Reid calls supporters of Nevada cattle rancher 'domestic terrorists'
April 17th, 2014
09:17 PM ET
8 years ago

Reid calls supporters of Nevada cattle rancher 'domestic terrorists'

(CNN) - Never one to mince words, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, lumped supporters of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy in with the Eric Rudolphs, Richard Reids and Timothy McVeighs.

The senate majority leader labeled those who defended the rancher against a Bureau of Land Management cattle roundup "domestic terrorists" at a Thursday evening question-and-answer session hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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"Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said. "I repeat: What went on up there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid's remarks come on the heels of a tense, weeklong showdown that drew armed militia groups from across the country to the cattleman's side, especially after a YouTube video captured a tussle teetering on violence between rangers and protesters.

The BLM ultimately decided to shut down its weeklong roundup of Bundy's cattle Saturday after the incident.

Bundy owed nearly $1 million to the government and has avoided paying federal grazing fees for 20 years. His dispute with the government began around 1993 when the bureau changed grazing rules for the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area to protect an endangered desert tortoise, CNN affiliate KLAS reported.

For his part, Reid insisted that the conflict was not over. The Nevada lawmaker said he spoke with both federal and state law officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, and was given assurances a task force would be established to deal with the Bundy case.

“It is an issue that we cannot let go, just walk away from,” Reid said.

While the senator mainly took issue with the hundreds who flocked to Bundy's cause, Reid also jabbed at the rancher's reputation.

"He doesn’t pay his taxes," Reid said. "He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Filed under: Harry Reid
soundoff (921 Responses)
  1. Evervigilant

    Amazing how people who are only going by what they read on the internet, and from such unbiased sources such as CNN, are quick to condemn the rancher and the people who supported him. Go actually read up on the guy, how long he and his family have been there and how long he's been using that land for cattle. Also see the quote where he said he'd be happy to pay if the state was asking for the money but he contests that the Federal Government has any right to try and charge. Also I think people like Reid are quick to use the terrorist label. It's become the modern version of playing the race card. Just call someone a terrorist if they are doing something you don't like.

    April 18, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. You Got It

    "...feds when I want to use their land or drive my car on their roads."
    "Their" land? "Their" roads? Don't you pay your taxes? If so, then understand that the Federal Government doesn't own the land or the roads – the taxpayers do. Big difference.

    And I support Bundy – the BLM didn't even EXIST when his cows started grazing there – all the BLM has done is pass regulations pushing the other 52 ranchers out of business so they could take over the land and do with it as they will. Has anyone seen the video where the BLM officers shot his two bulls and ran over tortoise dens in the process? This isn't about the "tortoise" or even the grazing fees – Bundy has tried to pay these fees to Clark County – where he used to pay before BLM was created.
    This is about big government controlling citizens – why can't BLM work this out with the County officials? Or the State? And if you don't live in this county, or state, why should you really care about the outcome? Will it affect you directly? How about we let the State & County work this deal out instead of the Federal Government assaulting private citizens with force. If the Feds push this, it could be spark into a huge fire..

    April 18, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. mosinnagant2

    Harry Reid is just upset that he can't kick Bundy off the land quick enough so he can move forward with his deal with the Chinese that by the way will be tax payer subsidized.

    April 18, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    He hasn't paid his fees in 23 YEARS.
    Fees to the United States Government.
    23 years.
    How is it that he's not in jail?
    He should be so very, very grateful that he's not in jail for non-payment to the United States Government; yet instead this leech is actiing as if the government owed him something and he's the injured party.
    The more I think about this self-entitled moron the more pissed off I get.
    He should've been in jail YEARS ago because that is exactly where I'd be if I didn't pay my taxes for years.
    And that's another thing to the braintrust that posted that the government bought that land with taxpayers' money therefore Cliven owned the land because he was a taxpayer, even if your screwed up logic was correct, Cliven doesn't pay his taxes therefore he doesn't own jack $#it.
    Proud American my foot.
    You're a thief Bundy.

    April 18, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. notaboblehead

    Bundy is stealing from all of the the taxpayers who have paid to preserve the lands, parks , national forests etc. This is about preservation. Would people complain if Bundy took his chain saw and cut down the Sequoia trees or shoot all of the wild life at Yellowstone, dumped industrial waste in the Big Horn River. Hell yes, and grazing cattle for 23 years of our land without paying the use fees is just a prime example of GREED. It's not his land! Pay up or stay on your own land. You can own land or lease land to farm but it is not free. Bundy and his followers are indeed domestic terrorists holding all of American's hostage.

