February 19th, 2010
07:11 PM ET
13 years ago

Grayson caught in Niger coup

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.grayson.file.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Alan Grayson will return to the United States Friday."]Washington (CNN) – Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, narrowly escaped harm earlier this week after being caught up in a military coup in the African country of Niger.

Grayson's press secretary, Todd Jurkowski, confirmed to CNN that Grayson was close to the action. "He heard the gunshots. They were literally in the building next door."

The outspoken congressman was in Niger as part of a congressional delegation focused on science, technology and humanitarian relief, according to Jurkowski. When the situation began to unravel, Grayson was taken to the residence of the United States Ambassador to Niger, where he was placed under armed protection.

On Thursday, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State P.J. Crowley told reporters the U.S. Embassy was monitoring the situation and confirmed Grayson was safe at the embassy. Later that night, a Niger military official announced the country's constitution has been suspended.

Grayson has since traveled to the neighboring country of Burkina Faso, and is scheduled to return to the United States Friday evening.

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soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Marty, FL

    Just a few clarifications. Congressman Grayson apologized forthright for calling the advisor a not-so PC term, but K-Street lobbyists unfortunately do sell Americans out to their corporate interests.

    The other person actually lied on her website filed as a PAC organization, which has to comply with federal regulations. Rep. Grayson is not her congressman as she falsely claimed.

    But he is my congressman–Godspeed home safely, Grayson!

    February 19, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. Carl

    Grayson, Ron Paul, and Kucinich are arguably the three best representatives out there....

    February 19, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Tom M

    I blame bush. Palins needs to lighten up just because someone makes fun of retards. What did a retard ever do to me?

    February 19, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. mjm

    tommo February 19th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

    He doesn't think before he speaks? You just can't bear to hear the truth. Grayson is great. He's one the most honest pols is DC.

    Only to those who don't know any better. His claim to fame was based on junk science. He made an ass out of himself and all the liberals out there thought he was a genius. Just like they think Obama is actually creating or saving jobs.

    February 19, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Jane/Seattle

    Alan Grayson is one of Courage who speaks for many of us. So glad he is OK. We need many more of him to speak real language instead of "Politi-speak"!

    February 19, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Barbara Independent in NY

    Glad that he's safe. He's one of only a handful of straight talkers in federal government.

    February 19, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    @Dutch/Bad News VA

    I know, I was thinking the same thing. Either he is slick or just keeping his identity intact, I don't know.

    Hmmmm, I do find it odd a black man would call himself a liberal and hate Obama at the same time. I don't know, I smell something fishy in here.

    February 19, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. dichotomy

    Maybe he just witnessed our future.

    February 19, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. selamta

    I like this guy, he has guts.

    February 19, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. You all are negative people and have so much hate in your hearts.

    Hmmm, perhaps he is the ring leader for the coup?

    Stranger things have happened.

    February 19, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. HypocriCNN = B.S.

    I Hope That Congressman D-Florida Grayson Is Fine!

    February 19, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. Brian from NJ

    "This is one great American! And I just LOVE that all of you tea-bagging bigots hate him soooooooo much!!!! JUST PROVES HE'S DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT!"

    NOW you understand why so many people love Sarah Palin... because she drives liberals crazy and makes them rabid with the exact same type of hate!

    February 19, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. Ange

    I hope he was there to make a good difference in science, technology, or whatever area that needed his attention...I hope it was to improve conditions.

    February 19, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Why was he spending our money ?

    Why was Grayson running around on junkets when we all know that we need to control our spending. His job is to represent Florida, not Niger.

    February 19, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. momandgrammaeileen

    Rep. Grayson is a marvellous person and represents what a Politician should be.

    I am happy to know, he is safe. Best of luck in his scheduled travels.

    February 19, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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