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Democratic Underground Refusing to Cooperate with Secret Service Investigation

The Secret Service is investigating two DU posters for, apparently, making threats against someone in the administration. I don't know if it was President Bush who was the target of these posts, and the DU isn't talking. Now the secret service has asked DU for the posters' personal information, and the DU told them to go suck a peach (well not in those words, exactly, but you get my point). This is the DU's stand regarding the whole situation:

The inquiries involved three posts by two separate visitors to our website. Incidentally, both of the people in question were banned last week -- before we were aware that the Secret Service was looking into their postings. I'm not going to go into the details of the posts in question, except to say that all three of them would have been covered by the passage from the Democratic Underground rules that I posted above. (One of these posts was deleted by the moderators, two were not.)

The United States Secret Service has asked Democratic Underground to hand over any identifying or personal information we have about the two individuals in question.


The administrators of Democratic Underground take the privacy of our visitors very seriously. Even though the two people in question had already been banned from our website, we will not hand over any personal information from them or from any of our visitors unless we are legally compelled to do so.

After talking with the Secret Service -- who were polite and professional throughout -- we immediately contacted our lawyer to get his advice (as we always do whenever a legal issue arises). We will continue to consult with him throughout this situation so we can ensure that our rights and your rights are protected. On the advice of our lawyer, we have declined to voluntarily hand over any information about the two individuals in question. That is where matters stand at this point.

The Secret Service has informed us that they intend to get subpoenas in order to compel us to hand over the information. If and when they do, we will consult with our lawyer before we do anything.

And as the far left commenters at the DU are wont to do, they are blaming it all on right wing trolls from inside the RNC trying to discredit the DU. As if the DU needs any help.

Hat tip: Hot Air


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Democratic Underground Refusing to Cooperate with Secret Service Investigation:

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Comments (27)

I don't blame them. If the... (Below threshold)

I don't blame them. If there is any type of case, than get a subpoena. We do have rights. About a month ago, the SS arrested a man in CO for questioning Cheney's judgment.

Now that Bush has suspended habeas corpus, no one is safe.

Fascism often follows radic... (Below threshold)

Fascism often follows radical leftism as people seek order in chotic world. The beligerence on the left is a direct threat to the freedom and liberty of everyone

1. If it is a right wing tr... (Below threshold)

1. If it is a right wing troll, DUH, tell SS who it is. If they turn out to be Republicans -- problem solved!

2. *then get a subpoena. Figures my major grammar pet peeve would come from someone who thinks Bush has suspended habeas corpus.

By all means, let us stand ... (Below threshold)

By all means, let us stand our ground somewhere.

As the Chinese rebel - a veteran of the 1989 events - begins his jail term for posting pro-democracy material on the Internet, we can all rejoice that Google (D-CA) provided the requisite data without which this sentence would have been impossible.

And as for loonies of the left (D-MI) that make death threats against our President, well hey, that is a different story, an expected and protected activity as long as Clinton is not involved.

A stand on principle, that.

If DU thought the post came... (Below threshold)

If DU thought the post came from a republican they would have had thousands of copies ready for the SS. They know where and who they came from so they are protecting a criminal and terrorists possibly in the process of planning or executing an assignation. Wouldn't that make them accessories to the crime if one occurs.

I believe habeas corpus has only been suspended once or twice in the history of the country. Far less than it should have been.

Barney they ARE getting sup... (Below threshold)

Barney they ARE getting supoenas.Didn't you read the last paragraph? If Bush had actually suspended habeas corpus the "SS" wouldn't bother with subpoenas.In fact the "SS" not bothering to get subpoenas would be a key indication that habeaus corpus had been suspended in the real world and not just in leftist fantasies.But then again you guys don't claim to live in the real world,just in a world that is "reality based".

This is the DU's stand r... (Below threshold)

This is the DU's stand regarding the whole situation:

Their "stand" seems to be a request to follow established proper legal procedure for obtaining information from a private entity. What's the problem with that?

