Sunday, October 15, 2006

Secret Service questions teen

Time is valuable in the Secret Service, you know. This kid put something on her MySpace journal last spring.

She posted a picture of the president, scrawled "Kill Bush" across the top and drew a dagger stabbing his outstretched hand. She later replaced her page on the social-networking site after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.

It was too late.

Federal authorities had found the page and placed Wilson on their checklist. They finally reached her this week in her molecular biology class.

The 14-year-old freshman was taken out of class Wednesday and questioned for about 15 minutes by two Secret Service agents. The incident has upset her parents, who said the agents should have included them when they questioned their daughter.

On Friday, the teenager said the agents' questioning brought her to tears.

"I wasn't dangerous. I mean, look at what's (stenciled) on my backpack — it's a heart. I'm a very peace-loving person," said Wilson, an honor student who describes herself as politically passionate. "I'm against the war in Iraq. I'm not going to kill the president."

Her mother, Kirstie Wilson, said two agents showed up at the family's home Wednesday afternoon, questioned her and promised to return once her daughter was home from school.

After they left, Kirstie Wilson sent a text message to her daughter's cell phone, telling her to come straight home: "There are two men from the secret service that want to talk with you. Apparently you made some death threats against president bush."

"Are you serious!?!? omg. Am I in a lot of trouble?" her daughter responded.

Moments later, Kirstie Wilson received another text message from her daughter saying agents had pulled her out of class.

Spokesmen for the Secret Service in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., said they could not comment on the case.

Wilson and her parents said the agents were justified in questioning her about her posting. But they said they think agents went too far by not waiting until she was out of school.

They also said the agents should have more quickly figured out they weren't dealing with a real danger. Ultimately, the agents said they would delete their file on the teen.

Taking no chances, the Secret Service went to the girl's house and her school at the same time. Four agents, by my count, to apprehend one high school girl. S'pose someone could have quietly dropped by the school and made an inquiry at the principal's office? Or maybe asked her mother? Or maybe waited until class was over?

I dunno. These security things are way above my pay grade. Besides, I'm just an old guy blogging. But something about this story stinks. Really stinks.

Seems to me that during the time from "last Spring" and yesterday somebody could have thought of a less intrusive plan. I guess it would have taken too much valuable time that might be spent better elsewhere.

Thinking abouot it further, I'm not sure which I prefer...jackboots or sneakers.

I suppose jackboots are easier to track.

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