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A Montana Gulf War veteran who was investigated three years ago for threatening President Barack Obama was back in federal custody Monday on new charges of threatening the president and his family, court documents showed Monday.
Daniel Rachell, 43, of Darby, about 50 miles south of Missoula, was arrested Thursday and appointed a public defender at his initial hearing in U.S. District Court in Missoula, according to records made public Monday.
He was charged with threatening the life of the president and with threatening the lives of former presidents and other persons — the former president or presidents weren't identified, but in a 12-page affidavit, the Secret Service said Rachell had drawn up detailed plans to blow up the presidential motorcade, killing the first family and any Secret Service and other security agents protecting them.
In the affidavit, which was filed March 28 (PDF), a Secret Service investigator said the agency began looking into Rachell late last month when a veteran who patronizes the Valley Veterans Service Center in Hamilton reported that Rachell had made racist slurs about Obama and had said someone needed to "kill Michelle and the kids to save the taxpayers money because they fly around on Air Force One all the time."
The veteran told the Secret Service that Rachell boasted of having trained his current wife to be a "spotter" to assist him in an assassination attempt and that he had enough ammunition to kill everyone in Hamilton, population 4,300.
It's not the first time the Secret Service has investigated Rachel. In April 2011, Rachell's ex-wife filed a complaint alleging that he'd stockpiled weapons and was on his way to Illinois kill her and to St. Louis to kill another ex-wife — details outlined in the new affidavit.
As part of that complaint, the ex-wife told police that Rachell suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had made anti-government statements and specific threats against Obama.
When Rachell was located in Schertz, Texas, northeast of San Antonio, he was involuntarily admitted for psychiatric evaluation, which concluded that he did show symptoms of depression and PTSD.
The new affidavit says Rachell denied making any threats, and it couldn't immediately be determined Monday how the 2011 investigation ended.