The Scranton Times-Tribune reported the alleged incident on its Web site Tuesday and in its print edition Wednesday. The story, written by reporter David Singleton, included allegations that a man in the audience shouted “kill him” while congressional candidate Chris Hackett was addressing the crowd and mentioned Obama’s name. News organizations including ABC and MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” as well as several Internet blogs, repeated the claim, with most attributing the allegations to The Times-Tribune.
Agent Bill Slavoski said he was in the audience along with an undisclosed number of Secret Service agents and not one heard the comment.
“I was baffled,” he said after reading the report.
He said the agency conducted an investigation Wednesday, and could not find one person to corroborate the allegation other than Singleton.
Slavoski said more than 20 non-security agents were interviewed Wednesday, all of whom were at the Republican vice presidential candidate’s rally at the Riverfront Sports Complex.
“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.”
Hackett said he did not hear the remark.
Slavoski said Singleton was interviewed Wednesday and stood by his story but couldn’t give a description of the man because he said he didn’t see him, he only heard him.
Singleton referred questions to Times-Tribune Metro Editor Jeff Sonderman who said: “We stand by the story. The facts reported are true and that’s really all there is.”
Slavoski said the agents take such threats or comments seriously and immediately opened an investigation, but after due diligence “as far as we’re concerned, it’s closed unless someone comes forward.” He urged anyone with knowledge of the alleged incident to call him at 346-5781.