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Insulting Obama tweet sparks Secret Service visit

4:23 PM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida - Scott Barrish isn't afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to politics and President Barack Obama.

"I don't agree with his policies, I don't agree with his party's platform," said Barrish Thursday afternoon after the President's campaign stop in Tampa.

Barrish sent out a Tweet saying he'd be "in close proximity to the Failure-in-Chief" and that the president wasn't welcome in Tampa.

"It was my personal feeling about the president being in my town. I certainly don't welcome him."

But Barrish's Tweet was enough to catch the attention of the U.S. Secret Service, who called him first thing Thursday morning, and even sent two Hillsborough County deputies to his home.

"They said, 'Well we kind of deem that tweet a threat against the President and we want to come out and talk with you. Where are you right now?'"

Barrish used his cell phone to record deputies arriving as one of the officers told him it was against the law to even insult the president.

"I was very shocked because first. I didn't feel like my tweet would rise to the level of a threat and two, it's being closely monitored to the way that it was."

We called the U.S. Secret Service. They say while they respect everyone's right to free speech, they also have an obligation to determine a person's intent. They wondered what Barrish meant when he Tweeted he'd be in "close proximity" to the President.

"The proximity comment was that I work downtown and he was visiting Ybor," said Barrish.

And while Barrish, who works as a security guard, was not arrested, or even asked to delete his Tweet, he is filing a formal complaint about how the Secret Service handled his personal opinion on the president.

"I feel like this is a chilling effect on citizens being able to speak their mind."

 


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