By Brad Friedman from Phoenix, AZ...
With more than 3,000 counties in the United States of America, only heavily Republican Warren County, Ohio --- one of the last to report election results in the Buckeye State that night --- took action on Election Night 2004 to lock out members of the public and the media from their tabulation room.
The president of the county's Board of Commissioners claimed at the time that during a "face-to-face meeting between the FBI and our director of emergency services we were informed that on a scale from one to 10...Warren County in particular was rated at 10, 10 being the top highest risk."
Nobody, however, in Warren County has ever named the supposed FBI official who gave the warning, and to this day, the director of the county's Department of Emergency Services, Frank R. Young, will not reveal the name of the official with whom he claims he spoke, even as the FBI maintains "there was no information given to Warren County of an imminent terrorist threat to that county or to Southern Ohio," and that "None of our agents...advised of any type of any terrorist threat or anything like that."
Additionally, no one has ever been held accountable for what happened.
During The BRAD BLOG's exclusive interview last December with Ohio's new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, she was asked about the infamous Warren County Lockdown and encouraged to investigate the matter to ensure something similar would not be allowed to occur during the 2008 election. She noted that she was still "troubled" by the '04 incident and "[couldn't] find any justification for it."
"We'll look again at that situation and see what the best course of action is to prevent it from happening in the future," she promised at the time.
The Cincinnati Enquirer picked up on that section of our interview at the time, and now, going on four years since the Lockdown occurred --- first reported by The BRAD BLOG on November 8, 2004 --- a mainstream corporate media outlet has finally taken the issue seriously enough to devote some resources to a legitimate investigation.
Jon Craig's investigative report in Sunday's Cincinnati Enquirer notes: "Among those locked out were an Enquirer reporter, a TV reporter, and a stringer from the Associated Press." He goes on to report that "(t)he AP had stringers at all 88 boards of elections, and only in Warren County were they not allowed in."
Despite a misleading summary early in Craig's article, asserting the paper has "learned...A casual conversation about terrorism between the county emergency services director and a friendly FBI agent in a parking lot may have been the final trigger for the lockdown," what's clear is that to this day, no one from the FBI has ever come forward to substantiate Young's claims. Even today, while Young is taking responsibility for recommending the lockdown, he's sticking to his story that it was his conversation with an FBI official --- whom he still refuses to name --- that led him to his decision.
Both the FBI and the Warren County Sheriff tell Craig that Young's claims, essentially, are complete bullshit...