Skip to comments.My Experiences With the Secret Service
Posted on 04/07/2004 8:27:23 AM PDT by RightFighter
As some of you may have seen, on February 14th, I posted a thread entitled Need Some Freeper Advice Here on Free Republic regarding something an incident at work where a fellow employee made a threatening comment toward President Bush a couple of days before the President arrived in town for the Daytona 500 race. When I posted this thread, I was pretty sure I knew the answer that I was going to get from my fellow Freepers, but wanted the extra confidence that comes from having my peers tell me that I was doing the right thing in reporting this employee to the US Secret Service. I was also pretty sure that, just by posting the thread, the Secret Service or FBI would be alerted to the situation and that I might be contacted regarding my post. Thats why, because of my initial lack of confidence about the whole situation, I referred to my friend in the post rather than myself. I think anyone who read the post could tell without much thought that I was really referring to myself (which should have been obvious to anyone who read the first sentence, in which I put the words my friend in quotes).
Anyway, after almost 50 posts came in within a few minutes telling me to report the guy, I did so. You can see in post number 51 that I indicated that my friend was actively calling the Secret Service, and then in post number 55, I reported that the call had been made. I then stated in post number 58 that I was really talking about myself, not my friend, and soon thereafter I asked the moderator to lock the thread to further postings because I didnt want this to become a huge thread which would move to the top of the Latest Posts page all night long.
My call that evening was to the United States Secret Service field office in Orlando, Florida, which I reached by calling 407-648-6333. A young lady took my call and seemed to be typing in the details I was giving her, which included my name and home address and cellular telephone number and a general description of what had happened, but not the name of the employee in question. She stated that she was sure an agent would want to contact me about the situation and that I should expect a call.
The call never came. I woke up the next morning for church worried that someone would be contacting me during church, so I actually took my cellular phone into church, which I rarely do. Still, no call ever came. The Daytona 500 came and went that afternoon and the next few weeks were a blur, and still, no call. I finally just mentally wrote it off as evidence that the USSS must not take the type of comment the guy made very seriously, and I stopped thinking about it.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, on March 19th, things changed. I received a call on my cellular phone from a someone who I will identify as PC. PC stated that he was a Secret Service agent based in Jacksonville and that he had been forwarded some information from DC that he was following up on regarding this situation and he needed me to call him. I called him that afternoon on my way home from work and we spoke a couple of times that evening, during which time I gave him the whole story along with names of witnesses, etc.. During the course of these conversations, he told me something that concerned me. The reason that it had taken so long for him to contact me was that the USSS had to SUBPOENA Free Republic for my records so that they could track me down by IP address through my ISP.
Now, I was not at all surprised that they were able to track me down this way. To the contrary, I would be surprised if they couldnt. What I was surprised about was that they felt like they HAD to track me down in this way, considering that I had made a PHONE CALL TO THE USSS to report the guy! I mentioned this to the agent, and he was shocked. He asked me some details about my phone call and then he told me that he was sure that this would spawn some kind of internal investigation on their end to find out why my call was not given any kind of attention at all by the Orlando field office.
Anyway, after giving PC all the details and even doing him the favor of looking up the guys home address on the Internet so that he could contact the guy over the weekend, we hung up with the stipulation that he would contact me if he needed more information. This was on Friday evening, March 19th. The following Monday morning, March 22nd, I was in a meeting at work when my cellular phone rang. I recognized the number as PCs number, but couldnt take the call. After my meeting, I listened to his voicemail and it was a message asking me if I knew if the individual was going to be at his place of employment that day. About an hour had elapsed since he called me, and I returned his call, but could not reach him, so I left him a voice mail.
At this point, I felt that I had to tell our Chief Operating Officer what was happening. I was a little disappointed that PC hadnt just gone to the guys home over the weekend instead of waiting and coming to the workplace, but I figured our COO should know that a USSS agent might be showing up at the job site that day to see this employee, so I told him the whole story. He had a strange look on his face and he said Well, let me tell you what I know. This morning, during our meeting, two Homeland Security suits showed up at the site flashing pictures of you and [employee_name] and saying they needed to talk to you both. He went on to say any idea you might have had that this would be anonymous was wrong.
I later contacted PC again and he told me that as far as the USSS is concerned, this is a non-issue and that the employee has been warned that comments similar to this in the future will be taken very seriously. He said that he didnt think the employee knew for sure that it was me who had reported him, but that he indicated it could be me or one of several other people who he had made the comment to. Of course, by flashing my picture around, I think the USSS made it pretty clear that I was involved.
My question is would any of you be as upset as I was at this? Im upset for several reasons. First, that it took so long for the USSS to contact me. I love President Bush, and Im very concerned that they would not take seriously a threat to his life reported by telephone to one of their field offices so close to his arrival in town. Second, Im concerned about the way the whole thing was handled when PC showed up at my place of employment. Those who NEEDED to know that I had reported this guy had been made aware of it, but by coming to the front desk at my place of employment waving around a picture of me and making it obvious to everyone, they could have put my life or my job or both in jeopardy.
So, Im back where I started. I need to know what my fellow Freepers would suggest that I do here in follow-up to this situation. Should I just leave it alone or should I start writing letters to Washington to inform them of what happened here? Obviously the issue of the lack of response needs to be addressed, but of almost equal concern to me is the issue of the way it was handled. It makes me want to think twice next time before speaking up and being a responsible citizen, and nobody should feel like that after doing what was right to report a situation like this. Any thoughts?
Yeah, it's called "Carnivore".
There are some good reasons why that is. A large percentage of the calls they receive come from crackpots who themselves are the real threats. It doesn't sound like that applies to you, but they need to look at you. And they aren't always delicate in the ways they do that.
Except in dire emergencies, my experience is that it is usually best to keep a low profile.
Maybe someone took your reservations to heart and started the ball rolling without you (meaning well of course), and if that were the case you were targeted in the investigation along with the perp. In fact, that sounds plausible, especially if the anonymous "helper" posted through TIPS.
The third possibility is that the feds are perusing this board (maybe off duty?) and the red flag came from an internal source, while your call was ignored/lost. Has the USSS outsourced too?
Yeah, it's called "Carnivore".
Not any more. It's now, "DCS-2000". Or was, last year. Google on it.
I never assume my UseNet posts, email messages, and posts to dicussion groups are not being read by someone. I think even one key word can trip a reading. In turn, that reading can trip more.
I don't want any problems with the government, so I leave them alone. It's a no-winner, even when you are completely innocent and well-intentioned.
I too discovered to my chagrin that they like to meet you away from home.(protocol as it was explained to me)
Also, the person who makes the complaint is vetted for obvious reasons.
That is all I can say that makes any sense, but it was a interesting experience for sure.
If you get a subpoena from a goverment agency, you comply with it. Otherwise, you better be very rich.
Jim, Is this true?
My experience was exactly the opposite of yours. I have never seen guys works so fast and so throughly in my life as the Secret Service agents had on the day I called them.
I wondered the same thing. Does every DU troll that says "Blah blah ba blah blah Bush" generate one?
See my post above.....