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. Atlanta Jim

    If that guy can graze his cattle on federal land and not pay for it, undercut his neighbors who are playing by the rules and get away with it then why can't I do the same? I am therefore starting a Beet farm at Gettysburg on the site of Pickett's charge. I could sure use some Praetorian guards to keep the Jack Booted government out of my affairs...

    April 18, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. kurt

    What was cleverly omitted from this article is the fact that Mr.Bundy's family has been ranching on that land and paying grazing fees since the 1870s!

    "Since 1993 the farmer has refused to renew his grazing permit under the grounds that the money shouldn't be going to the federal government as his contract as a producer is with the state not the federal government."

    And the state ceded those rights to the feds. It's a stupid argument that has never held up in court because it's stupid.

    '“I’m a producer,” Cliven said. “I produce edible commodity from the desert forage, and all of these things are governed under state law. So, in other words, this type of government has eliminated all of our state law, eliminated our state sovereignty, and has took control over our public lands and even took control over our Clark County sheriff. They’ve taken the whole county over. The whole state, almost.”'

    Your state government CEDED all of these rights to the feds. YOu can try to get like minded people elected to get those rights back, but the elected people over the years have GIVEN the feds the right to do what they're doing. YOu don't get it back by shooting workers or threatening to do so. YOu get them back by getting like minded people elected. TERRORISTS use violence to scare people into going along with their politics.

    And another important note... the BLM is rounding up cattle on federal land. They closed off the federal owned land and are seizing the cattle that is grazing there. This means that the people tresspassing where the cattle are being collected are.... (wait for it....): The Bundy's.

    They are going on to federal land, with weapons and threatening federal agents who are confiscating cattle that are AT THAT VERY MOMENT illegally grazing on federal land. I can't see how anyone supports these guys.

    April 18, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Dim Baugh

    @ Marc L: With the Hare?

    April 18, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Jeannie

    Somebody needs to tell Bundy the desert tortoise was there first.

    April 18, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. johnbeer

    Maybe Harry's son will get to develop the solar panel farm after all. Domestic terrorists? What terrorism has been conducted? Harry is perhaps the most despicable figure in modern American politics. His words and actions back up that statement. What can back his allegations that the patriots involved in the standoff are terrorists? Not a thing!

    April 18, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Hikertom

    Bundy is a freeloader who thinks he has the right to graze his cattle on land he doesn't own and without paying a fee to the owner of the land (the American people).

    April 18, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. cwhatsnew

    Not always, but for this time, I can't agree more with Reid.

    April 18, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. radar8

    Bundy is a tax dodger that hides behind words like "patriot". BUndy is a millionaire that has an unfair advantage vs other ranchers that actually pay to graze their cattle, or buy feed for their cattle. BUndy steals food for his cattle and then blames the government when they want to collect on 20 years worth of theft by BUndy.

    April 18, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. dee

    Right wing terrorist! When is our Justice Department going to identify these thugs pointing guns at Federal Agents????? Arrest all of them, and charge them with terrorism against Americans!!! These are not Americans!

    April 18, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. kurt

    "So if your family has used 2 acres of public land for well over 100 years. The federal government comes in and finds endangered species of worms on 1.85 acres and says if you want to use this 1.85 acres now you have to pay us! Do you really just roller over an say ok?
    This is about big government vs states rights.
    I guess we just keep letting government take over everything including health care all in the name of calling it a tax to take money from citizens!"


    What is so hard to accept about that. If my neighbor let me park on his property for 20 years, then he sold his property and the new owner wanted to charge me for parking there I'd either:

    1. Stop parking there.
    2. Pay the charge and keep parking there.

    I would not keep parking there and not pay. It doesn't matter how long I was given free access, it's NOT MY LAND.

    It's not his land. He doesn't own it. Just because he's been allowed to use it in the past doesn't mean that will continue. What if the state or federal government had sold it to another rancher and that guy told him to get lost. Would he still be within his rights to keep grazing his cattle there?

    Of course not. And he doesn't have the right to do so now.

    April 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  11. Kaymichigan

    The rancher is just using Tea Party buzzwords to get out of paying grazing fees and making himself look like a victim.

