly acted alone during Saturday's shooting in Tucson, his actions raise questions about the safety of federal officials from all three branches of government.

It is a federal crime to kill, assault, intimidate or interfere with federal employees performing official duties.

As of Dec. 31, the Justice Department had filed such charges against 84 defendants during the fiscal year that began in September, according to department figures. It brought 320 cases against 352 defendants in fiscal 2010, up from 308 cases against 331 defendants in fiscal 2009.

(Loughner, 22, faces two counts of murder in the deaths of U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll, and Gabriel Zimmerman, a Giffords aide. He also faces three counts of attempted murder for the shootings of Giffords and two other federal employees.)

As for Congress, lawmakers faced at least 236 death threats in the past decade, according to FBI documents released last month. Serious threats against lawmakers have dropped in the last decade. Threats investigated by the FBI peaked at 42 cases in 2001 and dropped to nine by 2006, according to the documents first obtained by Politico.

Similarly, federal court personnel are also no stranger to potential violence: Judges, prosecutors and other court workers were the target of 1,278 threats in fiscal 2008, more than double the threats received in 2003, according to a 2009 report by the Justice Department Inspector General.

The U.S. Marshals, who provide security for federal judges prosecutors and Supreme Court justices when they travel, isn't planning significant changes to federal courthouse security, because Roll wasn't the target of an assassination plot, according to Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.

RELATED: Giffords shooting prompts lawmakers to call for more security

Are you or someone you know a government official who's felt threatened on the job? What provokes such threats? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama calls for a moment of silence on Monday for the victims of the Arizona mass shooting. The U.S. underestimated China's military might, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticizes Israel over Jerusalem settlements. Heather Higginbottom will serve as new OMB deputy director.

Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch public database of complaints: The federal government is poised for the first time to make public thousands of complaints it receives each year about safety problems with various products, from power tools to piggy banks.

Play about Afghan conflicts gets encore performance with Pentagon blessing: It's not every day that the artistic director of a theater company is invited to a high-level meeting at the Pentagon.

U.S. seeks to keep Afghan troop strength: Under one early proposal, commanders in Afghanistan would cut from 5,000 to 10,000 staff positions, maintenance personnel and intelligence analysts. But the number of Army and Marine infantry would be untouched.

Defense proposal would raise long-steady TRICARE fees: Many military retirees who now work in the private sector have been forgoing the health benefits their companies offer and opting instead for the TRICARE system.

Postal Service starts reorganizing to cut costs: It thinned its top ranks Friday as it prepares a series of anticipated changes to cut costs and boost revenues.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 10, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Giffords shooting prompts calls for more security
Next: Private guards at National Archives not trained for emergencies, watchdog says


Your story implies (without actually stating) that threats have continued to drop, when in fact the Politico story you cite says that threats have tripled in the past year.

Posted by: YBNorma | January 10, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

In wake of this horrid event and events of such in the past of senseless and brutal killings of federal officials and employees, something needs to be done. I think that the Department of Homeland Security (FPS in particular) needs to broaden its protection of federal officials and employees (including administrative employees for the federal government) and provide these individuals with Federal Police Protection not just during work hours bu around the clock.

Home security systems should be automatically wired to Homeland Security for all Federal emnployees and officials as well as to their local police officials in the event that some sort of threat or terrorist act of violence is lurking. Also, it needs to be enforced that it is a Federal Crime for anyone to threaten or attack federal employees and officials even if that federal employee or official is on the clock or not. Such action needs to be treated as "FELONY" at the Federal Criminal level and the perpetrators need to be punish and punish with stiff jail terms.

Posted by: supertoxicologist_99_2009 | January 10, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

A drop in the bucket when compared to the assaults on your "average" citizens.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 10, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Here is an attack on Governor Palin:

Posted by: stinkingtuna | January 10, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I like supertoxicologist_99_2009's idea about how to protect the bureaucrats from the stinking masses, but there is one problem. Every federal employee now requires police protection (minimum 2 police officers on rotating 12-hour shifts), who protects the protectors?

Each Bureaucrat Protector should receive similar protection, so that each bureaucrat is assigned two Bureaucrat Protectors and each Bureaucrat Protectors is assigned two Bureaucrat Protector Protectors.

Of course, every Bureaucrat Protector Protector also needs two Bureaucrat Protector Protector Protectors.

When do we run out of people?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I worked for a Congressman for 2 years and he was routinely threatened by his numerous mistresses.

Posted by: SCOTTSCHMIDTT | January 10, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

We had a specific threat once where I was told by the security officer I could not show up at work and it would be ok. I did anyway. Nothing happened.

There was more of a threat from a guy who harassed some of the women he worked with. One day we knew one of the husbands was going to show up and have a shotgun. Guy really deserved it as he was incredibly crude. Management did nothing on it.

Posted by: dhssresearcher | January 10, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree, no physical threats should be made to ANYONE, not just political figures, I'll leave that sort of thing up to the left, but would advice them also not to do it.

Posted by: TimG4 | January 10, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Appears to me that the assumption of several comments is, once again, that "if we just have enough Government, we'll be OK".

Try taking care of yourself, learn self-defense, home defense, and community defense strategies, then take training that reinforces the classroom, adds practical skills...practiced to a level of skill and comfort that increases the likelihood of you reacting well in a crisis situation.

When you have ONLY SECONDS to react, to save your life or those of others for whom you feel responsible, the police are ONLY MINUTES away.

"Any government that is big enough and intrusive enough to take care of all your needs, is big enough and intrusive enough to take away all your rights."

Grow up people.

Posted by: maowg63 | January 10, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The entire situation is a symptom of the Disease. The Disease being the same disease that has plagued Mankind for thousands of years...Out of control Government, and in our case, greedy, self serving, corrupt government employees who have since LONG tossed out the idea that they are in fact EMPLOYEES. Where what happened in Phoenix is indeed horrible, the whole "Start doing Good things for US,or we will do BAD things to YOU" mentality in some people will only get worse. It is inevitable, and it is difficult for me to see the "Up Side" to any of it.

Posted by: Elasfar | January 10, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck, and Bill O Reilly face DAILY threats. This is common with people who are in the public eye. This guy Loughner is a nut case. That is ALl

Posted by: eaglesnest1 | January 11, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company