Feds probe death threats against congressmen

October 21, 2011 7:38:10 AM PDT
An Internet death threat against Illinois congressman Bobby Schilling has the attention of Capital Police and the FBI.

Whoever put out a hit on the congressman is also threatening to kill dozens of other local and national political figures.

The online threat that offered a $75,000 reward for Schilling's assassination went viral.

Schilling learned about the threat via a Google alert Tuesday night. The next morning, Henry County Sheriff's deputies arrived at his house, and the threat is now under investigation by Capital Police and the FBI .

"I'm supposed to kind of lay low, not really go out in public," Schilling said. "The Sheriff's Department was at our house this morning, parked in our drive. I thought, 'Oh, boy!'"

The email states, "I will pay $75,000 for ASSASSINATING Illinois Congresswoman (sic) Bobby Schilling and any U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator and FBI, CIA and NSA DIRECTORS and their FAMILY MEMBERS regardless of their age.''

Since the shooting ambush of Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, authorities have been much more sensitive to threats.

The I-Team has found that whoever is behind the Schilling threat, claims to want many other people dead,numerous members of congress from Illinois and many other states, offering thousands of dollars to kill federal officers, to murder President Obama and his family or blow up any of these buildings including the Willis Tower in Chicago and in one post, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The I-Team identified three blog names and email addresses used by the suspect. The person has posted thousands of blatant death threats on blogs going back at least five years, more than 1,100 threatening posts just this month.

Schilling says he's been told the man who posted the threat is from California and has made threats like this in the past. The first term congressman, husband and father of 10 is the only person specifically named in the email.

"I'm pretty concerned. My wife is very concerned. It's a general threat to all members of Congress, but they specifically called my name out in the threat. You just don't know what people are thinking," Schilling said. "It's something we're not going to take lightly."

The Congressman went out to breakfast with a small group of friends, but was asked to cancel public appearances, including a news conference Tuesday for Moline firefighters.

He says federal authorities take the email messages seriously, especially in light of this year's shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

"After that event happened, they don't take it lightly," Schilling said.

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