Democratic Congress members are getting lessons from the FBI on how to handle threats such as several directed at their colleagues, including bricks hurled through windows and menacing obscenity-laced phone messages left for those who supported sweeping federal health care legislation.
Windows were shattered at four Democratic offices in New York, Arizona and Kansas and at least 10 members of Congress have reported some sort of threats, leaders said. No arrests had been made as of Wednesday, but the FBI is investigating.
Lawmakers who feel they are at risk will be "getting attention from the proper authorities," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who denounced the threats and vandalism at a news conference. He declined to say whether any are receiving extra security. Normally only those in leadership positions have personal security guards.
The brick flung through the window of a county Democratic Party office in Rochester, N.Y., over the weekend had a note attached: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice," roughly quoting 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
A New York congresswoman whose office window also was smashed with a brick accused the Republican leadership of failing to denounce attacks against lawmakers. The vandalism happened at Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter's district office in Niagara Falls early Friday, two days before the House passed the health care overhaul bill.