The FBI is warning police across the country 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. It sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed.
Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group’s message, but fear the broad call for removal of top state officials could lead others to act out violently. At least two states beefed up security in response.
Gov. Haley Barbour’s office was closed for Good Friday, and staffers could not be reached for comment on whether the letter had been sent to him.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he received one of the letters but wasn’t overly alarmed.
“We get all kinds of, shall we say, ‘interesting’ mail, so it’s not out of the norm,” Pawlenty said Friday. “It got more attention because it went to so many governors.”
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 letters.
Governors whose offices reported getting the letters included Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chet Culver of Iowa, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and Gary Herbert of Utah.
In Nevada, screening machines for visitors and packages were added to the main entrance to the state capital as a precaution.