A Pennsylvania man has been charged with threatening to kill members of Congress and black people in a twisted plot to start a civil war, federal prosecutors said.
The alleged threats by Harry E. Miller, 62, were lodged in calls to the office of Rep. Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania said Friday.
The feds claim Miller said he intended to abolish the government by “spilling blood” — by killing four to five Democrats and shooting black people.
During the call, Miller also told a congressional staffer they would die in his ensuing civil war, federal prosecutors said.
He’s also accused of making other menacing calls to the Washington, DC office of North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican whom he threatened to kill with a bullet to the head on Jan. 7.
In a second call to Burr’s office, which was transferred to a person in Tennessee, Miller vowed to shoot four or five senators in the head while claiming his words weren’t a threat but a promise, federal prosecutors said.
“Threatening to injure members of Congress is a crime, not protected-speech,” US Attorney Scott Brady said. “As the events of the past year show, there are individuals intent on harming our public servants and law enforcement. We will vigorously and proactively investigate, disrupt and prosecute those individuals when they violate federal law.”
FBI investigators said Miller’s alleged threats on sitting lawmakers “crossed a line.”
“The First Amendment does not give people the right to threaten anyone,” FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman said. “Rest assured the FBI takes all threats seriously and will stop at nothing to let those who threaten violence know what the inside of a jail cell looks like.”
Miller, of Ross Township, made his initial court appearance in Pittsburgh on Friday. He was released from custody after posting $25,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both, federal prosecutors said.
An attorney for Miller could not be reached for comment, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.