HAMILTON — The Secret Service recently arrested a former employee of a Montana veterans center on suspicion of threatening President Barack Obama and Obama’s family, three years after investigating the same man on similar allegations.
Dan Rachell, 43, of Darby, claimed he had trained his wife to assist him in an assassination attempt should the president ever come to Hamilton, a veteran told federal agents and the board of Valley Veterans Service Center. The veteran said Rachell had become verbally abusive and had threatened to “smash (his) skull in.”
He also reported that Rachell told him he had enough ammunition to kill everyone in Hamilton.
Rachell was arrested Thursday and made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch in Missoula. He was appointed a federal public defender and was initially ordered held in custody. It’s the policy of federal public defenders not to comment on active cases.
The board closed the center, placed Rachell and another employee on paid leave and began its own investigation. Rachell has since resigned.
Bill Jette, a member of Valley Veterans Service Center’s board, said other veterans complained about Rachell’s treatment of them. Rachell had obtained a concealed weapons permit and started to carry a weapon, even to work, he added.
The board has decided that no weapons will be allowed inside the veterans center building.
The Secret Service also investigated Rachell in 2011 in connection with threats against Obama after the man’s ex-wife reported that he had been stockpiling weapons, made threats against the president and was going to kill her and another former wife. Rachell was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression, court records said. It’s unclear whether he was charged in the previous case.
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