The defeated Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been blamed by the Secret Service for provoking a spike in death threats against US President-elect Barack Obama.
During the bitter election campaign, the Alaskan governor had questioned Obama's patriotism and accused him of "palling around with terrorists", citing his links with the sixties radical William Ayers.
Palin's demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to plan attacks on the future president of the US.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family last month that they had seen a dramatic surge in threats against the Democratic leader, coinciding with Palin's attacks, the Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported.
The latest details of the increase in threats to Obama come as a report by a top think tank last week had warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen.
"Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues," warned Stratfor, a security and intelligence analysts.
The verbal attacks by Palin on Obama had provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric, the British daily said.
It had rattled Michelle Obama, the wife of the African American leader, who turned to campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett for advice. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" the upset future First Lady wondered.