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Police report affirms attempt to explode car of Harry Reid

A copy of a 28-year-old police report from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department affirms law enforcement officers considered the 1981 attempt to explode the car of Harry Reid as a potentially life-threatening crime.

Reid, a Democrat, is the Senate majority leader. At the time of the failed explosion attempt he had recently left his post as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, a job that put him in conflict with mobsters seeking to maintain a grip on Las Vegas casinos.

The police report, which was unavailable for review on Tuesday after the legitimacy of the bombing story was called into question on the Heidi Harris radio show, categorizes the incident as, "attempt homicide," and says, "an electrical device was found linked from the engine to the fuel tank in an apparent attempt to ignite the fuel."

Harris had suggested the incident wasn’t an attempted bombing or an attempt on Reid’s life on multiple occasions on-air.

"So you don’t recall, because I don’t recall any kind of actual bomb in the family station wagon that I’ve even heard of or found anyone else who has heard of it," Harris said Tuesday in an interview with Gov. Jim Gibbons.

Gibbons, who said he didn’t recall the incident, played along nonetheless. Referencing earlier statements about fake bombs made with shoe boxes and telephone books, he said, "I know very little about the investigation of that. But my understanding is it was a telephone book and a shoe box."

Later, Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns said the bomb talk was just a small slice from an hour-long conversation on the show.

"The radio host was discussing it," Burns said. "The governor always answers every question that he gets, as you know. He tries to be accessible as possible."

Gibbons wasn’t the only public figure Harris conversed with on the issue.

On Oct. 21 she joked about the incident with former television journalist Sue Lowden, a Republican candidate seeking to challenge Reid for his senate seat in 2010.

Lowden laughed along with Harris’ suggestion Reid was trying to take credit for being a target of a different bombing. Lowden also said she didn’t recall the incident, although newspaper articles say Lowden’s decade-long television news career in Las Vegas started in 1978, which would have overlapped with the attempt on Reid that was widely reported.

On Wednesday Curtis Swarts also weighed in on the incident.

Curtis Swarts is the son of George Swarts, another former gaming commissioner who was targeted by a device similar to the one rigged to Reid’s car.

"The bomb squad told our family that had it ignited it could have taken out not only our car but possibly part of our home as well. My understanding is that the device found in Harry Reid’s car was very similar," Swarts wrote, adding he is a conservative and does not agree with Reid’s political stances. "It is a shame that anyone would use this particular story to try to belittle him or to make light of an incident that I am sure caused him and his family great distress."

Reid’s campaign has seized on the event, creating an Internet ad that criticizes Lowden for laughing off the incident.


RADIO CLAIMS: Reid jabs generate backlash (includes audio)

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