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Something stinks


This kinda report is problematic. From TPM:

Report: Unprecedented Number Of Death Threats Against Obama — And Secret Service Overwhelmed


The Boston Globe reports that a new internal Congressional Research Service report and government sources say there are an unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama — and that the Secret Service is insufficiently funded and staffed to deal with them.

According to The Globe, a report issued by the Congressional Research Service shows that the Secret Service is investigating more threats against government officials than ever before, and questions whether the 144-year old agency should continue probing financial crimes, as was its original mandate.


The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report back in August that found that the number of white supremacist militia groups has spiked by 35% since 2000. The Secret Service has, in turn, increased its employees from 6,700 two years ago to a projected 7,055 in the coming fiscal year, almost entirely devoted to protecting national leaders. But that’s a staff increase of just 5.3 percent — nowhere near the 400 percent increase in threats to the president’s life.

I don’t doubt that the election of the first bi-racial POTUS has stirred up a few crazies, but this story raises more questions than it answers.

The report claims there has been a “400 percent” increase in threats. Is that an increase from 1 to 4? 10 to 40?  1000 to 4000?

Were all these threats from white supremacists? If not, what percent came from them and what percent came from others? How many white supremacist militia groups/individuals are we talking about?

I kinda doubt a real assassin would call ahead to warn the Secret Service, so how were these threats received?  Were they made directly or reported second-hand by someone who overheard them?

How many of these threats resulted in an arrest?  We’ve heard several times how Obama received Secret Service protection far earlier than any other candidate.  We have also heard about a few alleged assassination attempts, but thankfully so far no one has even come close to harming our President.  But at least two of those cases were the result of routine law enforcement arrests and the third involved a man in Mississippi posting on an internet chat room making threats and asking for bus fare.

No one in their right mind wants to see any politician or government official hurt or killed, but stories like these need to be backed up by hard data.  We spent the last eight years watching the Dubya (mal)administration use things like terrorist alerts and military casualties for political gain.  This has the same stench.

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113 Responses

  1. Excellent questions, myiq! Stories like this are always so vague on the details. Great post!

  2. I think you mean 1->5(400% increase) not 1-4(300% increase)
    Ditto on the other numbers: 1
    0->50 is a 400% increase because (50-10)/10 = 400%
    10->40 is a 300% increasebecause (40-10)/10 = 300%

    anywho, point well taken!

  3. I read recently that there are 4 more threats per day than with Bush. Keeping in mind that most of these threats are probably not credible (I know a guy who called a threat in because two guys behind him in line at tge supermarket were criticizing Obama, for example), 355 more agents can’t deal with 4 more threats a day? Seriously? I hope they can deal with tge ones that can be traced back to the same location in ChiTown, at least.

    • Exactly

      What constitutes a “threat?”

      • Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive compiled a list of examples of what he referred to during the Bush administration (before he started chugging the kool-ade) as “The New McCarthyism.” Many of them were reports to the Secret Service of things such as someone
        having a poster that the pizza guy didn’t like or some high school kid dissing Bush during a sound check. Stupidass things that got people into a lot of trouble for no reason at all.

  4. I should think the Secret Service’s job would be a whole lot easier and cheaper if O spent more time behind his desk and less on the road to everywhere.

  5. If you really want the answers to all of your questions they can easily be found by doing a little bit of research.

    The Secret Service will provide such data, and the FBI will willfully release the data about the number of white supremacy groups, complete with names and chronologically listed over the years along with the number of known and estimated active members.

    For the record, the Secret Service is a non-partisan government agency. They did a great job at protecting Bill Clinton, Carter, and both the Bushs.

    If you really want to know the answers; all you have to do is ask.

    • Then why didn’t TPM post those numbers?

      Will those numbers be raw data or will they support/debunk the claim of a 400% increase in threats to the POTUS?

      • Why should I have to look anything up? Shouldn’t the highly paid reporters that posted the original story do the research?

