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Secret Service investigates radio talk show host Bob Haa after complaints

BROOKSVILLE — The U.S. Secret Service confirmed Monday that it has opened an investigation into local radio talk show host Bob Haa following a number of complaints about his Friday morning broadcast.

Haa, conservative host of the Haa Wire show on WWJB-AM 1450 in Brooksville, became the subject of an investigation after authorities were alerted to complaints that incendiary comments were made on the show.

"We're looking into what was allegedly said," said John Joyce, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's field office in Tampa. "We have yet to determine what was actually said that day."

Joyce said he couldn't go into any further detail about the investigation.

Talk about the investigation started Friday, when Hernando County administration staffer JoJo DiViccaro started receiving calls about 10:15 a.m. complaining that Haa was making threats and racist comments about President Barack Obama.

DiViccaro said she then called Mark Tobert, Hernando's emergency management planning coordinator, who told her he would notify the proper authorities.

Later, DiViccaro said, she took a phone call from a Hernando sheriff's deputy, but she did not remember his name.

She later took a handful of calls from other people who asked what would be done about Haa and the threats.

"Somebody called (Monday) and asked if the station had to be shut down'' because of the threats, DiViccaro said.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office and the Brooksville Police Department have said they are not involved in the investigation.

Haa also confirmed Monday that he had spoken with the Secret Service, calling the investigation a "waste of time." The topic of discussion on Friday was health care, Haa said, and not Obama.

"There's one fruitcake in town out there trying to start all these rumors," he said. "I would never stand for anyone threatening the president. We do not have that kind of edgy talk on there."

Haa said he is complying with the investigation. He said he had plans to meet with the Secret Service in the near future.

"They've asked me to do something for them," said Haa, declining to go into further detail.

Haa didn't appear on the show Monday but said that was because he was tending to his ailing wife. He said he hoped to return to the air this morning.

"If I'm not there, don't everyone jump to conclusions," Haa said. "I wish to God I had been there to do my show" Monday.

Messages left with WWJB president Steve Manuel and vice president Robert Bruce Snow were not returned Monday afternoon.

Haa has previously faced accusations of using threatening rhetoric and promoting violence on his show. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office investigated Haa in 2001 after he was accused of trying to incite his audience to "act violently" against the County Commission. But the case was closed when investigators were unable to produce information proving those claims.

Times staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report. Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

Secret Service investigates radio talk show host Bob Haa after complaints 08/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 3:37pm]
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