April 15th, 2009
08:23 PM ET
5 years ago

A box of tea forces White House into lockdown

 Uniformed members of the Secret Service are seen outside the White House after a suspicious package was tossed over the fence onto the White House grounds.
Uniformed members of the Secret Service are seen outside the White House after a suspicious package was tossed over the fence onto the White House grounds.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secret Service officers were scurrying to close the North Lawn of the White House Wednesday afternoon because of a suspicious package and it appeared that trouble was brewing.

But it turned out that nothing more was brewing than an innocent little box of, yes, tea bags.

The security alert started around 2 p.m. ET, when an unidentified person tossed the box over the gate of the White House and it landed on President Obama's lawn with a thud.

Journalists were quickly banned from moving outside of the press briefing room, and hundreds of protesters gathered for a "Tax Day Tea Party" were quickly shooed out of Lafayette Park as a security robot inspected the package closely.
After about a half hour of high alert, a Secret Service official told CNN the "suspicious package" was merely some tea bags. So the threat was over, and so was the anti-Obama protest.

Updated: 5:05 p.m.


Filed under: Tea Party movement • White House
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. Sunshine

    Why are all of you so blind! This is not about party affiliation but about this country going to hell in a hand-basket! I was a Clinton supporter and I'll tell you I'm becoming more republican EVERYTIME O speaks! Open your eyes people and it was probably one of Obama's lacky's throwing the box over! Hiter re-incarnated! I'm beginning to to believe in the end in 2012–Obama's pushing for the end!

    April 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Gracie

    Where were all these protesting bozos when BUSH and their Republican Leaders were squandering ten billions a month on a pointless war in Iraq costing $10 billion a month and wasting both blood and lives??

    95% of these clowns don't even know the TRUE meaning of the word tea-bagging, otherwise they'd feel mighty ignorant and foolish.

    Or when he doled out 350 BILLION before the end of his reign of terror in the TARP bailouts…with ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY???! Gimme an f'ing BREAK! What a bunch of HYPOCRITES!!!

    Obama's given 95% of Americans a small tax break, and these imbeciles are whining about a few lousy more bucks from the mega-rich!! LAME!!

    April 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. American

    TEA parties are happening all over the country and have nothing to do with "Obama" himself but all those in Politics that have decided what they should do with my money and my life for years now Those on the receiving end have no complaints only that they want MORE.

    April 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Mr. Thompson

    Interesting that the Republicans never protested war based on faulty intelligence, never protested horrible conditions at veterans' hospitals, never protested the wiretapping and other destruction of civil liberties, never protested Bush's extremely high budgets (which left the cost of the war out of them), never protested the first bailout which came under Bush... they never made a peep about ANY of that, and often called the people who did "un-American."

    But what does it take to finally get them out of their holes and screaming in the streets? A 3% tax hike on income above $250,000 for the few individuals who make that much.

    Nice to know what motivates these people. Not conscience, not morality, not the liberty which they'll happily give away if a Republican's the one taking it. Nope... the only thing that'll get them out there is greed, during a time of national financial crisis. Well, I guess now we know where their hearts are at.

    April 15, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Claude

    All the tea partiers need to go get themselves some jobs and make some money so they'll have income to pay taxes on. How is it they find the time to raise all this hell and still hold down a job. If one of them worked for me and took time off for this mess, I would fire them. Sounds like a bunch of people who want something for nothing.

    April 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Mel of Alexandria

    Gimmick after stupid gimmick, the Republican right wing-nuts are hoping that one of their "hail Marys" will produce something that can take hold and help in the rebuilding of a party that has lost its compass and is hopelessly adrift. All they have been doing is focusing on how they can regain power instead of trying to find a way to help us get back on our feet.
    Stay adrift, after a while you will be so disoriented that you will be the laughing stock of all but the nuts.

    April 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Get Well Soon GOP

    I wonder if it scared the first family. The poor grand mom must have been home and wondering what the heck was going on. The GOP sure is wild.

