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My Experiences With the Secret Service
Myself | 4/07/04 | RightFighter

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.  That’s 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t.  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 guy’s 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 PC’s number, but couldn’t 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 hadn’t just gone to the guy’s 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 didn’t 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?  I’m upset for several reasons.  First, that it took so long for the USSS to contact me.  I love President Bush, and I’m 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, I’m 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, I’m 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?


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: presidentbush; secretservice; snich; tattletale; usss
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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To: BlazingArizona
A similar thing happened to me a few years ago when I made an uncomplimentary remark about the IRS in a Usenet post. Apparently the IRS has its own police force that handles public remarks made about it in the way that the Secret Service handles actual threats against the president.

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.

51 posted on 04/07/2004 9:39:22 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: RightFighter
I had some dealings with the FBI 14 years years ago.

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.

52 posted on 04/07/2004 9:41:04 AM PDT by Cold Heat (Notice! Looking for a replacement lawyer with only one hand! (who can't say "on the other hand")
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To: kidd
In general, do you immediately comply?

If you get a subpoena from a goverment agency, you comply with it. Otherwise, you better be very rich.

53 posted on 04/07/2004 9:42:33 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: RightFighter; Jim Robinson
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.

Jim, Is this true?

54 posted on 04/07/2004 9:43:03 AM PDT by alisasny (John Kerry is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.)
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To: kidd
I am wondering the same as you.
55 posted on 04/07/2004 9:44:16 AM PDT by alisasny (John Kerry is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.)
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To: FourtySeven
And "Eschoir"....
56 posted on 04/07/2004 9:47:51 AM PDT by tracer
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To: RightFighter
WOW! I had an experience with the Secret Service and what I thought were violent threats against President Bush.

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.

57 posted on 04/07/2004 9:47:56 AM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross (Every heart beats true for the red ,white and blue!)
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To: kidd
How many times, or how frequently, do you receive subpoenas for our personal information?

I wondered the same thing. Does every DU troll that says "Blah blah ba blah blah Bush" generate one?

58 posted on 04/07/2004 9:48:34 AM PDT by Malsua
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To: The Other Harry
"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."

See my post above.....

59 posted on 04/07/2004 9:49:25 AM PDT by tracer
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To: The Other Harry
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.

Good advice, never put on the net ANYTHING that you wouldn't put in the local newspaper, you have no idea who is reading it. Even private e-mail is not private.
Jack
60 posted on 04/07/2004 9:51:55 AM PDT by btcusn (Giving up the right to arms is a mistake a free people get to make only once.)
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To: tracer
See my post above...

I think you may have mis-spelled it, but I think it is there.

61 posted on 04/07/2004 9:59:28 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: RightFighter
Your story opens the door to a discussion on the efficacy of government agencies, and I suspect that more people would comment if they weren't afraid of having the Secret Service climbing up their butts.
62 posted on 04/07/2004 10:26:40 AM PDT by spodefly (Foreign evildoers took over my computer and posted the above message.)
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To: The Other Harry
I think the SS and FBI always takes into consideration that the caller may have it in for a co-worker. I'm sure they get lots of bogus complaints.

Now, Mr. FBI lurker? Am I on your "good boy" list now since I defended the feds?
63 posted on 04/07/2004 10:28:14 AM PDT by Terry Mross
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To: Old Sarge
The answer, FRiend, is simple. There are still too many USSS agents loyal to HRC. They're only going through the motions of protecting #43, because they all hope that She Who Must Not Be Named will return to power as #44.

My sarcasm detector is on the blink ... please tell me you don't really think that's true! The Secret Service disliked the Clintons almost to a man... the Clintons treated the Secret Service like servants and houseboys, something the Secret Service won't soon forget.

64 posted on 04/07/2004 10:29:53 AM PDT by Gerasimov (Who put all that sand on top of OUR oil, anyway?)
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Comment #65 Removed by Moderator

To: Gerasimov
The Secret Service disliked the Clintons almost to a man

Evidence?

66 posted on 04/07/2004 10:32:49 AM PDT by Old Sarge
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To: 7.62 x 51mm
Apparently, there's a pretty specific electronic trail left by every email or forum post.

...like a trail of electronic breadcrumbs that take us straight to the door. I make my living tracking down computer scum... and it's scary what we can do.

