President Barack Obama faced threats against his life during a recent visit to Southern Indiana, police have confirmed.
While verbal or written threats against the president occur with some frequency, a threat preceding Obama’s visit to the Evansville area apparently was considered serious enough to prompt an increased Secret Service presence.
“We had received information throughout the week (preceding the Oct. 3 visit),” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Jason Allen in Evansville. “There was some intel that was received. I think there was one individual of particular interest to (the U.S. Secret Service). Anything that is said on social media sites or whatever has to be taken seriously and investigated, and some (posts) could definitely be considered a serious threat.”
Obama flew to Evansville on National Manufacturing Day and spent 90 minutes at Millennium Steel Service in Princeton. The firm is a major supplier for Toyota's auto assembly plant across the street.
Maj. Craig Titzer of the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office also was aware threats were made, he said.
“We were just given information to be alert and watch out,” Titzer said, adding that multiple area police agencies assisted with security efforts.
The U.S. Secret Service oversaw the investigation into the individual who allegedly made threats, Allen said.
“We committed well over 200 police officers to the detail,” Allen said. “The vast majority of those were traffic assignments in terms of motorcade support for the presidential limousine. But we also had a lot of different assets on the ground in intelligence-gathering.”
The intense security surrounding the presidential visit minimized the dangers posed by anyone with malicious intent, Allen said.
“At no time do we feel the president’s life was in danger,” Allen said.
The rise of Twitter during President Obama's administration really has been a source of serious problems for the White House as far as it being used as a vector for threats. Before the USSS had to worry about threatening phone calls or letters, but those were things that could be traced. Now, the Internet allows real time harassment of the President and his family, and we basically demand the USSS has to follow up on these things every time.
Perhaps Republicans shouldn't have reduced funding in last year's sequestration mess. These guys need all the help they can get.