Though I think they should have said they'd comply with a subpoena instead of "consult with our lawyer before we do anything".

a key indication that ha... (Below threshold)

a key indication that habeaus corpus had been suspended in the real world and not just in leftist fantasies.But then again you guys don't claim to live in the real world,just in a world that is "reality based".

Wow, I've seen many people defending the elimination of habeas corpus, but I've never seen anyone outright denying it before.

Brian: "Though I think t... (Below threshold)

Brian: "Though I think they should have said they'd comply with a subpoena instead of "consult with our lawyer before we do anything"."

I don't think it wise to agree to comply with subpoenas that you haven't even seen yet. Only a Republican is dumb enough to fall for that.

What is the position of thi... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

What is the position of this post?...could there be a link to the "incident"?....I visit and post here because it allows me to broaden my spectrum..
most of the time I am given links that provide me information that allows me to establish an attitude..the info is missing here...

As for "Though I think they should have said they'd comply with a subpoena instead of "consult with our lawyer before we do anything".

What they should do? ..do U really think that the govt is always right and so why should anyone consult with a lawyer before responding? I admire your trust....I just don't share it.

Slap me on the ass and call... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Slap me on the ass and call me Judy, but I think I actually agree with Lee and nogo (don't get too happy, boys.) I'm a little nauseated at the thought of agreeing with these two, but I have to admit, that:

a.) You don't agree to subpeonas until you actual see the one against you;
b.) You are not compelled to hand over private information without one (unless you've already submitted your private information to a thrid party...like, say, a phone company!)
c.) I don't see the DU as somehow being uncooperative; they are well within their rights to refuse to comply
d.) Side note: It's good that they banned those two posters


a.) They should have informed the SS of a possible threat; sorry, kids, you don't get make idle threats against a President

b) The Secret Service has an obligation to check out any and all threats to the President, legitimate or otherwise.

c.) The SS will likely get that subpeona and the DU will have to comply with it. Like it or not.

d.) I would suggest that the DU hang onto that information

I'm going back to being nauseated now...

Well Brian perhaps you shou... (Below threshold)

Well Brian perhaps you should leave the "reality based" community and visit the real world for a change.When thousands of leftist moonbats get rounded up without charges or trial,let me know.

Good points, though I just ... (Below threshold)

Good points, though I just can't think of any reasonable justification for a run-of-the-mill web site to fight a legally obtained subpoena. It's not like subpoenaing a lawyer, doctor, or priest. And it's not like they're the Branch Davidians. So given that, I just think it was unnecessary to imply they may not cooperate.

It is unlawful to threaten ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

It is unlawful to threaten the life of the President of the United States. That is a federal felony. I truly hope DU is guilty of obstruction of justice. It would serve them right.

I'm with Peter F. on this o... (Below threshold)

I'm with Peter F. on this one.

I'd like to add that I'm glad they are doing as they are. I don't like anyone giving out other people's private info just for the asking. Legal forms should be followed.

They are not (yet) guilty of obstruction of justice. Unless their lawyer is a complete nutcase, they'll be told they better turn over the info... and they will. But they SHOULD make the Feds do it legally. And so should anyone else in a similar situation. No matter which side of the fence they are on.

Except, Zelsdorf, you're no... (Below threshold)

Except, Zelsdorf, you're not obstructing justice if you don't comply with a "polite request." If a cop wants to search your house for illegal firearms and drugs, and you say no, that's not obstructing justice.

If you try and keep them out when they have a warrant... then you're screwed. And you'll get what you deserve.

It is perhaps worth mention... (Below threshold)

It is perhaps worth mentioning that President Bush is out making stops, one not far from me, as I write this.

The Secret Service does not operate on the timelines that courts and defense lawyers would prefer. We cannot know where these dudes are and if they are serious.

If they are not serious, the Secret Service would give them the requisite warning and let them off with the customary slap on the wrist.

If they are serious it may already be too late.

With three shot Presidents over 40 years, and death plots on at least one other, one cannot take this too seriously. That is why it is illegal to make these threats in the first place.

