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Secret Service on Scranton 'Kill Him' Report: "We Have Yet to Find Someone to Back Up the Story"

5:30 PM, Oct 15, 2008 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Yesterday, David Singleton of the Scranton Times-Tribune reported that someone shouted "kill him!" about Barack Obama at a McCain-Palin rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania, while GOP congressional candidate Chris Hackett spoke. But today Andrew M. Seder of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that not a single person interviewed by the Secret Service heard this outburst:

[Secret Service agent] Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers and not one heard the comment.

"I was baffled," he said after reading the report in Wednesday's Times-Tribune.

He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, after seeing the story, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than Singleton.

Slavoski said more than 20 non-security agents were interviewed Wednesday, from news media to ordinary citizens in attendance at the rally for the Republican vice presidential candidate held at the Riverfront Sports Complex. He said Singleton was the only one to say he heard someone yell "kill him."

"We have yet to find someone to back up the story," Slavoski said. "We had people all over and we have yet to find anyone who said they heard it."

This afternoon, I talked to David Singleton on the phone. He told me that someone shouted "kill him" "during the discussion by Chris Hackett of Senator Obama's remarks about guns and religion, and how he needs to be educated about Pennsylvania." The shouter was "off to my right near the back of the crowd," Singleton said, but he "couldn't identity who it was." "I did not have a recording of it. Chris Hackett was not the main attraction," he added. "It was clear that's what was said."

Singleton said he was in the back of the crowd--not near the press riser--which would explain why those members of the media can not corroborate the story. But if someone did in fact yell "kill him" far enough away from Singleton that he could not identify the shouter, it seems that others in the crowd would have heard it as well. We'll see if anyone can corroborate the story for the Secret Service in the coming days.