    April 18, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Like all taxpayers, I own just as much of the government land that the welfare fraud is using for his cattle, and I want him off the property.

    April 18, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. tim

    There is a young cowboy, who lives on the range. His horse and his cattle are his only companions.

    April 18, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. kurt

    Let's say you had a parking space where you always parked. At the time it was legal.

    Now let's say the city turned the spot you parked at into a fire lane. When you continued to park there, they started by leaving a note saying that it had been changed to a fire lane and that in the future you'd be ticketed.

    You read the notice and tore it up. You said "My granddaddy parked his horse and buggy in this space, my dad parked his model T here and gosh darn it I'm going to park my toyota here too." They started leaving you tickets as you kept parking there but you continued on. They sent you notes of court dates... which you ignored. They tried to meet with you and figure a way out... but you wouldn't budge. This goes on for TWENTY YEARS.

    Finally, they get ready to tow your car... but you and your buddies come out with guns and threaten to kill the guy from the tow company who's taking your car to the impound. He freaks out and tazes you and runs away. Then people with guns come out and surround your car and threaten to kill anyone who dares come and tow your car.

    Sound like stupid behavior by the car owner? It is. But that's exactly what the rancher in question and the imbeciles who support him are doing. They've been illegally grazing their cattle on land that was repurposed by the government for years. They haven't paid fees. They haven't paid fines. They've ignored court summons. And now their cattle are about to be confiscated they're trying to threaten the tow truck guy (in this case the guys coming to confiscate their cattle)

    I'm sorry, he's been parking illegally for two decades. It's time for the car to get towed. He had plenty of time to remedy this before it got to this point.

    April 18, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. david

    Shame on all of them. I am glad Reid has what it takes to call this folk what they truly are: a bunch of bullies with guns. Leave the cows alone, and round this cucarachas up instead!

    April 18, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Peter Beck

    So Senator, Americans should meekly acquiesce to all government agencies, never questioning the "wisdom" of Big Brother?

    April 18, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Scott

    He is an American hero standing up for people everwhere. Thank god for him and the milita, they made the govement back down. The Goverment is a bully, stand up to them and like all bullies they back down. This is a country of the people, by the people and for the people. ITs time to protect this country from Reid and his socialist comrades.

    April 18, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. cowboyjohn

    "NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW" in this country. If these thugs pretend to uber-patriots, they should know their Constitution.

    April 18, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Marc L

    There is so much more to this story that the media is not talking about. All we keep hearing about is how the grazing laws were changed to protect a tortoise, but the story starts before that.

    April 18, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. kurt

    "Oh oh, he we go. Reid done gone let the cat out of the bag now. Anyone defending themselves against the police state are now 'domestic terrorists'. Resisting arrest is now a classification of terrorism. Refusing to pay fines makes you a terrorist according to Reid. Maybe Obama will get his very own Waco style massacre soon."

    Organizing an armed group to threaten or do harm against other americans (even those employed by the federal government) is terrorism.

    What else would you call a bunch of people with guns who are threatening to shoot American citizens performing their legal job? It's not like these are policy makers. These are guys sent to confiscate illegally grazing cattle. They are the same as the guys sent to tow a car that is parked illegally.

    One person resisting that with a gun is a lone gunman. A large group is a bunch of terrorists. They are people plotting to harm law abiding citizens of our nation in order to get political change. That's what terrorism IS.

    April 18, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Ellen

    Scary how few people see what they are. So many people steal from the government....but that is o.k. in the eyes of these terrorists. After all he is rich.

    April 18, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  16. oldleftcoastdude

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but I'll posit that it whomever is right in this whole mess, it's not going to end well. I don't know if Mr. Bundy himself will set it off, but if, and when, the Feds come back in force, one or more of his armed supporters could very well set something off and turn the whole thing into a bloodbath.

    April 18, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. grouchyANDugly

    reid lied (again). bundy has paid taxes. interesting that reid calls americans "domestic terrorists" when there was NO terrorist act involved. BUT reid dismisses the Fort Hood shooting as an act of anger, not and act of a Terrorist (who was muslim......seems like no one wants to face the fact(s) that islam is at war with the "western" world, and they (muslims) are not hesitant to announce it).
    This could have been another WACO. BLM agents pointing fully automatic weapons at fellow Americans.
    I do agree that bundy should pay "useage" fees on land he does not own.
    ALSO there is a "connection" with reid and the Chinese about using the same federal land for solar power farms, which could not become a reality with bundy's cattle roaming around. check that accusation out if you will.
    reid is NOT going APE over some taxes not being paid (but they were paid!!), and I question how much "bling" he will be presented with by those who wish to install those solar power farms.

