was a plot to assassinate barack obama thwarted yesterday?

According to sources, what could have been a plot to assassinate presidential candidate Barack Obama in Denver was thwarted yesterday. Here’s a clip from the UK’s “Telegraph”:

…One of the group said he was “going to shoot Obama”, who is in Denver, Colorado, for the Democratic National Convention, “from a high vantage point using a rifle sighted at 750 yards”.

Police said that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative”.

The shooting was planned for Thursday, when Mr Obama is set to accept the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for the November election at the 75,000-seat Invesco stadium.

Tharin Gartrell, 28, who was wanted on numerous warrants, was arrested on Sunday after police found two high-powered rifles, boxes of ammunition, a rifle scope, a bullet-proof vest, walkie-talkies and methamphetamine in a rented truck he was driving…

But, maybe things aren’t what they seem. At least that’s what the Secret Service is claiming. The article goes on to say:

…It is thought the men may have ties to Sons of Silence, an outlaw biker group, with suspected connections with white supremacists. However, federal sources have said that the incident may have had more to do with drugs than with a plot to assassinate Mr Obama, despite local police claims.

The federal officials said that the verbal threats against Mr Obama were made during one of the arrests, but were not considered credible. “It could turn out that these were nothing but a bunch of knuckleheads, meth heads,” a US government source has claimed…

My guess, and I hope I’m wrong, is that a plot (perhaps not the most professional of plots) really was thwarted (perhaps by dumb luck), but that the Obama campaign and others don’t want to draw attention to it, as it would change the media focus during the Convention, and negatively impact the candidate’s campaign…. I hope and pray that this is the first and last thread on this subject to be posted here on the site, and that Obama and his family stay safe. I don’t think our country could withstand having yet another leader promising a better future taken from us.

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  1. Meta
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    In a strange coincidence, some people from the Daily Kos contingent were staying across the hall at the fleabag hotel where these men were apprehended. They heard it all go down.


  2. Robert
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I highly doubt the original search by local police was the result of “dumb luck.” It was far more likely that they were tipped off by federal agents whose loyalties are with the institutions of this country over any obligations they feel to this very criminally connected current administration.

    You can now see how the words coming down and the feds are officially trying to suggest the local police were overestimating things. They’ll keep that noise up until everyone falls in line. In the end, the official story will be that this was just a drug shipment or something, and the presence of the rifles and scope were just coincidental. They’ll also probably need to change some of the story already released by the local police.

    The truth is that these guys were probably being tracked by the FBI, and some of the agents on the job decided to play it safe and leak some information to local police. It is also very likely that these 4 conspirators were being handled by a cut-out who would be working most likely for a regional syndicate which is looking to collect on contracts.
    It’s funny how Fix News was immediately calling these guys “meth heads” at every opportunity. Someone over there must have got the memo early.

    Fortunately for Obama, the Democrats, and the American people, there are still many good patriotic law enforcers entrenched within our federal agencies, despite this administration’s seven years of attempting to purge them. I think it’s come as at least a little of a surprise to them that these primarily Republican and very conservative individuals are nonetheless REAL patriots who genuinely love their country and its institutions. I’m sure it’s a difficult concept for self-serving, chicken-hawk, war profiteers to fully grasp.

  3. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    7 1/2 football fields. Not easy to put a pencil-sized hole in somebody from that far away.

    IF that was his intent, I spect the other rifle, the vest, and the meth was for a blaze-of-glory shootout with cops afterwords.

    The walkie talkies, though? How many guys were there?

  4. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh, nevermind. I see it was a group.

  5. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Note that, according to my sources on the TV (the sometimes full of shit History Channel), Amphetamines were used successfully by SS soldiers to increase their combat effectiveness. This concludes my unconstructive know-it-all interjection.

  6. West Cross is the Best Cross
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I can second Brackache’s clain on Amphetamines being used by snipers from own equally-reliably experience playing Metal Gear Solid. Really helped keep the shakes down while fighting that pesky Sniper Wolf.

  7. Robert
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Brackache, where’d that distance claim come from? Were they just talking about the range of the rifle, or were they referring to an actual firing position the conspirators had planned?

    By the way everybody, this is the same FBI that planted an informant to talk seven bums in Miami into saying they wanted to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. The case is one of the crown jewels of this administration’s anti-terrorist success stories since 9/11, even though none of the bums had any of the specific plans or materials for the supposed operation, and no known means of obtaining any of it…except for maybe through the FBI plant of course.

