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Fed official: Colo. men no true threat to Obama

<!-- End Story Title --><!-- Story subtitles -->Tuesday, August 26, 2008 9:29 PM EDT
The Associated Press
By KRISTEN WYATT and LARA JAKES JORDAN Associated Press Writers

<!-- End Story subtitles --><!-- Story Body --><!--startclickprintinclude-->
DENVER (AP) — A group of suspected drug users arrested in Denver this weekend with methamphetamine, guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Barack Obama but posed no true danger to the presidential candidate as he accepts the Democratic nomination here this week, federal authorities said Tuesday.
The three men — all said to be high on methamphetamine when arrested — are the subject of an assassination investigation, but so far, authorities say, it appears they had no capacity to carry out any attack on Obama.
"The law recognizes a difference between a true threat — one that can be carried out — and the reported racist rantings of a drug addict," U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said.
He said the men's plans were "more aspirational, perhaps, than operational."
The three have been charged with drug and weapons offenses but not with threatening to assassinate Obama or with other national-security-related crimes.
Obama will become the first black nominee for president by a major party at this week's convention.
Eid insisted that the vague racist threats from the men would continue to be investigated. He said he didn't know whether Obama had been briefed on the arrests or whether security plans would change for Obama's acceptance speech Thursday.
An affidavit released by Eid's office Tuesday showed the investigation into alleged threats intensified with an unnamed female who was with the men — Tharin Gartrell, 28; Shawn Robert Adolf, 33; and Nathan Johnson, 32 — while they were doing drugs in a Denver hotel room last weekend.
The woman told police the men were calling Obama the N-word and saying he shouldn't live in the White House.
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.
Eid said authorities determined there was no firm plot to harm Obama. Asked what else they could plan to do with the weapons, Eid said, "I don't know what they were for."
"A bunch of meth heads get together, we don't know why they do what they do. ... People do lots of stupid things on meth," Eid said. "If you're talking about a true threat, there has to be some evidence they're not just talking about it or thinking about it, especially in a drug-induced state."
Homeland Security officials say the biggest domestic terrorism threat to the presidential conventions would be a "lone wolf" — someone who sympathizes with white supremacists and is inspired by racist beliefs, according to an Aug. 22 intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press.
In an AP interview last week, the head of the Secret Service's Protective division said the white supremacist threat to Obama has been exaggerated.
"I think that it's something that, at times, the media tried to make more of," Nick Trotta said. "We've always watched them, as we watch all the other groups."
Gartrell was arrested after police in Aurora, a suburb east of Denver, stopped a truck that was swerving erratically around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He had a suspended driver's license, and the truck was rented under someone else's name, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.
Aurora police Lt. Bob Stef said police found two scoped rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest and two walkie-talkies in the truck. A search also revealed 4.4 grams of what police believed to be methamphetamine and three IDs in other people's names, Stef said.
Johnson and Adolf were arrested at area hotels after police interviewed Gartrell. Adolf jumped out a sixth-story window when police arrived Sunday. He broke his ankle but tried to run before police found him a short distance away.
Adolf was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of body armor by a violent felon and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Denver. Gartrell and Johnson were charged with simple possession of meth, meaning the amount involved was less than 5 grams, and Johnson also was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Three senior FBI officials said that at least two of the men may have had white supremacist ties. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
A fourth federal official familiar with the investigation said an assassination attempt was unlikely.
"The capability and their opportunity and what they had for their weaponry — I don't see that they would have been able to carry it out," the official said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Adolf was hospitalized and held on $1 million bond for several outstanding warrants involving drug charges. He was on the "Most Wanted" list of the Weld County, Colo., sheriff's department for burglary, larceny, aggravated motor vehicle theft and other charges.
Gartrell, who has no known address, was being held at the Arapahoe County jail on $50,000 bail on drug and weapons charges. The jail said he was due in court Thursday.
Eid would not describe the woman who was allegedly doing drugs with the men or say whether she was charged with a crime.
Law enforcers were also investigating whether the men were linked to vandalism shootings that targeted at least two federal buildings in Denver over the past two weeks. Windows were shot at the U.S. Custom House and the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station on the same street in Denver's downtown Federal District.
Additionally, a bullet was recovered from a Hertz rental car that was hit Aug. 15, and authorities are now looking to see whether it could have matched the guns seized from the men.
 
Joined
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If these kids would have been black and talking about GW Bush they'd be up for the death penalty...

Some woman wrote an editorial and simply said about Sadam being hanged "they hung the wrong despot" and she was arrested and charged with threating the pres.
 
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Your subject made it sound like they were let go with a pat on the back and a handshake. There looks to be quite a list of charges on some of them.

I skimmed, but I did not see where it said that they were going to be let off. I apologize if I missed it, but it sounded like they did not say that they would not prosecute.

Yeah, that woman's comment about hanging Saddam was a ridiculous reaction. Perhaps the rules are different for threatening an actual president versus a candidate? No, that doesn't make sense to me either.
 
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there is a difference in threatening a presidential candidate and the president themselves.....i know someone who went to prison for several years for threatening the president(Clinton at the time) in a letter mailed directly to the president.......threatening a presidential candidate is not really much worse than threatening you or me.....however they prolly have them dead to rights for conspiracy to commit murder.....and in all reality how bad or lightly they get punished will likely be tied to how much Obama wants to pursue the issue.....i think they will be seeing jail time no matter what, how much though is up in the air.....
 
