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FBI lists death threats against lawmakers

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FBI lists death threats against lawmakers
Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. (UPI Photo/Ron Sachs/Pool) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- U.S. senators and representatives were threatened with assassination, bodily harm and other types of injuries, an FBI investigation indicates.

Threats against lawmakers were detailed in a 2009 document provided to Politico through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer said threats against congressional members were up considerably in the first few months of 2010.

Among the threats documented by the FBI:

-- Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were threatened with assassination.

-- Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas, were warned of bodily harm.

-- Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., was told her throat would be cut.

While each case is different, the FBI documents tracked several common characteristics. Most of the suspects are men who own guns and several have been treated for mental illness. Most also have undergone some major life experience, such an illness or job loss, Politico reported.

Capitol Police made 3,626 mountain bike patrols around House and Senate office buildings in 2009, up from 3,500 from fiscal year 2008, Politico reported. Officers responded to 142 suspicious packages and conducted 1,808 bomb sweeps in 2009, compared with 34 suspicious packages and 970 bomb sweeps the year before.

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"We have about 12 open cases at any given time, but most of those are relatively low threat, meaning there's no specificity to them," Gainer told the Washington publication. "But if there's a serious threat, we're going to have a pretty stern response."

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