67 posted on 04/07/2004 10:35:52 AM PDT by Gerasimov (Who put all that sand on top of OUR oil, anyway?)
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To: Old Sarge; Gerasimov
Whups - sticky mouse button, yeah, that's the ticket..
68 posted on 04/07/2004 10:36:08 AM PDT by Old Sarge
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To: RightFighter
I love President Bush, and I’m very concerned that they would not take seriously a threat to his life...

I think we all love President Bush but I would hope that you would have taken the very same actions if someone had made a threat against President Clinton of Sen. Kerry.

BTW- In 1995 while hunting deer in Central Texas a (former) buddy of mine told us that he "envisions an image of President Clinton" each time he fires his weapon. I reported him and now we are no longer friends.

69 posted on 04/07/2004 10:46:48 AM PDT by pete anderson
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To: Terry Mross
Now, Mr. FBI lurker? Am I on your "good boy" list now since I defended the feds?

No. You're now a suspect. Like the rest of us who have touched this thread. ;)

70 posted on 04/07/2004 10:48:23 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: Old Sarge
Sorry. None that I can produce, but it is considered common knowledge in some circles.
71 posted on 04/07/2004 10:53:28 AM PDT by Gerasimov (Who put all that sand on top of OUR oil, anyway?)
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To: Gerasimov
Wow, now I consider THAT an honest answer. Thank you, FRiend!

I keep hearing about anti-Clinton sentiment, and I keep hearing about pro-Clinton fanaticism, and knowing the Washington mindset like I do, I am rarely wrong assuming the latter.
72 posted on 04/07/2004 10:57:45 AM PDT by Old Sarge
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To: pete anderson
BTW- In 1995 while hunting deer in Central Texas a (former) buddy of mine told us that he "envisions an image of President Clinton" each time he fires his weapon. I reported him and now we are no longer friends.

Did you REALLY think your friend capable of shooting Clinton? Really?

A friend of mine wanders about in muslim chat rooms. She has frequently called the FBI to report what has been said, prints screen shots, etc. Sometimes there is no follow up but quite a few times she has been interviewed and asked for further info she may have.

73 posted on 04/07/2004 11:04:46 AM PDT by Dianna
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To: pete anderson
BTW- In 1995 while hunting deer in Central Texas a (former) buddy of mine told us that he "envisions an image of President Clinton" each time he fires his weapon. I reported him and now we are no longer friends.

For what? A thought crime???

74 posted on 04/07/2004 11:16:52 AM PDT by TexRef
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To: RightFighter
I would not have posted this.... I'm sure it is NOT helpful to you in your work situation or for the SS trying to follow up on leads they get from all over.
75 posted on 04/07/2004 11:26:33 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog (Free pints in the Hobbit Hole for all monthly donors during the 'thon!)
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To: TexRef
For what? A thought crime???

The bottom line is that he was making a threat against a President and I would have done he same thing no matter who the president was.

76 posted on 04/07/2004 11:29:32 AM PDT by pete anderson
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To: RightFighter
I have had two experiences with the FBI -- both involving former employers (can I pick 'em or what???!!). In each case, the agents were very polite and courteous. The first time I was contacted at work, the second they came to my home. I was more than a bit intimidated, and they seemed to attempt to put me at ease. We all knew I wasn't suspect, and they really seemed to go out of their way to be considerate of my time. All in all, not a horrible experience.

I suppose it depends on location somewhat.
77 posted on 04/07/2004 11:37:06 AM PDT by kimmie7 (The devil doesn't have any new tricks -- he's just really good at his old ones.)
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To: GraniteStateConservative; hchutch
The people who would attack Bush would be nutcases. Not DU goofballs.

The set "nutcases" and the set "DU goofballs" have a considerable amount of congruence.

78 posted on 04/07/2004 11:38:47 AM PDT by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Maj. Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: The Other Harry
Aarrgh!! I meant to say "Echelon," the no-longer-secret international communications monitoring system run by the US, Great Britain, Australia, and ???.......
79 posted on 04/07/2004 11:51:24 AM PDT by tracer
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To: RightFighter
I smell a rat.
80 posted on 04/07/2004 11:57:11 AM PDT by Old Professer
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To: kidd
Very, very seldom. Almost never. In this case, the FReeper wanted to be contacted so I had no problem voluntarily complying. I will fight subpoenas if I can, but I won't fight them if someone posts something really, really stupid or obviously criminal (death threats, etc).
81 posted on 04/07/2004 12:02:21 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson; Malsua; alisasny; The Other Harry
Thank you for the reply. Others were interested as well.