        • Ahhh, I get it. You want to complain without actually doing any work to back up your accusations. GOTCHA!!

          Second, you’re average reporter is not highly paid. Most of us make less than 50k a year, which is above the poverty line, but below the national average income of $50,233.00. So basically, reporters make less than the national average and usually live in area that has a higher cost of living than the national average.

          To be fair, what a reporter makes has nothing to do with how well a story is written. With that being said, also remember that many pieces of a story are often tossed out due to space constraints. Along as the statistics support the facts, then the statistics are often cut by the editor.

          On the other hand, no matter what numbers are printed, some people will never be happy with the information.

          Every presidency has seen a jump in death threats, 400% is just out of the ordinary. If memory serves me correctly, and I could be wrong here but I am sure it is within the ballpark, both Bill Clinton and dubya had somewhere around a 30% increase threats. Carter was another president who had an unusually high jump upon entering office.

          Why should you do the research?

          Easy, it’s shows that you are willing to set the record straight and actually take an interest in what you are writing about. It’s easy to criticize, it’s hard to actually know what you are talking about.

          • What accusations?

            You just talking out your ass.

          • Good points. If you’re only pulling down $50k, you have no rrespinsibility. Just make it up if you want. Bloggers are morally obligated to correct your errors for free.

          • 99% of new commenters at TC are mental patients.

            Prove me wrong.

          • Oh so you’re a reporter (learn to use “you’re” correctly then!). We aren’t reporters. We’re just a bunch of people who are interested in politics. Most of us have full-time jobs, and we don’t have time to file FOIA requests to find out about death threats to Barack Obama. We can still critique the media–for now anyway. Thanks for your smarmy lectures, though. Personally I just *love* being condescended to.

          • “It’s easy to criticize, it’s hard to actually know what you are talking about.”

            Look who’s talking….

          • I wouldn’t be so proud of being a reporter these days…you show up here and condescend to people that could research/write you under the table.

          • Maybe after that recent error in the stimulus budget reporting that listed a company as having received 1.4 billion dollars when it was actually 1.4 million dollars its probably easier to just not use numbers to back up claims.

            Works for me.

          • I know reporters who make considerably less who have checked their sources so well they find it wise to check their brake lines, too, before they get in their cars.

            It’s in yer job desription, ijit.

          • I really take offense at this kind of BS attitude. I get paid to do my job and I do it, even the parts that aren’t that much fun. If we are talking about hard copy, then yes, back in the day some stories had to be cut to fit. Nowadays with the internet it’s not so much an issue. The truth is that it would be nice to know the facts, but that’s something journalists aren’t especially interested in these days. They’re more interested in being puppets for the Ministry of Truth daily propaganda show.

    • It is the duty of the reporters and their editors to ask these questions and fact-check numbers and sources before publishing the article. That is what they get paid to do.

      If the Secret Service ever gets back to you with those numbers, please post them here.

    • I thought that news people were supposed to vet their own stories. I know there had been a hoax a day lately, but the rule still remains: you put it out there, you provide the proof. Or at least pretend to.

    • I seriously doubt that the Secret Service is going to reveal information about the death threats to the President–certainly not without a FOIA filing. If it’s so easy to get this info, then TPM should have put it in the story. Myiq is absolutely right.

    • What a sanctimonious twit. Are you a schoolmarm on the side?

  6. His hero, Ronnie got his numbers way up after the attempt.
    Jr.jr started crying wolf way early in the campaign as Hillary had secret service and he didn’t – and we know how much he always loved the power signages. Since it seems their crusade against Faux has a significant blowback, maybe the old useful claim has been dusted off.

  7. Maybe they have expanded the definition of what constitutes a threat.

    • The definition now includes “fishy” claims. Especially by organizations which no longer can call themselves “news”

    • Even after you have a definition of a “threat” there is the question of how many reported threats were determined to be unfounded.

      • I’m guessing about as many as the “terror threats.”

