**This article has been updated to reflect the latest information.
In two new videos posted on Facebook, the leader of Arizona’s anti-Islamist movement, Jon Ritzheimer, and his friend, Blaine Cooper, mock a flurry of recent news reports alleging that the FBI "lost track" of Ritzheimer as he drove across the country and that it was “on a manhunt” for him.
"Hey guys, Blaine Cooper here with Jon Ritzheimer, who apparently the FBI has lost track of,” the first video begins. “Well, here we are in front of the FBI headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona.”
Ritzheimer can be seen in the background standing in front of an FBI sign and laughing.
He’s been in the news a lot recently after road-tripping to New Hampshire and publicly vowing to confront journalists at the New York-based Islamic Post for calling him a member of the American Taliban.
“We thought that it would be nice to give the Muslims at the Islamic Post a visit to simply give them a piece of our mind in regards to the article they publish[ed] back in June, calling me a terrorist,” Ritzheimer explained to Outpost of Freedom blogger Gary Hunt.
But shortly after crossing into Pennsylvania, Ritzheimer says he “received a three-way phone call from Special Agent Bridget Walters of the FBI and a sergeant with New York State Troopers.”
They said “that they saw the video of me with a gun and if I cross into New York that I would be arrested,” he told Hunt. “I asked them if I could surrender the gun at the state line to them and just get an escort through the state so I could make my destination and they said NO. I asked if I could leave it in Pennsylvania with a friend and they said that they would still search me, give me a hard time, and basically violate my rights because of the video of me with a gun.”
Needing to drive through New York to get to New Hampshire, Ritzheimer decided to go dark and cut off contact with the FBI. The FBI then issued an alert to local law enforcement agents, and the story was picked up by national media outlets.
Even talk-show host Montel Williams weighed in:
With all the hype about his trip, it’s unclear when, but at some point the media began reporting that there was “a manhunt” for Ritzheimer – something not mentioned in the FBI’s only official statement about the matter.
In an e-mail to New Times, Ritzheimer writes: "They were never looking for me. It was all hyped up from false reports... I made no threats and there was no manhunt."
Once in New Hampshire, Ritzheimer confirmed to New Times via phone that he did manage to drive through New York without attracting the attention of law enforcement.
He’s back in Arizona now and apparently finds the whole situation hilarious – case in point, this video:
Cooper also seems to find the situation ridiculous, though perhaps for more political reasons:
“The funny thing we should mention, if the FBI lost track of a well-known American citizen who has been in various media publications, how is it that they’re going to keep track of Syrian refugees who want to blow up and kill innocent American people?” he says.
“This should be an alarm to any American citizen. The FBI just somehow may not be able to keep track of the bad guys when they’re more worried about a good guy,” he adds, panning the camera to Ritzheimer.
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Cooper then asks his followers to share the video so the FBI “knows all is well” and “that there is no threat and that they can rest and relax.”
His video now has close to 58,000 views and has received more than a hundred comments, most of which talk about the “incompetence” of the FBI, the threat of ISIS, and the bias of the liberal media.
Perhaps fittingly, Cooper ends his video by encouraging others to “tell the media that they can eat shit and die.”