How often are government officials threatened?
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.
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.
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
• 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.
| January 10, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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