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OBAMA THREAT CASE CLOSED

Radio talk show host Bob Haa says he's glad the investigation is over.

The U.S. Secret Service said Tuesday that it had officially closed its investigation into conservative radio talk show host Bob Haa without criminal charges or other action.

Of course, that means the Haa Wire show will go on. Same as always.

"I'm glad it's over. ... I just wish the problems in our country were over," Haa said. "Nothing has changed in the way we do the show and I really don't know why it would."

The investigation dates to Haa's show on July 31, when some of his listeners allegedly heard him have a conversation with a caller who mentioned ammunition, target practice and President Barack Obama.

That lead to a meeting a few days later with Agent John Joyce from the Secret Service's Tampa office.

But without a tape of the broadcast or witnesses willing to come forward and identify themselves, Joyce said the agency was unable to prove threats against Obama had been made on Haa's show. The radio station, WWJB-AM 1450 in Brooksville, said it did not have a recording of the show.

Joyce would not discuss the specifics of that meeting but said he was certain that Haa understood the severity of the allegations.

"I feel confident that Mr. Haa is aware of the seriousness of making threats against the president of the United States," Joyce said. "I don't anticipate any more issues along those lines."

From the start, Haa has denied making or tolerating threats against Obama on his show. If anything, Haa said, he was worried for the safety of the president.

"The No. 1 reason is (vice president) Joe Biden," Haa quipped. "Obama is bad, but good grief ... he's far and away better than Joe Biden."

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.

If anything, Haa said the latest investigation has been as much of a lesson for his listeners as it has been for him.

"This whole thing was a big lesson in how easily government can be inspired to look at people," Haa said. "That's really nerve-racking."

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

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