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It reminds me of the guy recently arrested at the Colorado hotel with a number of hunting weapons. They evacuated Speaker Pelossi, as though she had been personally targeted, though I would openly challenge any number of people who could actually tell me who she is. Never mind that I've seen many people with gun cases checking into western hotels during hunting seasons in the past.

How many others are as fed up as I am with the court eunuchs running our country or at least hoping to?
 
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That's ridiculous, Scot. Swords made and accurate statement about double standards in this country. Alleging it's racist is totally off-base, even if you disagree with his conclusion.

I think he's probably right. Had this been a group of black activists ranting about Bush, they'd never be heard from again. There IS a double standard in criminal enforcement, no question. That's just a fact.

No, I'm not sure what they have on these guys from Colorado, but it sounds like they made threats against Obama. That is a crime. But, having said all that, I'm with BigBella on the crazy court eunuchs (lol) running the country. Whether it's over-senstive nanny judges, racist prosecutors, corporatist legislators, fuzzy-headed liberals, or war-mongering theocratic conservatives, it's a wonder we get ANYTHING right!!

Capslock
 
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What swords said is true scot, having lived in Florida for most of my life where white is the minority, i know pleanty well what its like to hear african americans say all the racial slurs they like about white people, but the moment a white person says anything racial back, it is a crime, or the person gets shot. plain and simple. As well as the fact that many people have pointed out that if we had a WET (white entertainment television) we would be racist...if we had a NAAWP, we would be freaking racist. i have black family members, and i love them the same as white family members, so i am NOT racist by any means, but you do have to understand this country is all about double standards. Even though i am not FROM this country, i am still a legal citizen, and i for one am rather tired of the double standards.
EDIT:
i know florida has nothing to do with the whole country. but i do understand the racial thing. since Florida is one of the states with racism being a major issue
 

JB_OrchidGuy

Cardiac Nurse
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Well Kris I agree with a little bit of what you say. There are double standards, but many people don;t see them for what they are mainly. You grazed around the subject a little. Blacks IMO have better chances at doing certain things than a white of the same class. Because you have the UNCF (United negro college fund) and other funds specifically setup for black folks. Try setting one up just for white kids and see what happens. There are loans specifically for minorities, but try to setup something like that for whites only. Now I am not talking about blacks of low economic status vs whites on the upper income. I am talking about all other things being equal. The only thing different between the two people is the color of their skin then the minority has many more options many time. Heck there was a scholarship I could not get because I was a guy. They were trying to give the money away!!! Granted it was only 500-800 bucks, still it would help.

The same goes for black churches, why does it have to be a black church? Try to make a white church. Granted they probably do not turn away white patrons, but you would get some dirty looks I am sure. It seems to me that the black population itself tries to keep itself separate.

I wonder if anyone else remembers the affirmative action plan. That in itself was reverse discrimination too. My father was in the Army and passed over for promotions because he was white and they had "goals" to meet in promoting minorities. Even though his record was better, he had more time served and did everything he needed to do to be promoted. My father pointed this out to the Cournal and when he asked about having to promote certain numbers, that is when the Cournal told him they had "goals".
Let me tell you about a Doc I work with. He was telling me that he almost got passed up for the med school he wanted to go to because they had to let in so many minorities into the program. Even though he had better MCAT scores, better GPA and better interview. He knows this info because he knew someone in the admissions office. So isn't it nice to know that there are some Docs out there who had lower scores, but were let into the university so it would not be accused of being racist?

I am sorry. I think you should be promoted on performance and get in because of performance and not because of color. I know there has been times when Whites were promoted over blacks with better performance but that is wrong, so why is it OK to do it the other way around?

Back to the main subject of the thread though, All things being equal I do not believe anything would be different if the target and the skin color was different of the defendant.
 
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That just seems to rehash the rather typical sentiments of folks who are still afraid of minorities and the differences they represent. It's OK that you feel that way, it's your reality tunnel but we've heard these same circular arguments for the last 20 years and I for one, have never believed a word of it.

Population predictions currently dictate that the white peril will be in obvious decline by 2040 so maybe we'll get our white entertainment TV and free collge after all? ;)
 

JB_OrchidGuy

Cardiac Nurse
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Well swords I already have free college bro. The thing is The Hope scholarship is open to everyone and not just a minority. I never said we didn't have anything being a low middle class white person, but I just made the comment that minorities have many that are not available to the masses. I am by no means trying to hold anyone back, but I do believe everything should be fair and the way it is sometimes I do not believe it is. If X student has a 98 GPA and Z student has an 80 GPA then the 98 student should get it regardless of what the color of their skin is. Or any of the other requirements put into place. The more qualified should get whatever it is they are going for. And if you cannot see the obvious reason for some people being disgruntled then you have the tunnel vision.

I will say again I do not think anyone should be held back, but I do believe the better qualified person should fill positions or get scholarships or whatever they are going for with a competitive means of acquiring it.
 
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If these kids would have been black and talking about GW Bush they'd be up for the death penalty...

Some woman wrote an editorial and simply said about Sadam being hanged "they hung the wrong despot" and she was arrested and charged with threating the pres.

You must not have been paying attention the past few years then. How many threats do you think people have made against President Bush and saying what should be done to him? Hell there was a freaking movie made about his would be assassination.

And aside from that, where did you get this information about a woman being charged because of an editorial? I did a search and the only woman I could find being charged with a threat against President Bush was in reference to this one:

http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBHW5MBJ9F.html

She wrote the following letter:

"President Bush, I have a .38 revolver," the letter states. "I bought it for you."

That's pretty cut and dry.
 
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