    April 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. frank

    I bet all those tea beggers didn't pay their taxes. IRS needs to hunt them down and throw away the key. I smell audit.

    April 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Tax Cuts for the Employers Please

    This has to due with the fact that Obama has spent more in 70 some days than Bush did in eight years. Uh, lets spend more money to get out of this recession. How ludicrous!! We will take over for private businesses because we are so good at not operating in the RED. Yeah right!! These guys are a bunch of power hungry creeps that have no experience running a profitable business and have lived off the public dime most of their lives. The funniest part about it is that a lot of ignorant people voted for them.

    April 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Janine

    This is so funny. People are protesting paying taxes (something that they've always done). Wow. Do these people have jobs????

    April 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. gl, Pittsburgh

    This tea party is bring all the racist nuts out just like at Palin rallies. White people are the main once at this rea party rallies. Please get over yourself your race is not the only race that can run the white house. Where were you big mouth for the last 8 years when your White President was spending like there were no tomorrow.

    April 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Ethan

    Real smart.

    April 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. enlightened voter who can actually think for themselves and not blindly follow like sheep

    I know more than 37 people who have vowed to vote against dimocrats after seeing what they do when they seize control.

    Even Bush is better than president pelosi, reid and obama

    and as far as this stunt costing the taxpayers money, just add it to the $1.3 trillion for this year, it's less than a rounding error at this point.

    April 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Susan

    Those people who are calling out Obama for taking away rights should have been a little more alert under Bush/Cheney, who really WERE out there scuttling the Constitution as fast as they could. Did you not know they were spying on all of us? Wanted to CLOSE the national mall to any and all gatherings? Jailing innocent people who they then tortured? Spending money hand over fist to their no-bid war contractor buddies, their oil friends (you don't see the oil industry needing help, do you?) and bailing out the big banks? And Obama gets the heat for all this crap? Nonsense. Sour grapes, and nonsense (and a little racism, too, I think.)

    April 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Amy

    GOP= Pathetic

    April 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Watchful Cowboy

    I have written to my elected official – several times and feel pretty good about it – they don't always do what I say but they always respond – even if a form letter to let me know they received my letter – system works.

    April 15, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. debinaz

    maybe the president will realize that these tea partys are about we the people....all the partys not just republicans as i am a democrat.....stop spending our money washington.......

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. frank

    Does anybody remember that the Bush Dynasty rewarded bad behavior for eight years, no body complained, so what's all the fuss about now. They believed in corporate welfare.

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Larry from RI

    I thought I heard the sound of a squeaky wheel and broken record.

    This "Astro-turf roots" event brought to you by Dick Armey, the GOP and FAUX news.

    "Hundreds of protesters"? That is a National Mandate (in Hannity's world)

    If that is all these talking heads could muster it doesn't speak well for the popularity of their cause now does it?

    Many chuckles

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. R

    Hmm! If these people are disgusted with taxes why don't they give back the slight increase in their pay check each month to the IRS.

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. JV

    The George Bush era is the past! Better to focus on the present.

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Mark

    @ Doug, New Jersey......Are you really that naive when you throw a box onto the lawn of the most powerful person in the world, what do you think is going to happen? And I would LOVE to see the order instructing DHS to arrest anyone with tea...

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Beverly

    Bravo Mr. Thompson. Very eloquent and accurate post.

    April 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. soulstar

    hypocricy at it's best...where were all these republicans and libertarians when bush was thrashing the economy, wasting tax payers' money, and giving coperations unbelievable breaks??? just say it: they are protesting obama because of one thing, and i'll let you figure it out for yourself.

    April 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Pat F

    I disagree, Ray Ray, about the auto companies. The domestic auto companies have been on top for quality for several years now. Lots of Detroit bashers are just stuck in the 1980s.

    I get really sick of crocodile tears from liberals about helping the working class, when everyone is in such a hurry to sell Detroit down the river. Jerks in Toyotas and Hondas with Obama bumper stickers – it's a disgrace that such hypocrits are allowed to drive.

    April 15, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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