Others - see post 81.
82 posted on 04/07/2004 12:19:32 PM PDT by kidd
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To: Jim Robinson
Very, very seldom. Almost never. In this case, the FReeper wanted to be contacted so I had no problem voluntarily complying. I will fight subpoenas if I can, but I won't fight them if someone posts something really, really stupid or obviously criminal (death threats,

As I would notify a neighbor first as a tip (provided no criminal activity that I know of) off do you notify a freeper first? I guess that is my bigger question.

83 posted on 04/07/2004 12:41:42 PM PDT by alisasny (John Kerry is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.)
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To: Gerasimov
If I had your computer skills, I'd be a dangerous vigilante. I'd track down all spammers, torture them and stand them against a wall and... I'd better stop or I'll get banned. Probably better I don't have your skills.
84 posted on 04/07/2004 12:43:55 PM PDT by 7.62 x 51mm ( )
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To: alisasny
Well, to the best of my memory, I've only had three contacts from the government regarding FR and or our posters in all these years (and, no, one was not regarding Gonzo. LOL). One was from the FBI on something I posted msyself. I answered a couple questions over the phone and they never followed up. One was from either the USSS or FBI (don't remember which) and it was regarding a post someone made from Texas that could've been construed to be a threat. I turned it over to my lawyer and he decided we should comply. The poster had already been banned. Our lawyer did communicate with the poster, but it was after complying. I believe the poster was deemed not to be a threat and was cleared. The third case was this one and I complied voluntarily. I did not contact the poster. I thought he wanted to be contacted by the SS regarding this matter and thus saw no reason to resist or to contact him.

85 posted on 04/07/2004 1:02:12 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim, you assumed correctly. I had no problem with them contacting me. I'm only concerned about the way they did it and the fact that the call I made was apparently ignored or discarded, while the post I made here, which concerned the same incident, was significant enough to warrant a subpoena.
86 posted on 04/07/2004 1:09:51 PM PDT by RightFighter
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To: RightFighter
Yes, that is pretty weird.
87 posted on 04/07/2004 1:23:09 PM PDT by Jim Robinson
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To: pete anderson
I disagree with you ..IMO, what your friend said was not a threat at all.
88 posted on 04/07/2004 1:37:49 PM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross (Every heart beats true for the red ,white and blue!)
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To: Jim Robinson
Ok fair enough. : )

3 out of how many millions of posts..not bad..we have more people on the do not post articles from thread..LOL

This is interesting though.

Thanks : )
89 posted on 04/07/2004 1:40:28 PM PDT by alisasny (John Kerry is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.)
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To: RightFighter
Yes, the double standard between your phone call and your post is intriguing.
90 posted on 04/07/2004 1:43:59 PM PDT by Diva Betsy Ross (Every heart beats true for the red ,white and blue!)
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To: RightFighter; Jim Robinson
It would be understandable if you pulled waaaayyyyy back and kept silent.

But I salute your pluck and persistence.

IDEALLY, I THINK I would have the pluck or perhaps gall to do a couple more things . . . maybe 3.

1) I'd type up a bulleted outline summary. I'd send that to the head office of the FBI at least moderately screaming about the shlocky way it was handled on all the points you rightfully criticize.

2) I'd send a copy directly to Ridge of Homeland Security.

3) I'd send a copy to whatever Senate committee has oversight for such spheres--to the Republican chairman. I'd probably include clear recommendations. I'd ask of the Senator a follow-up message of what action has been taken within 4 months.

I would at least THINK about asking Jim Robinson what he thought about and how he felt about having some flexibility in cases where a Freeper brings such a case to the forum such that in THOSE cases said FREEPER'S info could be confirmed by FR without a warrant.

YOU ARE A PATRIOTIC TREASURE. GOD'S BEST TO YOU AND YOURS. I FEEL YOU HAVE DONE THE RIGHT THING. I don't know that any of us ever thought that your doing the right thing would be stress, bother or even abuse free. Still, it was the right thing. It conceivably COULD have been a life or death issue for Our Precious Leader whom we need so desperately in this trying time.

THANKS FOR THE HONOR OF KNOWING YOU.
91 posted on 04/07/2004 2:10:41 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: RightFighter
It was fumbling like this by drunken Secret Service agents that got President Kennedy killed in Dallas. Maybe their protective service duties should be taken over by Marines who'd take their investigative duties more seriously.
92 posted on 04/07/2004 2:27:05 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: JimRed
There are still too many USSS agents loyal to HRC. Why? Everything I ever heard about her indicates that she treated them like garbage.

