April 15th, 2009
08:23 PM ET
9 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. ADLord


    No it is not OK and it is not a double standard. The guy who threw his shoes at Bush WENT TO JAIL. What is a double-standard is to waste our tax dollars and commit massive generational theft, then to hold 'tea-parties' complaining about another party wasting our tax dollars. Where were these people when Bush ruined our economy and mortgaged our kid’s futures? They were supporting our president because that is the 'patriotic thing to do'. But now that our president is a Democrat (and black no less) supporting the president is no longer patriotic. THAT is a double-standard.

    It also makes me sick that they are holding tea-parties. As if they had some sort of connection or camaraderie with our revolutionary fore-fathers. Before they were called conservatives, they were called LOYALISTS.

    April 15, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Gary S.C.

    And the CEO of the Lipton Company is just setting back laughing.

    April 15, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Dejah Thoris

    The wealthy folks at FOX and their GOP owners are using average americans for some vendetta. What i want to know is why Republicans and right-wingers don't want to pay their taxes. The rest of us do because we know that this is government of, by and for the people - and people need to pay for the services that all of us use. But, apparently Fox News, Goppers and right-wingers are not patriotic. They do not love their country and by their actions, they show how much they hate most of America.

    April 15, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Chris

    The "Teabaggers" have got their history all mixed up. Their movement has more in common with the "Whiskey Rebellion" then it does with the "Boston Tea Party". The "Whiskey Rebellion" was about a group of angry American citizens protesting a tax passed by their duly elected representatives. It was put down by no less then George Washington himself, because he rightly saw such movements as a threat against the democratic process itself. As so many others have pointed out, the "Boston Tea Party" was not a protest against taxes but rather a protest against taxation without representation. The tea taxes was unilaterally imposed by the British Monarchy and the colonies were denied any input whatsoever. The "Boston Tea Party" was a protest against tyranny. The "Whiskey Rebellion" and this moden Tea Party movement is a protest about being on the losing side of a fair vote.

    April 15, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Where were the tea parties for the last 8 years? When Clinton left office, we had a surplus. When Bush left, we had a massive deficit. Do the math.

    April 15, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Jon in CA

    @ Tulsa says,

    "President Obama is a constitutional lawyer who has sworn to defend and preserve our constitution."

    Yeah... just like he was defending the 2nd Amendment when he sided AGAINST gun-ownership in DC?

    Is Obama preserving the Constitution when he nationalizes banks and auto companies?

    Are we to "trust" him to defend the Country when he travels abroad apologizing to other nations, calling American "cynical", and bows to the Saudis?

    Will Obama be protecting us when he & democrats grant amnesty to 20+ million illegal aliens?

    Is Obama preserving the law when his Administration is prosecuting a witch-hunt against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio because the Sheriff actively rounds up and detains illegal aliens??

    April 15, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. HouseDiva

    The only reason that we even know about this "tea party" nonsense is because it's funded and organized by the corporate giants and the RNC otherwise the news media wouldn't even cover it.

    where was the media when people were protesting the Iraq war by the millions? THAT"S RIGHT...where were you CNN???

    and if we were still under the bush adm. those tea baggers would have been confined to free speech zones, beaten, and pepper sprayed far away where no one could see or hear them.

    no arrest is the biggest indicator that the wealthy republicans are behind the tea party. if democrats came out to protest the republicans would have staged riots in the mist of a peaceful protest just to overshadow the democrats message of protest..

    how stupid do they think we are?

    April 15, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Helena

    What has happened to the Republican party? Do they realize their are children living in the White House? I hope they catch the culprits and jail them!

    April 15, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Steph

    So, these Rethuglicans are now fine with throwing things at the leader of the free world. Aren't these the same people who were outraged during the Iraqi shoe-throwing incident? Didn't they say anyone who insulted the President during wartime was anti-American? Hypocrites!

    April 15, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Joe Terrogano

    Here is my response to the Tea Party:

    Forbes ranked the recent Presidents and prosperity in this country on 7/21/04. The top four, in order, were Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and Reagan. How about recessions? 2001-2003 (G.W. Bush); 1990-1991(G.H.Bush); 1980-1982 (Carter/Reagan); 1973-1975 (Nixon/Ford). Any patterns here? These are facts, not spin. Look them up. Republicans have had many chances. You be the judge of their economic wisdom!

    April 15, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Tulsa L

    hey all the hoopla with tea bags is coming from the republicans, whinning and complaining again, thats all they know ......... put all the tea bag protesters around the country today in an election booth and it wouldn't be enough to win any republicans a seat in Congress or the Senate or give them the Presidency or VP......... when you can come up with something subtantial to fix the problems of this country besideswhinning and complaining and tax cuts for the Rich and big business......then we might listen to you......

    April 15, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. Had It

    How childish. Nothing accomplished except to waste tea.

    April 15, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. michaelam

    Just back from California's Capitol: The majority of those attending today's "Tea Party" were older, White-Anglo, Protestants……no surprise there, and didn’t even know what they were really protesting until some speaker would say our President’s name and everyone would boo or wave their signs frantically. Then we had the bikers…….yes, the Capitol looked more like the Torch Club (a club in Sacramento, Ca.) on a Sunday or the Toy run in December. Three people shared a full, complete set of teeth. Then we had the “silly, willy’s,” folks dressed up as Betsy Ross, Native Americans, and “Qakers.” Oh, and some fashion queen was wearing Lipton Tea bags as earings......yeah!

