Federal employees overseeing U.S. public lands were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times over a five-year period marked by heightened tensions with anti-government groups.

  • PUBLISHED 21 OCTOBER 2019

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal employees overseeing U.S. public lands were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times over a five-year period marked by heightened tensions with anti-government groups, according a Congressional watchdog agency.

The Government Accountability Office in a new report highlights anti-government tensions that at times have boiled over. That includes the six-week armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon in 2016, and other standoffs with armed protesters in Montana and Nevada.

The Associated Press obtained GAO’s report ahead of its scheduled release.

It cataloged incidents ranging from threatening phone calls to the stabbing of a Bureau of Land Management worker outside a federal building. Some of the assaults triggered FBI domestic terrorism investigations, although the precise number was not disclosed because it is considered sensitive information.

The report did not say whether rates of assaults and threats were increasing. But it noted a dwindling number of federal officers patrolling the nation’s vast forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other open spaces, which cover more than 670 million acres (1.1 million square miles) primarily in 12 western states.  Read More

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