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FBI investigates threats to lawmakers

Associated Press / March 25, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating threats against lawmakers stemming from intense opposition to the health care overhaul law.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer said more than 10 Democratic lawmakers have reported incidents. The FBI and Capitol Police, Hoyer said, have briefed lawmakers on how to handle perceived security threats.

The FBI’s Washington field office said in a statement that all threats and incidents directed against members of Congress are taken seriously and are being investigated.

Representative Louise Slaughter, the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, reported that someone left her a voice mail threat that used the word “snipers.’’ In addition, she said, a brick was hurled through a window at her district office in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Protests swirled around the Capitol during debate on the health care overhaul last weekend. Demonstrators hurled racial slurs at several black lawmakers, and a protester spat at a black lawmaker.

While not directly criticizing Republican lawmakers, Hoyer said: “Any show of appreciation for such actions encourages such action.’’

Several Republicans stood on the second-floor balcony overlooking the Capitol cheering on the protesters and waving signs that said, “Kill the bill.’’