    He doesn't own the land his cattle are grazing on and he didn't pay for the right to use it, so he's breaking the law. Period.

    April 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Ben

    Stop messing around with this wacko. Seize his assets and attach a lien on his property and move on. This is a simple debt collection. Start charging huge penalties if he doesn't stop.

    April 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. JustASec

    Any real authority disturbs these rabble. If you think for a minute they can last, remember my first sentence.

    April 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. CheddarBiscuits

    Reid...always the classy lib.

    April 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Chris

    How anyone can support this guy is beyond me. We are a nation of laws. No matter if you agree or disagree with the law it is what it is. You don't like it change it. In the meantime he has been ordered by a Federal Judge since the mid 90's to make restitution. "A federal judge issues a permanent injunction against Bundy, ordering him to remove his cattle from the federal lands. He lost an appeal to the San Francisco 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He represented himself". That's all Folks. Move on he needs to pay.

    April 18, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. sosideirish

    Will someone, PLEASE, explain to me why that nasty, lying old fossil is still in office? "Domestic terrorists? Seriously? This coming from the man who would hand over our country to trespassing ILLEGALS? The people of Nevada should be ashamed that they've continued to vote this POS into office. He is a menace!

    April 18, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. gary Kol

    Its not his land, however, the feds never should have scared his herd. They're innocent. And those idiot Mormons think they own it all and point guns at Sheriffs? Confusing situation.

    April 18, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. L0$tinTran$lation

    Not so scary Harry only wants this land for solar power so his family can make money. Who cares about anyone else in his book.

    April 18, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Concerned Netizen

    And Harry Reid is a backdoor workin thief. Remember kids, steal a little they throw you in jail. Steal alot, they make you KING.

    April 18, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Anonymous

    If you don't like the Feds owning land, it's fair to vote, advocate, lobby and demonstrate for the land to be sold off.
    Bundy just steals from taxpayers for his own personal gain. That's my land he's grazing on, because unlike him, I pay my taxes.

    April 18, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Disillusioned

    "The senate majority leader labeled those who defended the rancher against a Bureau of Land Management cattle roundup "domestic terrorists"

    And with that said, the Patriot Act would strip them of the protections afforded by the 4th,5th and 6th amendments. We need to do away with the word terrorist.

    April 18, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |

    Lunatics like Bundy and his companions are making normal people who follow the laws of our country very nervous. I never felt unsafe for a moment in this country but this is a perfect example of irrational behavior. Who cares if Clive Bundy "thinks" this is a state issue, not a federal one? Did someone elect him as decider? Did he get a ruling in his favor in a court? No. So in rush the folks who are waiting for the "revolution" to come, and wanting to start it, over a lawbreaking fool. The guy is NOT paying grazing fees, he is shouting that all over the place. Get your heads on straight, people. The facts in this case are not disputed.

    April 18, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. Chip

    And when they came for Patrish, there was no one left to protest.

    April 18, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. kurt

    "I like how people just assume they know everything, this rancher has every right to defend his land!!! He was there before government programs even began. Why pay for property? Grazing fees should be THE LEAST CONCERN OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD be spending tax dollars on!!! Is't there much more needed area where this taxpayer money could be use but NO the FEDS want to send in MIGHTY BIG GANG I mean brother to suppress yet again!!!!"

    It's not his land. It has never been his land. IT's just land the government let him use for a price. When the federal government was ceded the land by the state government, he thought he could stop paying for the right to graze there.

    The owner of the land... be it a private citizen, the state or the federal government has EVERY right to tell you to get off. The owner has been telling him to get off or pay rent for 20 years and he's refused. Guy should be in jail for that... and would have been a lot sooner if it had been the land owned by another rancher he were grazing his cattle on. But because it's government owned he's gotten away with it for 20 years.

    This should have been done 19 years ago.

    April 18, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. OrmondGeorge

    With the exception of "civil disobedience" against laws that are clearly unconstitutional (OK, that MIGHT BE unconstitutional), people who oppose officers of the law are, in the least criminals and, if they take overt action against the Government, they are terrorists.

    April 18, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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