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. Chris

    Some of these comments are just asinine:

    1. We live in a Republic, not a Democracy. It is the duty of our elected leaders to vote for what they think will best serve the country. It's our duty to give them feedback (as in voting them out if we think they're wrong).
    2. I'm a fiscal conservative. I'm not represented by either of the two main political parties nowadays. The Libertarians are a bit over the top in some areas, but far closer to fiscal conservatism.
    3. It's not racism. It might be dumb, and require one to ignore the Bush administration's 8 years of out-of-control spending, but in reality it doesn't require disliking someone based on the color of their skin to disagree with the policies of a presidential administration. Incidentally, it's not helping the Obama administration one bit when people toss that word around for no reason.

    April 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. nom deplume, esq.

    I smell a rat. I used to work right there on Lafayette Park, and there is always heavy Secret Service and FPS presence. Even more during a protest. The streets also have guardposts at each entrance.

    So, at an identifiable time, someone walked up to the fence, tossed over a tea box, and got away even though there was a small army of Secret Service uniformed and plainclothes officers nearby sounds an awful lot like someone is wagging the dog.

    April 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Beth

    I don't know what channel you people are watching, but from the channel I am watching, some of the cities have about 3,000 people protesting. It's very peaceful, and there are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in attendance. They are not just protesting Obama's spending, but Bush's as well. You people are buying into the media's spin on this. I miss the days of honest reporting. The media doesn't look out for the people anymore. They support a man who threw shoes at our former President, but they denegrate average Americans who are demonstrating their freedom of speech. Very hypocritical.

    April 15, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. C W

    All these tea-party people need to read a little history. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against the largest multi-national company at the time, the British East India Company (the WalMart of its day).

    The participants in the Boston Tea Party were protesting against the passing of the Tea Act by Britain, which the colonists believed violated their rights to only be taxed by their representatives ("taxation without representation").

    The taxes we pay today are passed by Congress, our elected representatives. There is absolutely no correlation!

    So, once again, the GOP, in trying to get people to join their tea party, is inciting fear and divisiveness, based on incorrect information.

    What a bunch of losers!

    April 15, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Steve

    Hmmm, protestors are angry about wasteful government spending with our tax money yet go out to buy boxes and boxes of tea bags to dump into the streets and bays just to make a point. I guess I'm missing something here.

    April 15, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. C W

    Mr. Thompson, I would disagree wtih only one thing your post: You are assuming the current Republican leadership have hearts. In that regard, based on their actions, I must humbly disagree.

    April 15, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. Get A Grip!

    As usual, the crowd of "tea bags" consist of caucasion males and females. I did not see anyone of color participating in the tax protest. Hey tea bags,,,,I am a tax payer and I say this to the President of the United States,,, I am OK with my money going towards the reveral of the Bush Admin. mess. Where were these creeps when Hailburton and other clonies of Bush and CHeney robbed the tax payors blind? WHy speak out now? One guess......

    April 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Grab your pitchforks!

    A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson

    I am proud of those that stand up to the wasteful spending today.

    April 15, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Enlightened Voter

    Rethuglicans gave gwb a blank check to invade Iraq and then REBUILD Iraq. President Obaam wants to rebuild this country and the rethugs call it socialism. Incredible! And all of a sudden they are worried about the deficit even though President Obama is putting it into THIS country, not Iraq. So what is the gop beef????

    April 15, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Cali Girl

    What dupe threw a package at the White House? I certainly hope this individual is on his way to one of our black site prisons.

    April 15, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    This whole tea thing is getting out of hand.don't these people know they bare being used by the conservatives. how lame can you be.

    April 15, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Hey, let the tea bag clowns protest from one of those "free speech zones" the Bushies were so fond of.

    April 15, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. annie - Palin 2012

    Who threw the tea bags – acorn?

    April 15, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. Brian

    This was nothing more than an Obama supporter trying to do something to make the protestors look bad and change the focus of the protest. It will not work, we continue to see the continued waste of gov't spending by Obama and we will show our voice in the 2010 & 2012 elections.

    April 15, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Cali Girl

    Al, California April 15th, 2009 7:20 pm ET

    The tea-bag morons make GOP a bad and scary joke.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry told lots of nonsense at "tea party" today as some in his audience shouted, "Secede!" The GOP is a mix of crooks and extremists, and they will do anything that would be profitable for crooks.

    Don't worry Al, Texas isn't going anywhere. Despite all the ignorant calling for succession, Texas would never survive a succession.

    April 15, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. strawberry

    By the way every time Bush was asked about ALL his protesters everywhere he went his reply was always. This is America and everyone has the RIGHT to freedom of speech. He welcomed it, unlike our President Obama who banned it. Another shot at our democratic and republicans liberty.

    April 15, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. WRW

    It is amazing how the media has refused or tried to belittle American citizens who are totally fed up with Washington politics regardless of which political party you are associated with. The coverage would have been much different and more agreeable to the protesters had they been against the previous administration. Our federal deficit has now been increased in just the last few months more than all the administrations from Washington to Bush. How can the media and most Washington politicians continue to support this outrageous spending agenda.

    Each administration in recent history has restricted more personal freedoms but I have never seen (and I am a senior citizen) such a fast tract as we are now on to take even more personal rights and freedoms from us. It is time for more grassroots efforts to take hold as the TEA parties today – maybe something will get the attention of the people we elected to represent us will take heed.

    April 15, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. E.C.Coleman

    Too bad it wasn't a dump truck full of tea bags!

    How can this country get this Egomaniac to stop lauding himself long enought to LISTEN to the Voice of the Nation???????????

    O applauded himself for the 'tax cuts' on Tax Day..............
    Excuse ME, WHAT TAX CUTS???

    April 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Dissapointed

    It is not President Obama's lawn.

    April 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  20. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    the whole "tea bag" idea was MORONIC.... there should be legal charges... whatever anger there is in this country should be aimed at war criminal Bush and his henchmen.... they are responsible for the economic state of America since they sold us out to BIG OIL which stays rakes in big profits.....

    April 15, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  21. diane08

    Mr. Thompson wrote:

    April 15th, 2009 5:16 pm ET
    "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."

    Thanks Mr. Thompson! Best ticker post I've read in a long tome!!!!!

    April 15, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. Moving Forward!

    Here in "BOSTON" home of the original "Tea Party" only a few hundred showed up according to the local newspaper. I think these "parties" only had really big numbers in predominately republican areas and the organizers are apparently oblivious to the original intent of the "BOSTON TEA PARTY" which was to protest "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" the symbolism they were hoping for miss it's target by a few thousand miles I'd say!
    How is it they don't have the money to pay taxes yet can afford to take a day out of work to protest?? I can see plenty of thought went into these protests!

    April 15, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. WDM

    Tom Paine, Do you realize that this year you are paying the taxes put in place by the Bush administration? You won't be paying Obama's tax rates until next year, and I expect you will be paying less next year. Personally, I think this is just another right wing anti Obama tantrum.

    April 15, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. Trudy

    Funny, the 'tea party' I went to today was peaceful, well-organized and very well attended. What a great idea. I had a great time.

    Thank you to all of the people who organized these events across our great land.

    God Bless America!!! 🙂

    April 15, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. Patty

    Shocking how none of these people cared when $845 billion of their tax money was spent on kiling people in Iraq. But god forbid Obama spend it on helping Americans get their jobs back. It's as if Republicans just embrace stupid now as their theme.

    April 15, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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