      • I kind of put these claims into the same category as the breathless “Sarah Palin condoned racist death threats at her rallies!” stories we heard so much about during the general election. Or, as many have pointed out, “Terror Level Orange!” announcements during the last administration.

        Basically, I no longer believe a damn thing I hear. What is sad is that I just can’t bring myself to care anymore.

        • Yep. Obama, like Bush, has zero credibility, manipulates data for his own purposes, and plays fast and loose with the truth. I’ll believe it after I see the hard numbers and the credibility accessments, thanks.

    • I’ll bet putting up one of those clown posters of Obama is considered a threat.

    • Right. What I meant is, you call everything a threat and all of a sudden you have a lot of them.

      I think this is just like the primaries. I don’t buy it.

  8. “questions whether the 144-year old agency should continue probing financial crimes, as was its original mandate.”

    full quote: “According to The Globe, a report issued by the Congressional Research Service shows that the Secret Service is investigating more threats against government officials than ever before, and questions whether the 144-year old agency should continue probing financial crimes, as was its original mandate.”

    An excuse to stop investigating financial crimes?!

    (I did not know that the Secret Service investigated financial crimes.)

    • The Secret Service is part of the Treasury Department.

      They investigate counterfeiting and certain other crimes.

    • The original mission of the Secret Service was to investigate counterfeiting of the currency. I guess that’s what they mean by financial crimes.

  9. Here’s a blog by someone named “underground scribe.”


  10. “99% of new commenters at TC are mental patients.

    Prove me wrong.”

    You might be right, I’ve been here longer than you have – so that makes you newer than me.


    Game – Set – Match.

    Thanks for playing. This place has great entertainment.

    • What makes you think I’m not a mental patient?

    • Too bad you are more interested in playing games than in having a dialogue.

    • Hmm…thanks for pointing us to your previous work.

      Underground Scribe, on March 12th, 2008 at 3:18 pm Said: Edit Comment
      Keith Olbermann never claimed to be a lover of Democrats, or a hater of Republicans. He is a political pundit with a job to do. Most of the time his job is just light and fluffy, but every so often he says something of substance.

      I bet you cheered when he went after Bush and his administration by telling the truth about them. Now that he’s going to tell the truth about Hillary you get upset?

      I would hope you teach your daughter about a little thing we call ethics, but it seems you have no comprehension of the word. Ethics is when you tell the truth, no matter what.

      What Hillary Clinton is doing is wrong, and the truth should be told.

      • Looks to me like he/she is one of Axelrod’s crew.

      • lol–hilarious. He’s giving a lecture on “ethics” and supports Olbermann (and I’m guessing Obama). Seems like classic “distorted” thinking of a…

        mental patient.

      • I thought ethics was when you cried that you’re only making $50k and you’ll be damned if you’ll do any work for that! Somebody else better do your work for you while you just make $&@) up!

      • Some of us knew Olberman was a gas bag with his ‘Special Comments’ even when he was lambasting Bush…

        We might not have liked Bush, but that doesn’t mean we liked the gas bag or his overblown tactics either.

        Furthermore – when Hillary was wrong (like Mark Penn for God’s sake!), we had no problem admitting it… we see our politician’s as people – flaws and all… and still chose her because she was the most qualified candidate. We never saw Obama as some ‘new kind of politician’ (how’s that going now?) that he was promoting himself as… or as a ‘movement candidate’ (how’s that movement going now?)…

        I wonder if Obama has ever done any wrong in your eyes?… and will he be held to that same standard of ‘truth telling’… ? Doubtful I bet.

        Prove me wrong.

        • I think that movement turned into a bowel movement.
          The main job of obots now is to carry a plastic bag and a scoop to clean up after him.



    • Awesome! You won the match, now you can report that you’re the men’s singles champion at Wimbledon. Only don’t do it for less than $250,000.

    • “Game – Set – Match.

      Thanks for playing…”

      I don’t like personal attacks – so I’ll just say this sounds like something a complete tool would say…. who talks like that?

