PORTLAND – After a series of hostile threats this year, state officials have increased Gov. Kate Brown’s security detail.
Security has been tightened in the wake of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and threats the governor has received since calling for tighter gun laws, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
While not all security measures have been shared, some are visible, such as the additional member of the Dignitary Protection Unit. Brown’s office has also increased its unwillingness to release her public calendars in advance.
Kristen Grainger, Brown’s communications director, said threats to the governor are not new, but this year, comments have been more threatening than usual.
“Instead of voicing passionate opinions or dissent as part of exercising free speech, they express intent to cause her harm, ugly threats of physical violence and death,” Grainger said. “Potentially dangerous individuals have attempted to breach security perimeters on more than one occasion.”
Brown’s office has been in regular contact with the FBI, which is investigating threats, Grainger said.
Former governors and their aides said they recall serious threats, though nothing came of them. Former Gov. Barbara Roberts, the first woman elected to the state’s top office, said she had one man threaten to kill her. He sent five dates on which he was going to assassinate her, though Roberts said she didn’t know what he was mad about.
“Of course, nothing ever happened, but it’s not unusual for a governor to be threatened simply because their views on almost everything are so public,” she said.
Grainger said policies to protect Brown are constantly being reviewed for changes and that threats are not going to slow the administration down.
“She has had cause to feel apprehensive on occasion,” Grainger said of Brown. “But it’s clear she’s not going to let anything stop her from doing her job.”
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