Gov. Crist's Security on Alert After Anti-Gov't Group Sends Threatening Letters

Gov. Charlie Crist's security team is on alert this afternoon after an anti-government group called "Guardians of the free Republics" (sic) sent threatening letters.

The FBI sent alerts to police around the nation this morning after 30 governors received the group's missives, which warn that unless they leave office within three days, "they will be removed," according to the AP.

It's not clear whether Crist's office received a letter from the group this morning, but Crist is aware of the threat, says Chris Cate, the governor's deputy press secretary.

"We are aware of the threats being made by the group and will work to ensure the continued safety and security of the Governor and First Family," Cate says in an email to Riptide.

Heather Smith, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, tells Riptide that Florida police are on alert. "We can't provide any information on the specifics of our security preparations, but we are aware of the threats," she says.

On its website, the group behind the letters talks of a plan to "terminate illicit corporations posing as legitimate governments," including the U.S. federal government.

While the letters themselves are apparently nonviolent, according to the AP, the FBI is worried the language could inspire others in the violent right-wing fringe to attack state leaders.

Earlier this week, the FBI arrested eight members of a Michigan Christian militia called Hutaree and charged them with planning to attack police officers.

The feds have apparently tied the group behind this week's letters with the "Sovereign Citizens" movement -- a wacky fringe group that Riptide wrote about last month because a number of local inmates filed huge, fraudulent tax returns after getting sucked into the movement's philosophy.

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