Iowa governor taking threats to "occupy" Iowa caucuses "very seriously"

Terry Branstad, the Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidate, speaks to reporters a few weeks before receiving Sarah Palin's endorsement on June 3, 2010. The former governor won the GOP nomination on June 8 and seeks to defeat incumbent Democratic Governor Chet Culver on November 2.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he is taking activists' threats to "occupy" the Iowa caucuses "very seriously" - and that state operatives will be working with the Homeland Security Department and law enforcement to "do all we can to protect people's right to participate in this system."

"This has never happened before," Branstad said in a Monday press briefing, according to the Des Moines Register. "We've never had this kind of threat made to our open process of giving people an opportunity to participate and we want to do all we can to protect people's right to participate in this system."

"I think it would be tragic if some shadowy group that won't even announce who they are would be successful in preventing people from participating in this first real test in the presidential selection process," he added.

The activist hacker group Anonymous released a video Sunday calling on Americans to "occupy the campaign offices of presidential headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa on December 27 and peacefully shut down the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses on January 3."

"The Democratic party has failed us. The Republican party has failed us. Both parties are desecrating the American democracy and committing crimes against humanity on behalf of the American people," says a computerized narrator in the video, which as of Monday evening had received a little more than 10,000 hits.

In the video, Anonymous accuses both parties of catering to special interests and "mega-corporations," and of having "deliberately driven tens of millions of people into poverty."

"Voting for these parties is unethical," the narrator intones.

According to the Huffington Post, some activists in Iowa think the possibility that Anonymous' video will actually lead to the shutdown of the Iowa caucuses is minimal.

"Occupy Des Moines has no intention of disrupting or interfering with caucus voting on January 3," David Goodner, an Occupy Des Moines activist, told Huffington Post.

He added: "We are targeting the presidential candidates and the big-moneyed corporations pulling their strings behind the scenes, not everyday voters."

Nevertheless, Branstad emphasized the need for vigilance.

"I think everybody recognizes we need to be vigilant in this and take it seriously," he said.