U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan dismissed published reports that the level of death threats against President Obama are four times greater than typical threat levels against recent presidents — claiming the current volume of threats is comparable to that under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
“It’s not [a] 400 percent [increase],” Sullivan said during a heated exchange with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who suggested the service needed additional agents to protect the first African-American president.
“I’m not sure where that number comes from,” he said, adding that the number of threats against Obama “are the same level as it has been [against] the last two presidents.”
“It is well known, it’s been in the press over and over again, that this president has received far more death threats than any president in the history of the United States,” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congressional delegate for the District of Columbia, said at today’s hearing.
The Boston Globe reported in October that “unprecedented” threats against the president, among other things, have put a strain on the Secret Service’s resources.
“Mr. Obama, who was given Secret Service protection 18 months before the election – the earliest ever for a presidential candidate – has been the target of more threats since his inauguration than his predecessors,” the Globe reported.
This myth (as we now know it to be) has been plastered all over the left-wing blogosphere. As far as I can tell, it all tracks back to just two sources: the Boston Globe story and a book about the Secret Service. The Globe story cites an internal Congressional Research Service report. Now that we know the story isn’t true, it would be interesting to learn what the CRS report actually says.