    April 18, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. Sman88

    So let me get this straight......the government agents won't attack and kill this guy but will kill and attack minorities and dogs? As far as I'm concern, both sides should be shot!

    April 18, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. Senility Reid

    This escapee from a nursing home can't tell the difference between a citizen and a government terrorist. Why does anyone pay him any mind? People, stop electing your grandfathers to office.

    April 18, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. Liberty or Death

    There were indeed domestic terrorists near Bunkerville, Nevada and it was the federal thugs who showed up armed with assault weapons and sniper rifles. Those thugs destroyed water lines, destroyed water tanks, destroyed troughs, destroyed corrals, and destroyed fences. They killed about 40 cattle. They threw a 57-year-old woman recovering from cancer down to the ground. They attacked a pregnant woman with a K-9. They created an unconstitutional free speech zone. Now the citizens in the area live in fear of another federal raid.

    Those federal thugs are the real aggressors and “domestic terrorists” in this situation. Harry Reid is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself for calling the people that stood up to the federal thugs “domestic terrorists”. Harry Reid is traitor for standing with the federal thugs and not the people of Nevada that he supposedly represents. He should resign immediately.

    The incident near Bunkerville was supposedly about protecting an endangered tortoise, but the BLM thugs ravaged the land with their off road vehicles and trucks, crushing the burrows of tortoises that they claim they are protecting.

    The federal government gets its authority from the people. Therefore, if the federal government works against the interests of the people then it has lost its legitimacy and authority.

    This is indeed an issue that we can’t let go and walk away from: whether the federal government we have today is obeying the constitution and protecting the freedoms and rights of the people.

    April 18, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Jon

    @Brian Richards doesn't your definition also perfectly describe government itself?

    "A person who uses of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes."

    April 18, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  22. We Are Doomed

    I haven't seen or heard of one republican calling citizans of the US or fellow congress or senators, terrorists, racists, war criminals, or utitilzing statements including the words war on....., war on ....,etc. Yet it is common practice within the Democratic party these days in order to divide and win elections. This is not what we want from any party. We want parties to express their opinions and debate in a civilized manner. Where is the civility the president called for? Most posting on this board don't even bother to learn the full story on this cattleman, what he has paid, how the laws were changed on the spur of the moment by the BLM, etc. Do any even know that he has offered to pay to the local government all taxes owed?? They are not terrorists any more than those in Boston so many years ago could be labeled as such. How is it an argument to call this man a thug who doesn't follow the law and doesn't pay his taxes so he too is a "terrorist"? Doesn't our own government have such instances? Eric Holder refuses to uphold the immigration laws on personal views, Decratic leaders refuse to uphold states marriage laws on personal views (one note, I am for gay marriage but let's change the laws before an elected official simply decides which to enforce and which not to enforce), Kathleen Kane, Democratic Attorney General in PA, ends a corruption investigation that caught democratic legislators on camera accepting bribe money and her defense, the investigation was racist, hell the government appointed individual to run the IRS didn't pay his taxes. Have we all gone mad. It doesn't matter which side of the isle you are from, wrong is wrong and let's try not to be hypocritical about it based on what our voter registration says

    April 18, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  23. ditdahdit

    "I'm ready to pull the trigger." These loonies actually want a shooting war with America? A couple of passes by a single Apache helicopter and that whole pile of trash is cleaned up permanently. The Feds would never do that, of course, but it's something they might want to think about, if they think at all.

    April 18, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Anonymous

    First, I want it to be clear I do not support Mr. Bundy in what he is doing. However, I do have many concerns regarding the increasingly aggressive tactics used by the Federal government in dealing with dissenters. What I find most alarming about this incident is how Harry Reid and others are now using the term 'domestic terrorists' to describe Bundy and his supporters. One of the first steps in establishing totalitarian rule is to label any opposition as 'criminals and terrorists'. The militarized response by an agency charged with land management on publicly owned land is what concerns me most about this entire affair.

    April 18, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. JRGidaho

    First, I want it to be clear I do not support Mr. Bundy in what he is doing. However, I do have many concerns regarding the increasingly aggressive tactics used by the Federal government in dealing with dissenters. What I find most alarming about this incident is how Harry Reid and others are now using the term 'domestic terrorists' to describe Bundy and his supporters. One of the first steps in establishing totalitarian rule is to label any opposition as 'criminals and terrorists'. The militarized response by an agency charged with land management on publicly owned land is what concerns me most about this entire affair.

    April 18, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
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