      • Talks like that… who WRITES like that?… aren’t you supposedly paid to write?

        what a fail.

        • That’s why we call them “Failbots”

          • One memorable late night, we had this guy who claimed to be a college professor and was writing stuff like “I red bokz” “you are hear” and “omfg! I pwned you! I shu thes to me clazze.” Professional writer is like Son of College Professor, amazing comebacks and all.

    • Wow. You’re a stalker. And an asshole. And a dick. And proud of it. Gee, I guess you win the booby prize trifecta. Congratulations!

  11. “What makes you think I’m not a mental patient?”

    I never said you weren’t.

    Have a good night.

  12. Underground Scribe = typesetter for the local want ads.

    • I don’t think he’s a mental patient. In my experience mental patients tend to have better senses of humor.

      • He’s probably an honor student.

        “Yes, your honor. No, your honor.”

        • More likely a hall monitor.

        • Reading UgS is offal. I predict anyone doing the same will have the same experience.

          • He’ll start bringing his A game when he starts making non-insulting money. Until then, anything goes. If the facts aren’t there, just assume the editor cut them–that doesn’t mean the unsupported point is untrue! Besides, in the era of the Internet and linking of reams of supplementary information/primary documents, space constraints are one of the most significant limitations on reporting.

  13. Anyone post this news? Should be an interesting encounter…

    Oprah goes rogue, invites Palin on show

    “In a world exclusive, Oprah Winfrey will interview former Alaska
    governor Sarah Palin for an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to air Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.


    • IT seems foolish to me. Why give Oprah the ratings?

      • Palin is selling her book. It”s also an opportunity to show a new audience she is actually a human being, instead of a Nazi caricature.

        • But nobody watches Oprah anymore, and what’s left of her audience isn’t going to buy her book. Much like tge rest of her Failbots, oprah fluffed Obama so much that she’s bound to want to try and preserve some shred of credibility by attacking Palin. And if Palin is harsh with Oprah, even if oprah atttacjs first, tge MSM will freak out. It seems like lose-lose.

          • I agree. Oprah’s only motivation will be to undermine Palin any way she can, and do so, smugly, with that fake smile Oprah does. Axelrod will coach Oprah on how to diminish Palin so they can all smirk and have late-night jokes to ridicule any opposition.

            Sarah doesn’t do recipes and new-age religions and celebrity gossip like Oprah does.
            She was running a state and negotiating with oil companies.

            Watch for Oprah doing her snake eyes, with lids half closed, snapping that snake tongue in and out of her fake smile.

            You won’t see Oprah discussing economics on the level that our Dak does. Oprah doesn’t know how.

  14. Now this is a real news story. Cowboy cited after his horse wanders away from a bar. He complains there are no hitching posts outside the bar.

    This one gave me a smile.

  15. Why do you assume that they come from white supremicists? I’d like to know how many come from African Americans!

  16. I’m still chuckling at math guy. This thread was fun! Please can we have more wandering visitors.

    • But their excuse is great: “We locked the door because you embarassed us by taping a hearing that none of us bothered to show up for!” So much for transparency.

      We warned them that putting Obamacrats in charge of the federal government would result in nothing but moronic frat style stunts.

      • It is like jr high – when the Republicans were in power – they locked out the Democrats – so…..here’s there opportunity to “get even” – geeeesh 😯

  17. Did you guys see that Shepard Fairey has now admitted that he lied about using a different image to create the Obama campaign poster (to avoid copyright law), destroyed evidence relating to the case, and also lied about not making money off the image? Oy, no wonder he was drawn to Obama, they have the same amount of integrity. True to form, he’s now arguing that his lies and illegal behavior are beside the point and secondary to the larger principle involved. Lol Feel the power of hope and change!

    • Yes. If we could just have that feeling back. That feeling, from waving that poster.

