Bellingham man allegedly wrote letter threatening governor

THE OLYMPIANMay 16, 2013 

Police arrested a Bellingham man Wednesday, May 15, after he wrote letters to The Olympian newspaper detailing threats to kill Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, court papers state.

Timothy McNiven, 59, was being held Thursday at the Thurston County Jail after a judge found probable cause to support allegations of making threats against the governor, intimidation of a public servant and three counts of felony harassment. His bail was set at $200,000.

McNiven has told court officials he is schizophrenic. He also has said he used to get VA counseling and support services, “but those were cancelled about two years ago.” He has no prior criminal record.

According to court papers:

Troopers retrieved four handwritten letters, allegedly written by McNiven, at The Olympian on April 30. A detective reviewed them and determined that one of them contained a direct threat to Inslee. The threat reads: “Because of my position at the Defense Department your Trial will be held in a Military Tribunal Conducted by me the Military Commander of my U.S. Military Mission and since I have the Authority to take and Execute anyone who sabotages my U.S. Military Mission my Business with you will consist of me arriving at your Olympia Office the Day Washington State begins Selling Drugs to U.S. Military Personnel where I will Commandeer the Weapon from your Washington State Patrol Guard and then Execute you with it in front of your WSP guard.”

The letter states that Inslee could avoid execution by publicly declaring Initiative 502 unconstitutional. I-502, passed by the voters in November, made it legal for adults in Washington state to possess small amounts of marijuana.

The WSP detective also identified in the letters a similar threat to kill Attorney General Ferguson.

The return address listed on McNiven’s envelopes containing the letters was the Pentagon’s.

The WSP learned that the U.S. Secret Service has had contact with McNiven in the past.

WSP troopers obtained an arrest warrant for McNiven and attempted to make contact with him on May 2, but he would not answer the door.

McNiven later left a note for the WSP on his door directing them to contact his lawyer at the Department of Defense.

On May 6, WSP Chief John R. Batiste received another letter from McNiven. This letter threatened Batiste’s life. On Wednesday, acting upon the request of the WSP, Bellingham police officers arrested McNiven at his home in the 100 block of Grand Avenue.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service