Reminder: Secret Service is monitoring social media; 2 women in hot water over posts

A Secret Service agent said on Facebook that she refused to take a bullet for Trump and a different women tweeted her hope for Trump to be assassinated; both are being investigated.

Trump inauguration
Abigayle Marks/DOD

You don’t see news about the U.S. Secret Service every day, but here are a couple examples which should serve as reminders that law enforcement is monitoring social media.

While this is not a suggestion to chill down your First Amendment rights, although those rights might be getting chilled ever more even as you read this, you must be wise about what you say online. It's not private. If you start making what could be conceived as threats against President Trump, or even one of his top advisors such as Kellyanne Conway, then you might as well expect to be hearing from the Secret Service.

If you already did say something in the realm of “stupid,” but nothing happened, then maybe you skated by … or maybe just give it time.

For example, U.S. Secret Service Agent Kerry O’Grady is in hot water for a Facebook post she wrote in October; she indicated that she would rather do “jail time” than take “a bullet” for Trump who she referred to as a “disaster” for America.

O’Grady is special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Denver district; she was responsible for coordinating with other Secret Service teams about pre-election trips made by the president, vice president and presidential candidates to the area.

If you recall when FBI Director James Comey told Congress about emails discovered from a unrelated case, which might have information related to Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, some people started howling about him violating the Hatch Act; it’s a law meant to stop federal employees from showing political bias or using their position to influence or interfere with an election.

Secret Service employees are also bound by the Hatch Act, yet the Washington Examiner reported that back in October O’Grady wrote:

As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median. To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides. But this world has changed and I have changed. And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her.

Screenshots of her comments are circulating on social media. The Secret Service found out what she said and is reportedly “taking quick and appropriate action.” The agency added, “All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated.”

O’Grady told the Washington Examiner that she regretted the post and deleted it a few days later. She said she would take a bullet for Trump after all. “I serve at the pleasure of the president, but I still have the First Amendment right to say things,” she said in one of many comments to the newspaper. But by the time CNN and CBS tried to get a quote, O-Grady wasn’t talking.

Secret Service investigating tweet about assassinating Trump

She’s not the only person in hot water for over-sharing her thoughts on social media. A Louisville, Kentucky, woman tweeted, “If someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump.”

Heather Lowrey has since deleted her Twitter and Facebook accounts; she is being investigated by the Secret Service for potentially violating the law and threatening a president. She has also “faced consequences from at least three employers,” with at least two of them severing her work contract.

Secret Service Special Agent Richard Ferretti told the Courier-Journal that the U.S. Secret Service takes threats very seriously. The public should “think twice before they send it out; we are definitely monitoring social media.”

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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