Nevada senator: Bundy ranch militia are ‘domestic terrorists’

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Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. speaks to the news media in 2011. (Credit: CNN)

LAS VEGAS — In a blunt exchange that hit on a major American divide, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, stood by his comments that militia groups involved in a ranch standoff are “domestic terrorists,” while the state’s Republican senator, Dean Heller, replied that he considers them “patriots.”

The two men appeared Friday afternoon on KSNV’s “What’s Your Point?” question-and-answer show.

The first question went to Reid, about his comments that a few hundred people protesting and blocking federal action against rancher Cliven Bundy are “domestic terrorists.”

“What did you mean by that?” co-host Amy Tarkanian asked.

“Just what I said,” Reid responded.

The Democrat later clarified that he was not talking about Bundy himself necessarily, but about outside individuals who traveled to the area in the recent days.

The standoff on the dusty Nevada land has been building for decades, as the federal government has worked to block Bundy’s cattle from grazing on public land. The family has raised cattle in the area for generations, but 20 years ago the land they used was declared off limits in order to protect a desert tortoise.

Bundy has continued grazing anyway, insisting he is within his rights. Last week the issue hit a new hot point when hundreds of self-described militia groups came to Bundy’s land to protest federal action and help him defend his grazing ability.

That’s who Reid described as “domestic terrorists”.

“600 people came armed, they had practiced, they had maneuvered… they set up snipers in strategic locations… they had automatic weapon,” the leading Democrat said Friday. “And they boasted about the fact they put women and children… so they would get hit first.”

“If there were ever an example of people who were domestic violent terrorist wannabes, these are the guys,” Reid concluded.

Heller, sitting inches away from Reid in the television studio, rejected the thought. “What Senator Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots,” he said.

Reid interrupted. “These people think they’re patriots, they’re not,” the majority leader insisted. “If they’re patriots, we’re in very big trouble.”

His Republican colleague jumped back in. “Well, it’s a pretty broad brush,” Heller responded. “You have Boy Scouts out there. You have veterans at the event, you have grandparents at the event. As long as they’re not promoting violence…”

“Promoting violence?” Reid asked. “Sniper rifles…. Grandmothers? Boy Scouts? I hope not.”

The Silver State’s two U.S. senators never raised their voices and the dispute kept a respectful tone. But the disagreement fell across sharp philosophical lines that have defined some of the most passionate feelings in modern American politics. Are militia and anti-government groups a threat to American life? Or is the federal government the problem?

Reid insisted it was the former, that protestors at the ranch were threatening U.S. government workers. And he described ranch owner Bundy as a man who hasn’t paid his taxes and sees Washington as a foreign power.

Heller spoke of the situation as a rancher trying to survive government regulation and facing an “army” sent in by the United States to dislodge his cattle.

“There was no army,” Reid responded.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the primary agency involved, has not indicated what its next move will be in the standoff.

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19 comments

  • dapandico

    Maj Hassan committed workplace violence at Fort Hood. The Feds send in armed guards instead of filing a lien against Mr. Bundy. The media now has their marching orders to continue the domestic terrorists talking point. The feds had the automatic weapons. I am shocked Land Deal Reid didn’t mention the Koch brothers.

  • Jim Davis

    The ONLY land cattlemen have FREE access to for grazing is their own. If they use land owned by others, whether individuals or the government, they have to pay for it. An employer doesn’t have the right to use employees for free. A manufacturer doesn’t have a right to use another’s production plant for free. Bundy has to pay just like the rest of us do. He’s an embarrassment to cattlemen who know this is the case. The wacko militia men who support his cause do NOT represent American cattlemen. We’re not fans of big government, but he is out of line. Just seize his cattle at auction, or get a court order allowing seizure from whomever buys it. Teach the jerk a lesson.

  • dapandico

    Bundy hasn’t paid his taxes?? Why wasn’t the IRS sent in?? Reid is just spouting off talking points for the media and LIV’s.

    • John Avignone

      No, Bundy hasn’t paid grazing fees. Since 1993. The BLM manages grazing on federal land, so the BLM tried to collect. Now, is there some part of these simple facts that’s still confusing you?

