Feeling insecure: Threats against Obama increase

It burns, but what about the counterfeiters?      (ap)

One thing the White House won't talk about, and never talks about, is security around the president — any president. But those of us who travel with President Obama, around Washington, out of town and overseas, have noticed that security around him seems tighter, more intense, and deeper than it was even around former President George W. Bush.

The Boston Globe obtained a report by the Congressional Research Service, detailing an internal debate in the government over dropping the financial crimes mission of the Secret Service and redefining its purpose. An increase in death threats against the president, a rise in the number of hate groups, and anti-government rage threaten to overwhelm the agency, the Globe reports.

“This is a discussion going on not only in some quarters in Congress, but inside the Secret Service. Should there be a re-look at the mission?’’ said a government official, who like others was not authorized to speak publicly about security matters or reveal details about the number or nature of the threats.

The Secret Service was created in 1865 to fight counterfeiting, a job it still does in addition to guarding the presidential family and other leaders (White House senior adviser David Axelrod has his own detail, past presidents, members of Congress — this blog should be getting one any day, but we digress). The Service's mission expanded over the years — investigating the KKK, doing counterespionage and now, anticipating terrorist threats. But protecting the president remains the top job, notes the Globe.

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.

Update: The Secret Service says threats against Obama these days are about what they were for Bush and former President Bill Clinton at this point in their administrations.

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