Sunday, May 30, 2010

'Jesuits' written on threat to S.C. Attorney General - and Governor Candidate, Henry McMaster

'Jesuits' written on threat
SLED agents guarding McMaster full time



By Bo Petersen

The Post and Courier

Saturday, May 29, 2010
11 Comment(s)
From the teller window, the midday drop-box deposit looked mundane. The mysterious reference to "Jesuits" on the note wasn't. Neither was the death threat against Henry McMaster, the state's attorney general and a candidate for governor.

The note has State Law Enforcement Division agents guarding McMaster around the clock and asking the public for help to identify the person who dropped the note.

The note was put into the box at Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union on Dorchester Road at 11 a.m. on May 18, in the middle of a busy Tuesday.

Henry McMaster is under 24-hour SLED guard after a note that threatened his life was put in a credit union drop box.

To offer tips


Persons with information regarding any individual who has made threats regarding S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster are asked to contact the State Law Enforcement Division, 803-896-7133.


In an effort to find the person, state police Friday released images from surveillance cameras, after identifying others in a line of customers who used the box.

They also released a single word from the note, "Jesuits," hoping it might help the identification. Jesuits, the Society of Jesus, are an evangelizing and teaching order of Roman Catholic priests, who have been nicknamed "God's marines."

The note did not mention specific times or locations that McMaster might be in danger, SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd said.

Mark Plowden, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said agents have been assigned to McMaster since Tuesday.

Serious threats against public officials "unfortunately are made a lot more than anyone would like to see," Lloyd said. Assessing the seriousness of threats is a routine business at the agency.

"Until contact is made, or an arrest is made, we treat them as if they are a real danger." This threat, he said, "we took pretty seriously from the start."

"When you are the state's top prosecutor, sometimes these things come with the territory," Plowden said. "We have complete faith in SLED's ability to handle the situation."

Credit union officials declined to comment, saying that all question were to be referred to SLED.
McMaster, one of four candidates seeking the GOP nomination for governor, was in the Charleston area on Wednesday, meeting with former county Republican Party chairmen.

He held a fundraiser in Columbia on Thursday -- his 63rd birthday -- and was expected to travel to Myrtle Beach on Friday to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game.

The two-term Republican does not typically have a security detail, though he could request one if he felt it necessary, Lloyd said.

Lloyd has declined to say how many agents are with McMaster, but did say his agents either drive McMaster or are with him at all times, even while he travels around the state to campaign events.
When asked if McMaster would be asked to reimburse SLED for its expenses in transporting him to political events, Lloyd said the state police would bear the full cost of the security.

"He's still the attorney general. If there's a threat against the attorney general, we'll protect him," Lloyd said.
"Our job is to assess the threat, run the investigation and make sure the protectee is safe," he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or bpetersen@postandcourier.com.
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