OK, so we know these dudes have committed a crime, that is obvious on the face of it. All the proof, or probable cause you want right in front of your face. Anything else is procedure.

And the Secret Service cannot operate on the DU standards: that if they stop two out of three threats they are doing something noble.

ZR:If they refuse ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


If they refuse to comply with a subpeona, THEN it will defintiely be obstruction of justice. (They can be charged with obstruction of justice PRIOR to getting a subpeona, but that probably won't happen as it's a sticky legal wicket.)

And If they "lose" or "misplace" those IP addies or some other such stunt or that they've lied about not knowing these posters, then they'll definitely be the captains of a slow boat going up shit creek. Which is why I suggested they hold onto that information...

Peter...talking about threa... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Peter...talking about threats...should our govt have pursued this..

BECK: Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure."....of course there are many links to Ann Coulter remarks...

Do you really feel confident in exchanging tit-for-tat....left vs. right...calling for the death of an individual or destruction of property?
Why is it that righty blogs are often filled with such phrases as "hang'em" ..."line them up and shoot them"?

Yeah lefty blogs are full of BS..but I do not find calls for violence like I find on "righty" blogs..

Nogo -Were Michael... (Below threshold)

Nogo -

Were Michael Moore ever to be elected as President, I'd fully agree that any threats against his life should have the Secret Service do a proctological exam on the person making the threats. The President of the US DOES need and deserve a greater amount of protection than a private citizen, because of his visibility and the possibility of nutcases trying to impress Jodi Foster (or Paris Hilton, or the Media Bimbo of the Year...) I can't see any possibility of him getting elected, (snowballs and hell come to mind...) but who knows what might happen in the future?

However - threatening his life as he stands now? Shrug. Tell the police, let them do what they normally do.

Straw Men, Straw Men, Clone... (Below threshold)

Straw Men, Straw Men, Clones of the Straw Man.

It is illegal to threaten the President of the US. Not Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan or Charlton Heston.

The President was threatened.

There is no risk to cooperating with the Secret Service with a clear violation of law involved.

Choosing not to is a clear statement.

Now that Bush has suspen... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Now that Bush has suspended habeas corpus, no one is safe.

You are a bloody-grey idiot, you realise that? Do you have a life?

"barney google" are you rea... (Below threshold)

"barney google" are you really that dumb?

I was in D.C. in 1988, and ... (Below threshold)

I was in D.C. in 1988, and waiting in line to see The President. Kid in front of me was making jokes about explosives in his buttons, etc. He was tackled, cuffed, and out of the arena before any of us could even close our mouths. The Secret Service has one of the toughest jobs in the world. What would have happened if those "jokes" were let slide, and the kid really had "bomb-buttons", as he claimed? A dead president, and probably Dan Quayle in office. (Not that the idea repells me or anything, I like the guy.) Let's not go calling them the "SS", o.k.? They've got it just about as bad as the border patrol. They're just doing the job. Oh, and by the way, Habeus Corpus has not been suspended, removed, or eliminated. If you believe it has, please explain exactly why, with examples.

"You are not compelled t... (Below threshold)

"You are not compelled to hand over private information without one (unless you've already submitted your private information to a thrid party...like, say, a phone company!)"

Boy was that ever a mouthful! Companies hand out our information freely so we can be harrassed to death - Just go ahead and shoot me. I'd rather that than, as Jay says, be pecked to death by ducks.

Just a few days ago I caught the tail end of something on TV about a girl (looked to be about 14) who had posted some threat to the President on the 'net. She was investigated by the Secret Service, but I missed the rest of it. Anyone else see it?

Peter F., you can call me J... (Below threshold)

Peter F., you can call me Judy because that's my name. Just don't slap me anywhere. ;-)

Oyster, er, Judy...<p... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Oyster, er, Judy...

It was meant to be a snarky mouthful. ;-)

Yes, I heard about that 14-year old girl. I think the Secret Service gave her quite a scare, but I don't believe she was prosecuted.






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