    Ah yes, that was a real threat according to this administration’s FBI. But these guys who traveled to Denver and had the plans and all the necessary equipment are “not considered credible” threats. They’re just a bunch of “knuckleheads.”

    I think the knuckleheads are those of us out here in the public that can’t see there’s something terribly amiss with the integrity and legitimacy of this administration.

  8. nammeroo
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    It is more a testimony of the sad state of our media that the word of one meth addict (out of the four arrested) that they were intending to shoot Mr. Obama gets repeated ad nauseum without consideration of reality. I loved the reference to the gun being sighted to 750 yards – I wasn’t aware that meth’s side benefits included super human sight and reflexes!

    At best, this was four idiots being idiots. At worst, Hillary put them up to it. My money is on the former.

  9. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Could just be the guy had the rear sight all the way up cause he got it caught on his shoelace or something for all I know.

    West Cross: that cracked me up.

  10. Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Nammeroo, I think you’re missing a lot here.

    First, it wasn’t just the testimony of the one guy, Nathan Johnson, that the suspicions are based upon. The police also found the necessary equipment and extras (including wigs). It’s all very suggestive.

    Second, when someone says a gun is sighted at 750 yards, it just means he has a scope leveled for targets at that range. I’m not sure what you’re assuming here, but there’s nothing superhuman about making that shot. It’s not tough at all with the standard M40 sniper rifle, or even a modified M16/AR15. Using a 51mm cartridge or bigger, your range is a minimum MER* of 800 meters. Maximum MER would be 1,000 meters and up.

    Next, the media isn’t covering it that much, and Fox News has had the most coverage. All the networks are tagging the story like it’s most likely just a “meth head” shooting his mouth off.

    You obviously don’t even understand some of the basics of the story. You’re speculations are made in light of that extremely flawed understanding, and reflect it.

    Brackache, I’d only say that the size of the hole you put in your target doesn’t matter. It’s the size of the target that matters. A 2’x 6′ target is not difficult to hit at 750 yards or meters, with a decent sniper scope.

  11. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d agree it’s not hard for a sniper rifle to hit that, but it’s hard for a nervous person with insufficient training on how to not jerk the sniper rifle too much to hit that. Also, his target is smaller: chest or head sized.

    If you say “sniper rifle” too much, it starts to sound really funny.

    Do we know yet what type of rifles he even had?

  12. Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    *MER = Maximum effective range

    I have a friend who claimed he can hit a half dollar at 500 yards with his AR15 and scope.

    The weapon Nathan Johnson said they intended to use was the .22-250 Remington.

  13. Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    True, Brackache, a human target is actually not 2’x 6′. It’s more like two targets of 2’x 2′ and 0.5’x 1′. It is however not a tough shot at all if the gun is stabilized properly, as you say. I think most guys who have rifles know how to stabilize them.

    It’s also my understanding that Shawn Adolf was going to be the shooter. I haven’t even seen a picture of him yet for some reason, so I’m not sure how to judge if he looks ‘fit’. I don’t know if he looks as messed up as Nathan Johnson does.

    On another note, it’s not hard to see how assholes like these might think this is actually ok in some way since we have asshole Republican congressmen like Mark Kirk (R-IL) saying things like this…”if we see Obama there’s a shoot-on-sight order.” (See link above) And asshole radio personalities agreeing with them.

  14. Cantor
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Adolph’s photo can be seen here.


  15. Posted August 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Are you sure, Cantor? I am not seeing a photo on that page using your link. Do you have any other ones. I’m really curious to see this guy.

  16. Posted August 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Oh wait, now I see the guy. Thanks Cantor.

  17. Robert
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Channel 9 in Denver is now saying they have “learned there are more people connected to a threat to harm Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention than the four people arrested.”

  18. Robert
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and nammeroo, it turns out that all three in custody have confessed to the plot.

  19. Posted August 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I have heard several people mention that they would like to see Obama assassinated if he takes office because he is black and a Muslim. I’m not joking nor am I exagerrating. I would be very surprised if there were no attempts on his life, given the racist sentiments of many people in this country.

  20. Posted August 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Strangely, Faux News appears to have taken the story off their site completely now.

