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The coming of an American Reichstag?

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

25 March 2010: A federal intelligence source reported in an interview last evening that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have been called in to “actively investigate incidents of violence and threats” made to at least ten Democrats and one Republican lawmaker since Sunday. Their involvement was reportedly requested by top House leadership and one unnamed, high-level White House official. According to this source, who agreed to speak to this writer under the strict condition of anonymity, “a ‘watch list’ has already been created that specifically names and turns their focus on various pro-life and tea-party organizations and individuals who are considered a threat to domestic security, continuity of government operations, and to the lives of lawmakers and their families.”

While published reports confirm that Capitol Police have been contacted and are addressing security concerns of lawmakers and the incidents of vandalism, the involvement of federal agencies has not been publicly disclosed, nor will it likely be on any official level. The reason, according to this source, is that high-level discussions between top lawmakers and agency heads are “exploring the application of the Patriot Act against any right-wing individual or group that poses a danger to government operations.” He added that “threat assessments and security measures for public assemblies at the Capitol, specifically focusing on conservative groups are being re-evaluated at the request of the White House and Democratic lawmakers.”

Dissemination of the list is obviously limited to avoid another “MIAC” episode, referring to the release of a document leaked from the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC).

According to this federal official, lawmakers and White House officials were stunned by the strong response against the health care bill, citing the protests at the Capitol. “Based on what I’ve heard, I don’t think they were expecting the type of response seen in not only the demonstrations, but in poll numbers and by conservative talk radio and television. “They have been monitoring all aspects of this situation, not just the physical assemblies,” he stated. “Watch lists are being created and updated to include anyone who appears to be organizing or acting as a galvanizing force behind the actual protesters.”

The media outlets have also been reporting the allegations of racial slurs and anti-gay remarks shouted at Representatives John Lewis, Andre Carson, and Barney Frank this weekend, supposedly during the protests of members of the Tea Party. According to this source, there does not appear to be any direct evidence of such behavior beyond the allegations themselves.

On Saturday, Capitol Police reportedly reviewed at least two videos – one from a cellular telephone and another from a video camera – that supposedly captured the event. “There was a contemporaneous review of audio and video at the site of the protest when they [Capitol Police] created a physical barrier for the lawmakers and when the comments were allegedly made. The officers were even instructed to make arrests, but could not find anything that supported the allegations rising to the level of disorderly conduct,” stated this source.