Apr 2, 2010 11:56 AM by Melissa Canone

Anti-Government Group Call To Remove Governors

WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI is warning police across the country
that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from
office could provoke violence.
The group called the Guardians of the free Republics wants to
"restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the
government, according to its Web site.
Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group's
message, but fear the broad call for removing top state officials
could lead others to act out violently.
As of Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters
saying if they don't leave office within three days they will be
removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and
the Department of Homeland Security. The note was obtained by The
Associated Press.
The FBI expects all 50 governors will eventually receive such
Governors whose offices reported receiving the letters included
Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chet
Culver of Iowa, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Jim Gibbons of Nevada,
and Gary Herbert of Utah, where officials stepped up security in
response to the letter.
In Nevada, screening machines for visitors and packages were
added to the main entrance to the state Capitol as a precaution
after Gibbons received one of the letters.
"We're not really overly concerned, but at the same time we
don't want to sit back and do nothing and regret it," Deputy Chief
of Staff Lynn Hettrick said.
Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said federal authorities had
alerted the governor that such a letter might be coming, and it
arrived Monday or Tuesday. Boyd, who described the letter as
"non-threatening," said it was opened by a staffer and
immediately turned over to the Michigan State Police.
Jindal's office confirmed the governor had received one of the
letters and directed questions to the Louisiana State Police.
"They called us as they do for any letter that's out of the
norm," said Lt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman.
He declined to provide specifics about the letter, but said,
"not knowing the group and the information contained in the letter
warranted state police to review it."
The FBI warning comes at a time of heightened attention to
far-right extremist groups after the arrest of nine Christian
militia members last weekend accused of plotting violence.
In explaining the letters sent to the governors, the
intelligence note says officials have no specific knowledge of
plans to use violence, but they caution police to be aware in case
other individuals interpret the letters "as a justification for
violence or other criminal actions."
The FBI associated the letter with "sovereign citizens," most
of whom believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen,
like paying taxes or needing a government license to drive. A small
number of these people are armed and resort to violence, according
to the intelligence report.
Last weekend, the FBI conducted raids on suspected members of a
Christian militia in the Midwest that was allegedly planning to
kill police officers. In the past year, federal agents have seen an
increase in "chatter" from an array of domestic extremist groups,
which can include radical self-styled militias, white separatists
or extreme civil libertarians and sovereign citizens.


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