  • William Schlosser

    Why is it that when i was in Iraq, attacking what i later realized were innocent people, you praised me. But now that i am home, and am actually defending peoples rights instead of taking them away, now you call me a terrorist? In iraq i was a TERRORIST now i am a constitutional defender of your GOD given rights.

    • John Avignone

      It’s really very simple, just like you. You are a domestic terrorist because you are using the threat of violence against duly authorized federal agents and in defense of a freeloading scofflaw.

  • Dixie Suzan Davis

    Quote — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, stood by his comments that militia groups involved in a ranch standoff are “domestic terrorists,” —
    So is The Honorable Hairy Reid speaking in his capacity and with the authority of his office as Senate Majority leader of the US Senate and also as a spokesman for the Obama administration??? OR, is Hairy Reid speaking as a private person and not with the authority of the office of which he is the occupant?
    Id Hairy Reid speaks as a private person he is publicly stating and spreading slanderous and libelous speech agains a private person, ranch owner Cliven Bundy. As such Hairy Reids slanders and libels are actionable in civil court for public destruction of the property Cliven Bundy has in his good name.
    If The Honorable Hairy Reid speaks with the authority of the Federal civli govenment and with the authority of his office as Senate Majority leader of the US government, then it appears The Honorable Hairy Reid is issuing a public proclamation of outlawry upon Cliven Bundy.
    To OUTLAW. [L. Lat. utlagare, exlegare.’] = In practice. To put out of the law, or out of the protection of the law. In criminal law, outlawry is in the nature of a punishment, and its effect in all cases is to disable the party outlawed from enforcing any of his legal rights in a court of justice.
    So is Cliven Bundy now out of the protections of law as a Federal out law? Can anyone or everyone kill Cliven Bundy as such and have immunity from prosecution for so doing? Is Cliven Bundy now the American equivalent of Osama bin Laden only as a domestic terrorist? Are all those on the Bundy ranch, estimated to be 1,000 all domestic terrorists and outlaws as well? Is there a reward for killing any one of them or all of them including Cliven Bundy?
    If Cliven Bundy is killed and not an outlaw would there be any criminal culpability residing in Hairy Reid?

    • John Avignone

      Cilven Bundy had his day in court. Many times. Beginning in 1993. He lost every time. He then chose to ignore all of these rulings. Now, which part of this history of Bundy idiocy is it you can’t quite comprehend?

  • Edward Bruce Patrovsky

    Susan, read paragraph 6 of the article. Senator Reid wasn’t calling Cliven Bundy a domestic terrorist. He’s merely a moocher who won’t pay his grazing fees of obey court orders to remove his livestock. Reid was referring to some of the crazies who came out to obstruct the court-ordered impoundment of Bundy’s livestock. Some of them were photographed crouched down behind an I15 overpass, aiming their high-powered rifles at law enforcement officers inside the BLM compound. That, I consider “Domestic terrorism”.

    • Dawn Kinsey-Jeffers

      And that would be why YOU are the major problem in this country! Are you so friggin’ pathetic that you think it’s perfectly fine for the United States government to send heavily armed men, assault vehicles, and helicopters with snipers to attack a rancher?! For letting his cattle graze?! Then apparently cattle are also domestic terrorists?! The people who came out to support Mr. Bundy, were there and armed BECAUSE of the threat from the government controlled BLM who were WAY out of bounds in their actions! You are just another example of a completely brainwashed idiot who will willingly march in step to a communist regime. Why don’t you and your kind move on over to China and leave OUR country the way it is supposed to be- FREE!

  • Mitch Beales

    “Are militia and anti-government groups a threat to American life? Or is the federal government the problem?” These are not mutually exclusive. Militia and anti-government groups are a threat to American life regardless of whether or not the federal government is a problem.

  • Rob Conklin

    Our Govt are the biggest terrorists.. they are the ones taking away our freedoms. We have no fears or threats to us, except for what our screwed up poilticians do to us.

  • Tom Sanders

    PEOPLE…..Harry Reid gave $14,000 to his daughter out of campaine cash which is illegal and is now being investigated for using the publics tax money for politcal attack ads which is illegal….the guy is a outright criminal…just uses the taxpayer as his personal bank.

  • Tom Sanders

    This is the problem with democrats…they get elected and then think their agenda is so important that they can do anything……violate any law…the end justifies the means.

Comments are closed.