U.S. Attorney Troy Eid's Curious Definition of 'True Threat,' His Links to Goodling and Abramoff, and the Media's Failure to Serve and Protect
Guest Blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound...
Was the U.S. media admirably discreet or just plain ineffectual in covering news of the arrest of three men suspected of plotting to assassinate Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at Invesco Field?
First, consider the evidence: One of the men arrested, Nathan Johnson said the other two men, Tharin Gartrell and Shawn Robert Adolph, "had planned to kill Barack Obama...on Thursday...," which was why they were in Denver, and that "Adolph was going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a 22-250 rifle which had been sighted at 750 yards." According to the FBI, "Johnson was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama and he responded in the affirmative." The Denver police found in their possession two high-powered rifles with scopes, 85 rounds of ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, walkie-talkies, wigs, fake I.D.s, hotel reservations near the convention and 4.4 grams of methamphetamine, an amount, however, too small to be charged with more than simple possession. (Yet, for some reason, Colorado U.S. Attorney Troy Eid put a much greater focus on this relatively little amount of meth and their use of it than on the other apparent highly incriminating pieces of evidence obtained, including Johnson's statements). All three men have long criminal records, are suspected of having ties to white supremacist groups, and one of the men, Adolph, who was on the Weld County, Colo., sheriff department's "Most Wanted" list for burglary, larceny, aggravated motor vehicle theft and other charges, has a violent criminal history and is being held on $1 million bond for outstanding warrants.
During U.S. Attorney of Colorado Troy Eid's peculiar press conference Tuesday night, he characterized the men as "just a bunch of meth heads," framing his question-and-answer session with reporters more like an anti-drug campaign sloganeer than a chief law enforcement official: "You know, I don't know, uh, bunch of meth heads get together, I don't know what they do, I don't get inside their brain. But we take them very seriously what they do. I have to just emphasize this is a group of people, there were a number of people, that are using meth. I don't know how many of you know meth, anyone here not know about meth? This is a really terrible drug. People do all sorts of stupid things on meth." He followed that response with: "There is no credible threat right now and there was no credible threat based on the evidence that we have to Senator Obama or anybody else related to what we know about this case." Asked what the weapons could be for (not to mention the ammo, bullet-proof vest, wigs, fake I.D.s, etc.), Eid answered only, "You know, I don't know what they were for and we'll keep looking into that." Eid went on to say, "You know, they didn't, they didn't reveal a plan. I think what you can see in the affidavit was, uh, a lot of racist rantings and a lot of dislike for the idea of Senator Obama as an African-American person of color being able to pursue that office."
But Eid's statement appears to be patently false. As reported by the Associated Press:
Johnson later told a federal agent that the men talked about assassinating Obama only because he was black, according to a federal arrest affidavit. Johnson said he also heard Adolf say that he wanted to kill Obama "on the day of his inauguration" and that he would "find high ground to set up and shoot Obama," the affidavit said.
That's not merely, as Eid called it, "the racist rantings of drug abusers." Rather, coupled with the arsenal found, it shows motive, intent and a plan. And, to be clear, contrary to what Eid told the press, it was in the affidavit.
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