Because everything she's ever done politically has been from a standpoint of political control. She knows the personal and professional secrets of secret service seperiors and upper echelon managers, who'll not only do what she tells them, as witness the disappearing video surveillance tapes from the day Vince Foster was murdered, but will continue to do so for the rest of their lives, lest they not only lose their hefty retirement and federal perks, but also face felony criminal charges for some crimes not covered by any statute of limitations.

93 posted on 04/07/2004 2:32:00 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: wirestripper
I had some dealings with the FBI 14 years years ago.

I too discovered to my chagrin that they like to meet you away from home.(protocol as it was explained to me)

You ought to see what it's like when you've reported criminal misconduct by one of their fellow FBI agents to their Office of Professional Responsibility, the *internal affairs* office that supposedly investigates criminal misconduct by FBI agents profiting by committing crimes behind their badges.

See FBI case file IP7- 1690.

94 posted on 04/07/2004 2:35:33 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: RightFighter
Maybe a call to the FBI would have been better?
95 posted on 04/07/2004 2:38:05 PM PDT by hershey
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To: Gerasimov
My sarcasm detector is on the blink ... please tell me you don't really think that's true! The Secret Service disliked the Clintons almost to a man... the Clintons treated the Secret Service like servants and houseboys, something the Secret Service won't soon forget.

So how's the career of the USSS agent with the *close personal relationship* with Chelsea Clinton progressing?

96 posted on 04/07/2004 2:40:14 PM PDT by archy (The darkness will come. It will find you,and it will scare you like you've never been scared before.)
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To: pete anderson
The bottom line is that he was making a threat against a President and I would have done he same thing no matter who the president was.

Saying that you envision an image of the President while you shoot your gun is not making a threat. It is simply not the same as saying, "I am going to shoot the President."

Part of the problem with this law is that it is so vauge that anyone can be harassed simply for making statements against the President -- Clinton was a master at that.

You lost a friend because you overreacted to an off-hand remark to someone he probably thought he could trust.

97 posted on 04/07/2004 4:05:47 PM PDT by TexRef
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To: archy
See FBI case file IP7- 1690

LOL, I though one would need to do a FOIA request or something to do that.

My situation never went anywhere. I had made a complaint regarding a government contractor that I had worked for.

The company unleashed the dogs on me and I dropped it. It cost me bigtime and I will never forgive them. But I have moved on, as they say. The company is no longer. I still have a story to tell, but nobody would be interested now, except for maybe the EPA.

I no longer even reside in the state, so frankly, I don't care.

98 posted on 04/07/2004 4:51:47 PM PDT by Cold Heat (Notice! Looking for a replacement lawyer with only one hand! (who can't say "on the other hand")
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To: Old Sarge
There are still too many USSS agents loyal to HRC.

If that is truly the case then she must give great h3@d.

99 posted on 04/07/2004 5:04:57 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (`,,`,,Election '04...It's going to be a bumpy ride,,`,,`)
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To: Terry Mross; RightFighter
"I think the SS and FBI always takes into consideration that the caller may have it in for a co-worker. I'm sure they get lots of bogus complaints."....I think you are exactly right. That is probably their first assumption. People make things up againts co-workers, ex-husbands, enemies, etc. just to get back at them. One time when I phoned 911 to report an accident where a bicyclist had been hit and injured by a car on my usual drive to work (it happened right in front of me), the cop asked me when I reported what my name was, my number, and my job. I asked him what difference was it what my job happened to be, and he replied that he got a lot of crank calls or something of that nature. I still found that an odd question, but I guess he wanted to know if I was a regular guy or a crackpot. If I were you, I probably would've crossed the street and used a pay phone to call, just to avoid my boss knowing about it, and particularly, to avoid letting someone slip by telling the co-worker who made the comment. I would be extremely upset as are you at what happened. I don't think I would've told the COO, but then if this guy had shot the president, your employer would've been mentioned in news reports, and the organization would have suffered. If the COO had any vision, he would realize that, and be on your side. Frankly, the SS should have gone to the man's home and questioned him there so as not to compromise the source of their information. The way they handled it only leads people not to report future incidents.
If I were you, I wouldn't call the local paper or anything. You did the right thing, and it's possible he is not sure it was you who said anything, so let sleeping dogs lie. If the paper gets ahold of it, he and the whole community, including everyone at work, will then know. Remember Linda Tripp? She told only the truth, and yet people villified her for ratting on her friend. You don't need the grief of any more publicity.
100 posted on 04/07/2004 5:59:19 PM PDT by skipjackcity
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