30 July 2005

Secret Service Pretender...?

What the...!!!

One would think, in the face of the so-call "War on Terror", that impersonating a Federal officer, should arouse at least some curiousity from the so-called Department of Homeland Security. Shouldn't it...?


No Charges in Ouster

Feds Won't Pursue Man Who Ejected 3 From Bush Event

By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News
July 30, 2005

Federal prosecutors have declined to press charges of impersonating a Secret Service agent against a White House volunteer who ousted three people from a speech by President Bush in Denver on March 21.

The announcement was made Friday in a letter to Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar and Reps. Mark Udall and Diana DeGette, all Democrats, who had asked for a Secret Service investigation into the incident.

The three, Alex Young, 26; Karen Bauer, 38; and Leslie Weise, 39, said they were told by the Secret Service that the man admitted ejecting them because they arrived at the event in a car with a "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker.

U.S. Attorney William Leone said the investigation was "thorough and complete."

"I am certain that the Secret Service would demand, and our office would aggressively prosecute, any person who was found to be impersonating a Secret Service agent if the facts warranted such a prosecution," Leone said in a statement. "This is not such a case."

He added, "Criminal law is not an appropriate tool to resolve this dispute. The normal give and take of the political system is the appropriate venue for a resolution."

Young, Bauer, and Weise were bounced from Bush's appearance at the Wings over the Rockies museum at the former Lowry Air Force Base. The event was part of the president's national tour to promote changes to Social Security.

The trio, who have been nicknamed the Denver Three, said the event staffer who confronted them was dressed like a Secret Service agent, wearing a suit, radio earpiece and lapel pin that identifies people with security clearance. The Secret Service has said the man was not an agent.

Bauer and Weise say they were pulled aside at the gate and were told by another event staffer to wait for the Secret Service. They said the man who showed up threatened them with arrest if they misbehaved.

The three are involved in a pol itical group called the Denver Progressives. They admitted to wearing T-shirts under their clothing that said, "No more lies." They said they considered revealing the T-shirts, but decided before arriving at the event not to do so.

Later, though they had done nothing disruptive, they were forced to leave by the man they thought was a Secret Service agent.

The incident raised questions in Congress about whether the man had committed the crime of impersonating a federal officer. However, the man did not tell the three he was an agent, which apparently factored in to Leone's decision.

"The person in question took no affirmative steps that one would need to prove a claim that he was impersonating a federal officer," said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. He said the man did not identify himself as a federal agent and did not display a credential, a badge or other identification.

The Secret Service refused to name the man because he was not charged.

"It's very disappointing," Weise said. "We were really looking to this investigation for some answers. To date we have received none."

"Clearly, our rights were violated, and no one is being held accountable," she said.

Dan Recht, an attorney for Bauer, Weise and Young, said his clients plan to pursue a civil lawsuit against the man, accusing him of violating their free speech rights and assaulting them.

"We don't know who it was, but we'll find out who it was and we'll sue him," Recht said. "I'm disappointed but not surprised charges won't be filed, but it remains to be seen whether the Secret Service did a thorough investigation."

Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry declined to comment.

Because the president's visit was a public event paid for by taxpayers, considerable debate has erupted over whether it was legal to bar people because of their pol-itical speech. Eight of Colorado's nine members of Congress have objected to the idea of ejecting people over a bumper sticker.

But White House press secretary Scott McClellan backed the trio's ouster, saying in April, "If we think people are coming to the event to disrupt it, obviously, they're going to be asked to leave."

The White House has described the man as a "White House volunteer" and refused to identify him.

Congressman Mark Udall, D-Colo., took issue with the investigation, saying "it's puzzling that the Secret Service would take four months to come up with nothing."

"Frankly, if the Secret Service and White House have nothing to hide, and if no law was broken, don't the American people have a right to know the results of the investigation and who was responsible for ejecting the Denver Three," Udall said in a statement.

DeGette chided the White House, saying, "The removal of three Coloradans from a public, taxpayer-funded presidential event on Social Security does nothing to foster civil discussion."

Salazar said he was disturbed because three people were not allowed to participate in a public meeting on Social Security. "As elected officials, we should be encouraging, not discouraging, public participation in open and thoughtful discussions on our nation's most important matters."


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12:02 am  

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