By Jack Cashill
Sai Vashti Kandula must know someone—or something. On Monday evening, Kandula drove his rented U-Haul into a barrier a few hundred feet from the White House, backed up, and rammed the barrier again.
Upon being apprehended, Kandula reportedly said he wanted to “kill the president.” On Tuesday, based on statements he made at the scene, Kandula was charged with “threatening to kill, kidnap, inflict harm on a president, vice president, or family member.” If that were not enough, he was also charged with “assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and trespassing.”
The fact that he carried a Nazi flag in his backpack had to ramp up the threat level. In an interview after the arrest, Kandula told investigators that “Nazi’s have a great history.” He reportedly admires their “authoritarian nature, eugenics, and their one world order.” To make for a better photo-op authorities obligingly spread the flag out on the ground beside the truck.
Given the sentence handed out to the Oath Keepers for their participation in the January 6 brouhaha, Kandula knew he was risking serious jail time. Indeed, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in federal lock-up. Although he never entered the Capitol and none of his followers was armed, Rhodes was charged with “seditious conspiracy.” Said defense attorney Ed Tarpley, “This case was all about the weaponization of speech by the Department of Justice.”
Given Rhodes’s sentence, federal authorities would seem to take threats on the elected officials seriously even if just rhetoric. Yes and no. On Wednesday, CNN was reporting that Kandula “has been charged in federal court with one count of depredation of property of the United States in excess of $1,000.” Just one. CNN, like the rest of the media, either ignored or slighted the shift to this single, relatively minor count.
Kandula’s immigration status seems as murky as everything else about the case. On Wednesday, NBC cited a “federal prosecutor” as saying that “Kandula is not a citizen or lawful permanent resident.” Later that same day, however, a DOJ official “clarified” that Kandula does hold a green card. If Kandula proved to be here illegally, that would have been reason enough in Biden’s Washington to deep-six this story.
Curious, too, is that authorities took no precautions before searching the truck. The last time a U-Haul was involved in an attack on federal property 168 people were killed. Timothy McVeigh and his accomplice blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate.
As it happens, a rail car carrying 60,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate left a Wyoming plant on April 12 and showed up empty when it arrived in California 1000 miles away. Authorities are still clueless as to what happened to the ammonium nitrate en route.
Just a week before Kandula’s assault on the White House, President Joe Biden called white supremacy America “most dangerous terrorist threat” in a commencement address at Howard University. Federal Judge Amit Mehta would seem to agree.
“You sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and the very fabric of our democracy,” he said to Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate.
Given the “ongoing threat,” the missing ammonium nitrate, and the deliberate attack on the White House by a Nazi sympathizer in a U-Haul, one would have expected a good deal more caution from the federal authorities. At the very least, if they believed the guff that Biden and Mehta have been spouting, they should have cleared the immediate area before opening up the truck.
But they didn’t.