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Man with rifle, machete arrested for threatening ex-President Bush

George W. Bush

(Reuters) - A New York man sitting in a car that had a loaded rifle, machete and a container of gasoline was charged on Friday with threatening to kill George W. Bush after professing a romantic interest in the former president's oldest daughter, prosecutors said.

Benjamin Smith, 44, of Pittsford in upstate New York was arrested in Manhattan by the U.S. Secret Service, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

"Bush will get his," Smith screamed as he was taken into custody, according to the complaint. Later, when asked about his marital status, he told agents he was divorced and "working on a relationship with Barbara Bush."

At a preliminary hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Griswold told U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman the government believes Smith was referring to the former president's daughter and not Bush's mother, who shares the same name.

It is a crime under federal law to threaten a current or former president.

On Thursday, the man's mother called police to report she had found a threatening note in the home she shares with her son and that a rifle was also missing, the complaint said.

"I'm going to work for George W. Bush and the Pentagon," the note said, according to the government. "I have to slay a dragon and then Barbara Bush is mine."

The Secret Service tracked him using his cell phone to Manhattan, where they arrested him early Friday morning. It was not clear why Smith went to New York City or where the former president and his family were at the time.

Smith's defense lawyer, Peggy Cross-Goldenberg, said the note and Smith's outbursts did not constitute a "true threat."

The judge also conceded it was "unclear" a jury would find Smith guilty.

"Admittedly, there is some inconsistency in the notion that the way to win Barbara Bush's affections is to kill her father," Pitman said.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Edith Honan and Lisa Shumaker)

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Gammie February 03 2014 at 3:21 PM

President Bush please take care, there are crazy people everywhere. We love you and Ms. Laura and never want anything to happen to you. Thank you for helping to keep my family safe and I will pray that yours stay safe also.

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al_kalitta February 03 2014 at 4:42 PM

yup both are crazy

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you sweet thing February 02 2014 at 5:08 PM

Don't you DARE touch my President! After 911 he looked at all the quotes from previous presidents not to mention Hillary, Madeleine Albright, Nancy Pelosi, etc. etc. etc. and asked for a report on where these terrorists were training and found out it was in Iraq so he went after them (with the blessing of congress and the American people). His polls were so high dems squealed that if this kept up they would never again win an election so they began to trash him. Party before country. I was a liberal back then. Never again.

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you sweet thing February 02 2014 at 5:09 PM

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." --President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." --Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." -- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

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al_kalitta February 03 2014 at 4:43 PM

so you own your president ? hmmmm

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pattirarden1132 February 02 2014 at 5:07 PM

I believe the man needs help, at the same time he needs to be punished and not get by with his threat. At least his mom notified the authorites of his threat. In his mind he thinks it is right to get Barbara Bush the second as his.

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mkltmsck February 03 2014 at 12:38 PM

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that while this man needs to be removed from society, prison is probably not the right place for him. Perhaps he would fit in well at a psychiatric center.

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gunslinger5213 February 03 2014 at 2:46 PM

They put John Hinkley in a psychiatric unit as well, he tried to kill President Reagan. Now he is free to move about in the Williamsburg area all he wants, thanks to his mom's money and powerful lawyers. Is he any less threat to society? I do not believe so. This individual is damn near behaving the same way Hinkley did, except he isn't trying to kill a sitting President.

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al_kalitta February 02 2014 at 4:10 PM

monkey man

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Burt February 02 2014 at 3:51 PM


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Petprints February 02 2014 at 3:48 PM

I think Barbara bush would be flattered...

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schippanif February 02 2014 at 2:47 PM

definite mental case

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jdav31 February 02 2014 at 2:41 PM

If it were to happen to the present person that sits in the White House. He would be place so far back in a Jail that they would have to pump sunlight to him. As it is a Republican that he threatened al he will get is a slap on the hand ,told that he is a BAD BOY. then turned loos to try again.

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timothytd777 February 02 2014 at 3:56 PM

another jarhead with a jarhead mentality

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you sweet thing February 02 2014 at 5:10 PM

Thank GOD! Without those like him, little timmy would be a wet spot on the pavement.

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DCom73 February 02 2014 at 2:27 PM

Anti-Americans, Barrack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rod Clinton are 2 of the biggest threats the United States has. Joe Biden is just a circus clown, no threat there.

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geetar1870 February 02 2014 at 2:02 PM

"And apparently there has not been more [mental illness] gathered here [in relation to a former resident of the Oval Office] than when [George W. Bush] dined here alone."
-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (real President) (paraphrased).

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