    Meanwhile, one real news source, Channel 9 in Denver, is running a story titled “More people connected to Obama threat”

    Here’s the text:

    “DENVER – 9Wants to Know has learned there are more people connected to a threat to harm Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention than the four people arrested.

    The United States Attorney’s Office plans to release more information in the alleged plot at a news conference Tuesday.

    9NEWS.com plans to stream the 4 p.m. news conference live.

    Three men and one girl were arrested Sunday morning.

    Nathan Johnson, 32, appeared in court Tuesday morning. His bond was set at $10,000.

    Johnson was arrested Sunday in south Denver after police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell of Centennial.

    In Gartrell’s car, officers found two rifles, boxes of ammunition, one rifle scope, a bulletproof vest, walkie-talkies, two wigs, camouflage clothing, several fake IDs methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia, according to Aurora Police Lt. Bob Stef.

    Gartrell is being held in the Arapahoe County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond and has a felony criminal record.

    A third man, 33-year-old Shawn Adolf of Greeley, was arrested at Cherry Creek Hotel in Glendale on Sunday. He jumped out a sixth floor window when officers knocked on his door in an attempt to get away, but was later apprehended.

    A fourth suspect was also arrested, according to 9NEWS’ partners at The Denver Post.

    The suspect is a juvenile so 9NEWS has chosen not to identify the girl.

    U.S. Attorney Troy Eid told 9Wants to Know in a statement, “We’re absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado.”

    If you have more information on any of the suspects or the threat, e-mail investigative reporter Jace Larson at jace.larson@9news.com.”

  21. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow. That is some fucked up shit. How could anyone possibly care that bad if Obama gets elected? It’s just going to be the same old bullshit, slightly tweaked for his base (from a libertarian standpoint, anyway — I know the difference is very important to many here, no need for ruffled feathers).

    It is true that more Americans are prejudiced over stupid bullshit than we (or at least I) ever realized.

    I don’t know why you progressive folks aren’t scared enough yet of crazy armed rednecks to arm yourselves in self defence, but I guess that goes with the whole peaceful resistance thing you’ve got going on. Just so you can’t say no one told you in advance though, trying to disarm them (all rednecks) would do the exact opposite of defuse the situation. Not the way to go.

  22. heronblue
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Invitation for Ypsi Progressives and the still deciding — Does everyone know that Thursday nite at the Corner Brewery, the Obama “Campaign for Change” is having an evening event to watch the DNC convention and Barack Obama’s speech? All welcome. Come support the campaign and let it be known that you don’t go for the kind of thinking being discussed above… the fear/intimidation tactics

    Come have a beer, see your friends…(i know all you guys here are always looking for an excuse to go to the Brewery anyhow!!) and watch the convention with compadres.

    The campaign will soon be opening an office on Michigan ave not far from Bombadill’s area… and can use everyone’s help and enthusiasm. Feel free to volunteer and help out – you’ll be appreciated.

    Event starts around 8 pm so you can chat and watch the preliminaries– Obama’s speech is likely later around 9:30 pm. Monica

  23. heronblue
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Just so folks won’t get confused re: the date/time – its THIS Thursday nite.

    Democratic National Convention – Campaign for Change: nite for growing the Obama campaign

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 8:30 PM
    Members can RSVP until
    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 8:00 PM

    “Yes We Can!”

    the Corner Brewery
    720 Norris Street
    Ypsilanti, MI 48198
    Venue telephone number: 734-480-2739

  24. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to intimidate people? Into doing or not doing what? Roleplay much, I-wish-this-was-the-sixties?

  25. heronblue
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    hey Brachache, if you’re referring to my comment???… no, i wasn’t referring to you.

    I meant the folks we’ve all been discussing here …as mentioned who want to shoot candidates… or as Robert said: we have asshole Republican congressmen like Mark Kirk (R-IL) saying things like this…”if we see Obama there’s a shoot-on-sight order.” – altho I think he meant to say Osama…. not Obama.

    but no, i think folks here are just having a discussion and are concerned. I appreciate everyones comments and just wanted to extend the invite to those who are Obama supporters.

  26. Brackache
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh, sorry. Commencing with obligatory forehead slaps to purge shame.

