Mainstream media are now confirming, and going beyond, the initial reports of a possible assassination plot against Barack Obama and the arrest of two men.
Following up an earlier TV report, NBC in Denver is now reporting, "Sources tell NBC the two men had tattoos and jewelry popular with white supremacists." It also notes that an unidentified source tells NBC, "There is no reason for someone [with a criminal record] to have rifles with scopes."
My Web research has found a home address for one of the men, Tharin Robert Gartrell, in Lakewood, Co. Local media have revealed that he is a local DJ and goes under the name Tharin Roberts. I have located his myspace page--as Tharin Roberts--which confirms and expands all this and includes his photo, which lines up with that of Gartrell.
The Denver Post has just led its Web piece with: "Federal authorities have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon amid reports that a fortunate traffic stop by Aurora Police may have disrupted an assassination attempt against Barack Obama." Another local news site reports a possible third arrest. But it could also just be a bunch of meth heads talking trash.
My Web search found that Gartrell, 28, attended Fort Morgan High School in Colorado from 1995 to 1999.
Update from ABC News at 10 p.m. ET: "A witness interviewed in the case said one of suspects allegedly said the guns were to be used to kill the Illinois senator, but authorities do not believe the alleged threat put Obama in immediate danger.....Authorities told ABC News the men had tattoos of white supremacist images."
Another update from CBS4 in Denver: "CBS4 has now learned at least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges. CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were 'going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle ... sighted at 750 yards.'
"Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects 'was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.'"
Andrew Romano of Newsweek brings this amazing tidbit: "The hotel where the pair of would-be assassins' was staying: the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale. The hotel where NEWSWEEK's entire convention team is staying: the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale.
"Apparently, crack NEWSWEEK investigative reporter Mark Hosenball actually spied a couple of FBI agents lurking around the premises late last night. He's looking into the matter now, and we'll report back as soon as he hears more."
TMZ.com now has his mug shot (also see front page of Huff Post). AP has just now covered the story. If anyone wants to pay and search for his criminal and other records, go to:
Firearms and methamphetamine were seized. NBC: "An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, says there is concern about the arrest considering the Democratic National Convention kicked off in Denver on Monday. People convicted of a felony are not allowed to possess guns."
The earlier TV report from KUSA-TV in Denver kicked off with, "Federal authorities have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon amid reports that a fortunate traffic stop by Aurora Police may have disrupted an assassination attempt against Barack Obama.
The first man, identified by the station as Tharin Gartrell, 28, was charged with suspicion of being a felon in possession of a weapon after police found two rifles, a high-powered scope and methamphetamine in his car after the traffic stop.
When police accompanied Gartrell to his hotel in Glendale, a second man jumped from a window and was injured in a four-story fall, according to the station. That man was then arrested, but has not been identified by police.
Federal authorities are refusing to comment about why they believe the case is possibly tied to an assassination.
And more: "Its unclear precisely why authorities suspect the men were targeting Barack Obama, but one of the officer's who was briefed says he was told at least one of the suspects made statements to that effect. The Secret Service, ATF and the FBI are all involved in the investigation. A Secret Service spokesman says the agency is concerned by the proximity to the convention and the items found in the man's car."
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. He is editor of Editor & Publisher.
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