  18. This is for the Scribe, if the writing gig doesn’t work out. Real marketing work.


    • This is tailor made for Failbots. For some reason, Charmin seems to want to hire people to freak out unsuspecting tourists. Obots have got scaring everyone with inappropriate behavior down to a science–a match made in heaven! Finally, something socially maladjusted cretins can thrive at!

  19. hmmm these O_sheep should be shoes-ins for that job science they are naturally FULL OF SH**

  20. Skeptical. I hear Code Pink people aren’t settling for distant free speech zones. Now they’re buying tickets to his fundraisers. Wouldn’t be surprised to see access tightened to avoid embarassing incidents. Can’t have NPP winner called out as a warmonger. This provides the perfect excuse. And they may well need more help. Whether they intend to investigate every attendee, or set up high security “appearances” like those in Bush’s second term with blocked streets and snipers, it’ll take more Secret Service support.

    I’ve got a low cost safety solution:
    Keep him in Washington.


    • I’m sure Code Pink is classified as a terrorist organization after they infiltrated the Republican convention. That won’t happen to PR Man, you betcha.

  21. Here’s a related anecdote. Back when I was helping produce the caucus fraud documentary, We Will Not Be Silenced, we came across witnesses who overheard plans that we immediately called the incident the “smoking gun.” Obama organizers were heard discussing plans to gather and submit false caucus sign in sheets for people who didn’t attend (some instances of which the HRC campaign later noted in press releases). During filming and editing, I was on the phone non-stop, and when the “smoking gun” witnesses against Obama showed up, every conversation was peppered with “gun” and “Obama.” Then my phone stopped working. After a couple of hours of a mysterious lack of incoming calls, Verizon customer service told me some of my services had been turned off, but they couldn’t say why.

    It’s fair to assume Obama’s border-line behavior in cases like his “win” over Dr. Alice Palmer creates a lot of chatter the computers catch, like, “sooner or later, Obama is going to hang himself.”

    In fact, using “smoking gun” and “Obama” here might count as a threat.

    • That makes sense except for the lack of a warrant to monitor calls, but assuming some federal agency was using a program designed to alert on certain words it wouldn’t mean every time it was triggered that a threat was made.

      • Hah! Warrant? Remember who voted for FISA?

        • They don’t need a court approved warrant anymore.

          The FBI administrators can sign the letters themselves…..and their boss, now, is Obama’s DOJ director.

      • Since phone tapping programs are secret, I suspect that NSA (or whoever’s) computers screen the whole datastream for key words and phrases, flags data for human review, and that to go through the constitutional motions, the process doesn’t associate the identities of the callers with the flagged data without permission from the court. As long as they do not pull up a name, they can say they aren’t spying on *you* because they don’t know who they’re spying on. With this sort of legal curtain, they would be able to do all kinds of human exampination of potential evidence without doing what they define to be illegal.

  22. This has been fun folks.
    0 and the Chicago Machine are an incredible amateur hour. Their whole hit piece on Fox News wreaks of crybaby freshmen theatrics. They totally do not see the irony of their lust for a talk with Ahmadinejad (sp) and their boycott of any talk on Fox. For the WH press administration to hit on Hannity and Beck simply gives those 2 credibility they do not deserve.


    • Apparently this was all Emmanuel’s idea, Chicago style.

      They don’t even realize it will backfire, or that Fox’s ratings are INCREASING, not decreasing.

      Amateur hour, indeed. Keystone frikkin cops.

  23. Interesting. The report of the off-the-record briefing with Obama at the White House on Monday with Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, left out some names.

    It also included Eugene Robinson of WAPO, Maureen Dowd of NYT, Gwen Ifill of PBS, and Gloria Borger of CNN.

    Watch for the consistent talking points in the next week (assuming to you can stand to watch those shows or read those opinion writers).

    Obama must be feeling cornered, if he’s briefing his sycophants.


    • And the WH is saying that FOX is opinion based?? That crowd is very opinionated. The talking points will be the same. Sycophants, every last one of them.

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