Obama Assassination Plot Foiled

Two skinheads who were planning a national killing spree, culminating with a drive-by shooting of Barack Obama, have been arrested.

This undated photo obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Daniel Cowart, 20 of Bells, Tenn. holding a weapon. Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday Oct. 27, 2008. In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. (AP Photo)

This undated photo obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Daniel Cowart, 20 of Bells, Tenn. holding a weapon. Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday Oct. 27, 2008. In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. (AP Photo)

In all, the two men whom officials describe as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people — 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.  The spree, which initially targeted an unidentified predominantly African-American school, was to end with the two men driving toward Obama, “shooting at him from the windows,” the court documents show. “Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt,” the court complaint states. “Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt.”

[…]

Sheriffs’ deputies in Crockett County, Tenn., arrested the two suspects — Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark. — Oct. 22 on unspecified charges. “Once we arrested the defendants and suspected they had violated federal law, we immediately contacted federal authorities,” said Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce.

The two were charged by federal authorities Monday with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.

Cowart and Schlesselman are being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.

[….]

At this point, there does not appear to be any formal assassination plan, Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said. “Whether or not they had the capability or the wherewithal to carry out an attack remains to be seen,” he said. Zahren said the statements about the assassination came out in interviews after the men were arrested last week. The Secret Service became involved in the investigation once it was clear that an Obama assassination attempt was part of this violent far-reaching plot. “We don’t discount anything,” Zahren said, adding that it’s one thing for the defendants to make statements, but it’s not the same as having an organized assassination plan.

From the sounds of it, Obama was in little danger.  He’s well protected and unlikely to be endangered by morons.  Schoolchildren and other random civilians, however, are not so lucky.

UPDATE: Jules Crittenden has some amusing commentary on the photo of Cowart, whom he dubs AndrogyNazi. I had a similar reaction myself although, I stress, not at all Stephen Green‘s.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Race and Politics, US Politics, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    I was just about to post “That’s the gayest looking neo-nazi I’ve ever seen”, before I saw your update.

  2. Drew says:

    Cowart………rhymes with coward. May these cretins rot in jail for a long, long time.

  3. jeff b says:

    Nice lipstick, Adolph. Have fun in jail.

  4. Jim Henley says:

    Did they really have a “plan,” or was that the meth talking?

    Seriously, we’ve seen so many “terrorism” cases kind of fall apart on examination over the last few years that it’s worth waiting until more reportng is in.

  5. Libby says:

    I think that people who plan to do this are small minded when they decide to do this. being a neo Nazi is when you really have nothing better to do bu that people who are not like yourself. That would be like me hating my sister because she looked different from myself, or talked differently. I would have liked to think that all American people would be over this neo Nazi BS. We all have come from different backgrounds, different countries, and raised with different beliefs. We all need to grow up and change with the world because the world isn’t waiting for us.

  6. Floyd says:

    Any other time these morons would get no news coverage, couldn’t they find another little girl who scratched her face for attention?