    Obviously, it comes as no surprise that I do not support any rhetoric these people were selling. However, it did make for some great, lunchtime, entertainment. BTW……not to make you anti-government types even more paranoid, but the CHP and Sac P.D. were passing around fliers among each other that posted several anti-gov. types that they were closely watching.

    I love seeing my tax dollars at work!

    April 15, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. HouseDiva

    I ready to go downtown to the tea baggers protest here in st. louis with a huge sign asking where are the black people, and where were you morons when bush was handing out trillion dollar contracts to black water and halliburton that all got squandered???

    bitter people deserve their bitter tea...their days of robbing the poor man so that the rich man can buy another yacht for his mistress days are over!

    I hope Obama taxes the hell out of the wealthy just so we can get back everything that they have taken from us...including freedom!

    April 15, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. ginger

    This tea bag thing is just plain stupid. I could see if you had a better plan than the Presidents but you don't.

    My husband earns $68,700 per year and he received his tax break in his last paycheck. This will continue until 2010. I bet 99.9% of these tea baggers earn less than 75k a year.

    By the way, my water, gas and electric has been going up ever since I was old enough to pay the bill. Please find an arguement that's real and not trumped up.

    April 15, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Viet Vet

    Your Federal Taxes do not pay for State police, county police or your home town police It does not pay for your fire departments – state taxes , county taxes (property tax), and city taxes pay for those.

    If you have large construction projects (bridges for example) or the federal highways (Interstate for example) the feds may provde funding)
    Remember the Bridge to Nowhere. Know who receives your hard earned dollars. So also teabag your state

    April 15, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. carol

    I am outraged by the statement president Obama made concerning the itemized taxes... His answer was that most American's won't understand what everything means... Why don't he let the people determine what "we" understand and what "we" don't understand? It's more proof that government wants American's to be ignorant to what is going on in American politics. Stop hiding the truth from Americans! There is something to be said of the old saying: "the truth shall set you free".
    I am aware that each year the government must submit a budget for the next year. If the previous year's budget was not used fully by year end the money is spent on unnessessary things in order to ask for more money for the next year. This is a major problem in our government! Each year the budget is increased because of wasteful spending. It is rediculous and it must stop... Government MUST make available to the public an itemized bill for all state and federal spending and the press could help by airing some of the wasteful spending on a regular basis... "similar to the coverage that was given of the high profile people who were on the unpaid taxes list".

    April 15, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Sharon

    OBAMA–The American people have always had the right to protest–to burn flag (you know-like your friend Wm. Ayers)–to show their dislike regarding American politics! However, you (Obama) are the first to have one of your staffers (homeland security) to cry 'RIGHT WINGERS ARE OUT OF HAND!

    The Vietnam protesters stood and ranted and ranted in the streets–on college campuses–people would sit and refuse to remove and had to be phsycially removed by police.

    Now Mr. President–your homeland security lady cries and sounds the alarm of the right winges posing a threat to your Administration–well that doesn't say much for the feminist movement!

    Obama do no how it looks across the world when the HOMELAND SECURITY IS AFRAID OF THE RIGHT WINGERS OF AMERICA!

    April 15, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Belle1


    I am a Democrat that attended a tea party in Las Vegas. You falsely say they are anti tax...and anti Obama. They aren't.

    What did President Obama Promise?
    No New Taxes
    Fiscal Responsibility
    No more politics as usual
    No more Pork
    No more Lobbyists

    What have we received? OUT OF CONTROL SPENDING by the House and Senate. The Tea Party is about We the People...all of us.

    Don't worry though...pink slips will start arriving for the House and Senate in 2010. They are not listening, and neither is CNN.

    April 15, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. Lesley Anne

    Lois is right. If we want to change government, we need to change who we send to run it. Corporate interests and special interest contributions are what have been pushing any agenda in Washington. I also agree with bloggers who ask what these people were doing and what they were drinking during the Bush administration? It wasn't tea.

    April 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. arithmetic is liberal

    Mr. Thompson, sir, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    April 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Joanna

    Humm FYI TEA BAGGERS... Your taxes have not increased! Obama just gave YOU 95% of the country the largest tax DECREASE in US history! But don't take my word for, research it yourself and stop taking fox news word for things. You are making fools of yourself. If you want to protest go ahead, that is one of our wonderful rights. But my goodness get the facts right.

    April 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Lee Bartholomew

    Nothing like Misguided american's protesting against lowering taxes. And quit that with the tea baggers comment.

    Just absurd about the tax stuff. Spending they have some leway, but protesting against lowering taxes? lol. Good joke. It's either that or the protest shoulda been held maybe September when the taxes might count. But Obama lowered taxes so the tax protest is a joke. Unless your making over $250,000. Which isn't too grassroots to me if your making over $250,000

    April 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Joanna

    The GOP cried about some dems not paying there taxes( which they should) but yet say it is Patriot to NOT pay taxes! Wow is all i can say!!

    April 15, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  25. Clf1990

    Just a moron, who support the GOP. The person who did this should be arrest and put in prison for 20 years and be in the same cell and put in the same cell as a sodomite. We should come together to fix Bush's mess not get together his supports to make up lies. Fox News should be ashamed of themselves for the lies the tell on a dailey bases.

    April 15, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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