  27. mark
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Two of the guys look like your prototypical inbred meth heads, and one – Shawn Adolf – looks like a clear-eyed ex-military type. It’s also worth noting that, while at least one of the two men had Nazi tattoos, Adolf just wore a ring with a swastika. He also chose to jump out of a six story window instead of dealing with the cops over a meth charge. At the risk of sounding like one of those conspiracy nuts, I wonder if it’s possible that Adolf was setting these two patsies up to take the fall after another, professional team, took a shot at Obama… Can’t be true, right?

  28. The Exterminator
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    One thing I’ve noticed over the years, is this: just because some place looks like a great spot for a carpenter ant nest, doesn’t mean there’s a carpenter ant nest there.

    In other words, though this’d be a great spot for a believable conspiracy that goes all the way to the top, it might just be an unforseen cluster of serious nazis.

    Crazy people happen.

  29. Robert
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Though I like your thinking, Exterminator, I have to say, I think human society is considerably more complex than that of the carpenter ant. I almost hate to say that though, because I have so much more respect for the carpenter ants.

  30. Posted August 27, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    No Charges Over ‘Obama Death Plot’
    1:10am UK, Wednesday August 27, 2008

    Police in the US say there is “insufficient evidence” to charge three men who were allegedly planning to assassinate Barack Obama.

    The men were arrested in Denver, Colorado, in connection with drugs and weapons offences. Sky News political editor Adam Boulton, in Denver, said one of the group is reported to have made comments alerting police to a potential assassination plot against the leader of the Democrats. But speaking at a press conference, police said the men were drug addicts. They said they were keeping an open mind about the investigation. US Attorney Troy Eid said: “There is insufficient evidence that there was any kind of a plot or a threat but we’ll keep an open mind as we look.

  31. Brachache
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink


    Okay, that’s some fishy shit.

    If I ever say anything really messed up on this blog, just waive it off by saying I’m a nicotine addict.

  32. The Exterminator
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    You’ve got carpenter ants.

  33. Robert
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The local police said all three had admitted to plotting to shoot Obama. That is sufficient in itself to charge the men on the threat charges, contrary to what the feds are saying. The physical evidence isn’t even necessary to get a conviction on that but would make the case a cinch. The fact that the feds came in to counter what the local police had already shared with the public suggests that they are working on orders to suppress the situation. Even for them to announce at this point that there isn’t enough to charge these guys is a violation of standard procedures. That’s why they kept saying they’d keep an “open mind.” It’s a PR move…an attempt to create and manage an image that contradicts already released details. Everything that was said in the phony press conference was PR. The constant repeating of “meth heads” and the avoidance of answering a single question put forth by the press indicates that the US Attorney was under orders to do only a PR cover.

    There are two primary reasons the federal threats charges have to be avoided. First, acknowledging the true seriousness of this situation would only benefit the intended target’s campaign in public opinion. Second, the suspects need to be released on bond so a cleaning crew can eliminate them easily through whatever means, most likely staged suicides. Shawn Adolph appears to be the cut-out at this point, so I would expect him to be taken out first. I’m sure it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    This is how organized crime operates when it has captured government entities, whether a municipal government such as the City of Chicago, a state government such as the State of Florida, or our federal government as we have witnessed with the Bush Administration.

    I’m not of the RFK view that organized crime should be eradicated, or even that it can be. I just believe it is necessary to keep it in check. Even most folks actively involved in organized crime believe it must be kept in check. However, the only way that is possible is with a reasonably informed public. We don’t have that in the US at this time. We NEED it, if we are to have any real chance of rescuing our democratic institutions. One guy, or even a fairly large group, can’t do it for us.

    So, as you can imagine, Brachache, I agree with you whole heartedly regarding one’s right to arm and defend themselves. Can you imagine a guy like me shooting my mouth off without some thought to the consequences?

  34. Brackache
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    So, as you can imagine, Brachache, I agree with you whole heartedly regarding one’s right to arm and defend themselves. Can you imagine a guy like me shooting my mouth off without some thought to the consequences?

    The two things that make me joyfully teary-eyed are baptisms, and liberals arming themselves.

  35. Robert
    Posted August 30, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re right Brachache, but you’ll also notice that not a single person outside of yourself had anything to say to my comments. It’s not really a mystery to me as to why.

  36. Robert
    Posted September 2, 2008 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Oh, and I’ll go ahead and let you think I am a liberal for the moment. I don’t mind. I’ve been called much worse things, which unfortunately have often also been much more accurate. But this is your moment, and I just don’t want to ruin it for you.

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