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Secret Service Grills Boy Who Warned President About Suicide Bombers on Facebook

Illustration for article titled Secret Service Grills Boy Who Warned President About Suicide Bombers on Facebook

There's an old sketch from MTV's brilliant The State, where a kid reprimands his obnoxious classmates, saying, "You can't even joke about it! You just can't say 'Gee, wouldn't it be great if we shot the President,'" which results in a swarm of Secret Service agents flooding the classroom and carrying him away. Well, that isn't much of an exaggeration.

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That same, basic scenario befell Vito LaPinta, a 13-year-old from Tacoma, who was interrogated by a Secret Service agent after he posted an observation on Facebook that (and I'm quoting Vito, let's just be clear here) President Obama should be "careful because there could be suicide bombers" seeking vengeance for Osama bin Laden.

A week after writing that, Vito recalled for the local Fox affiliate, he was pulled out of class and brought to the principal's office:

"A man walked in with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service. He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the President. I was very scared."

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After a half-hour of questioning, Vito was deemed not a threat, and was released. His mom is pissed, because all of this went down without her present. But I'm actually kind of impressed? I guess all those Obama/Zuckerberg summits are really paying information-exchange dividends! [KCPQ via Daily Mail, screengrab via KCPQ]

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DISCUSSION

Federal law mandates that if the Secret Service deems a potential threat to the President or any foreign dignitary in their protection, they may suspend, temporarily, an individuals rights and protections as afforded by the constitution.

That means, they had no obligation to inform this boys mother and ait for her to be present for the interrogation.

It also means, they could have waited until he got home and just barged in and questioned him and the entire family, no warrant needed.

The Secret Service is the only agency with these powers. While we may not like them, they are there for the very serious reason of protecting the President and other countries leaders while on US soil.

This boy wrote that the President should watch out for suicide bombers. That could be loosely construed as a threat. They questioned the boy and realized there was no threat and the incident is over. Except for his parents who want to sue over basically nothing. He wasn't hurt. And other adults, while they may not have been in the room, were just outside the room trying to hear what was going on.

To those that are calling this a police state, or further eroding of our civil liberties, or say they would retaliate, stop and think for a minute what actually happened.

A 13 year old boy mentioned the President and suicide bombers and the phrase "watch out" in one sentence.

The Secret Service investigated.

No credible threat was found.

The boy was sent back to class.

The same people who are complaining about this are the same ones who complain when something like 9/11 happens.

They want the government to protect everybody, but they don't want the government to intrude in any way.

You can be safe, or you can have 100% freedom.

You can not have both.