November 22, 2006

What a humiliation for the Secret Service!

How could the First Daughter get robbed?

44 comments:

VICTOR said...

In common parlance, "robbed" ~ "mugged". This is not what took place right?

AllenS said...

A theft occurred.

Goesh said...

- there goes the Christmas bonus

Ann Althouse said...

She was definitely robbed. Robbery is a type of theft. Don't you know the distinctive thing that makes a theft a robbery?

This was a purse snatching. It is humiliating that the Secret Service could let this happen and not notice it.

AllenS said...

From the article:

"First Daughter Barbara Bush had her purse and cell phone stolen as she had dinner in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina"

Stolen, not robbed.

From my dictionary:

Robbery: the felonious taking of property from another's person by violence or intimidation.

A theft occurred.

Seven Machos said...

I say it was larceny.

Mark Daniels said...

Heads should definitely roll for something like that. George and Laura Bush must be beside themselves with anger and rightly so! If the Secret Service allowed that to happen, young Barbara Bush wasn't being guarded very well at all.

The Secret Service is an extraordinary group, of course. But one wonders whether--as 'Guarding Tess' had it, its agents don't regard anything other than being with the President as second-string and so, demotivating. One thing's for sure, the agents who let this happen won't be moving up to first string any time soon.

Mark Daniels

Slim999 said...

A better question is:

Why, a couple of days before, did an off-duty Secret Service Agent responsible for protecting the President's daughter get his ass kicked in a bar fight?

Start asking that question ... see what you come up with.

She lost her purse because the Secret Service personnel charged with her protection have abandoned the oaths they took.

Every damn one of them should be frog-marched right across the White House lawn and shown the front gate, in full view of a waiting press corps.

Ann Althouse said...

It is reported as a robbery, and I assume that means her purse was close enough to her to be a robbery. Women tend to keep their purses with them. It would be odd not to.

It is also a theft/larceny, as all robberies are.

Seven Machos said...

You know what? No more frog-marching. I'm quite sick of frog-marching. People messed up and I am confident that it will affect their careers very adversely and that a lot of good in terms of policy and procedure will result from this lapse.

Seven Machos said...

P.S.: I have no idea what larceny actually means.

Slim999 said...

Seven,

As a parent, I can guarantee you what I would do to these guys. I'd force them to come to a press conference with me, where I let the press corps grill them on how they let a robber get that close to my daughter.

Then, at the end of the press conference, I'd fire them on national television.

Now, I know George W. Bush won't do that; he requires loyalty from the Secret Service to stay alive. He and his loved ones will require that loyalty for many, many years after he leaves the service of his country.

And such a press conference wouldn't earn him many loyalty points with our men in black. Maybe they decide they don't see that moonbat holding that gun at the next large rally, if you know what I mean.

But I'll say this: Oath's are important. These guys failed their oath's.

If they had any sense of decency, they would just resign.

Seven Machos said...

Slim -- I doubt that the president has the authority simply to fire a member of the Secret Service. There is probably an administrative review process. It may not be as satisfying, but it's the law.

Also, yeah, this was a tremendous letdown. But I used to work in an Embassy. Americans get robbed abroad all the time.

MadisonMan said...

Offhand, I'd say she was the most convenient target for the thief, and in a bar the most convenient target is usually the one who's drunkest or highest.

A more charitable explanation would be that she's used to being protected and let her purse guard down.

Seven Machos said...

Madison Man -- You've really, really gone down hill.

AllenS said...

Women leave their purses unguarded every time they get up to dance. Ever see women on the dance floor with their purses? At restaurants they leave them behind when they get back in the chow line for seconds.

Timothy K. Morris said...

As a county prosecutor who has seen, first hand (up close and personal, in fact) the simply amazing disconnect between what a good reporter writes and what copy editors and headline writers place in the media, I would not be willing to even guess what happened here.

I do want to observe that lay people, and even lawywers who should be able to reach back to their first year crim law class for the proper definitions, continually say robbery when no robbery occurred.

Timothy K. Morris said...

For a wonder, the BBC has a somewhat clearer account.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6171600.stm

Note how they phrase the key facts:

hdhouse said...

why was she in argentina?

Freder Frederson said...

Another reason she needs to get her butt out of bars in Argentina and get her (and her sister's) butt into OCS.

Draft Jenna and NotJenna!

MadisonMan said...

Despite the wording of the headline, that she was robbed, it seems like the purse went missing in the general confusion of a busy restaurant.

So a felon was close enough to take a purse. Which means they're close enough to cause bodily harm. I'm curious why the girls were allowed to go to such a restaurant -- or to sit in such an exposed location. And then to read that off-duty Secret Service men are in bar brawls. What is going on?

Ann Althouse said...

Madison Man: Now they're "girls" and they shouldn't have enough of a life that they can got to restaurants? The hell? Most of us women go to bars and restaurants and we don't even have one bodyguard. Imagine having Secret Service protection. You'd feel utterly safe... but then they let you get robbed. It's a damned outrage. Blaming Barbara makes no sense at all.

And how would you like to live through your 20s this much in the public eye? Judging her makes no sense at all. She is not a public official. She owes us nothing, nothing more than any other young person. Why not blame every young person who hasn't dedicated herself to public service? There are a lot of them. The notion that her father is responsible what she does is offensive. She's a free adult. So you don't like her father. Do you judge every young person by their father?

Bissage said...

MadisonMan asked: "What is going on?"

Isn't it obvious? The Bush daughters' Secret Service detail is always drunk and high.

Well, why not? So long as we're making up nasty facts, . . .

Come on, now. You're better than that.

Goesh said...

We don't even know the lay-out of the place - it sounds like a classic snath and run. She would have been 'boxed' by her guards, their focus is always external, the primary and an accomplice approach wanting autographs most likely, they would have been scruitinized as they approached, the snatch made and a sprint to the nearest exit. The exits would be guarded but the focus there would be totally external as well, seeking to prevent potential threats from entering. They wouldn't be looking for a thief running out. Whoever made the 'hit'has done it before - they obviously knew what they were doing. I seriously doubt they knew who they were robbing.

MadisonMan said...

I do think of the Bush Twins as girls, 'cause that's what they were when I first became aware of them in 2000. It's much easier for me to freeze people at one age than to acknowledge that they're aging -- my daughter could talk to you at some length about this unfortunate denialist trait of mine.

The Drill SGT said...

a couple of comments:

1. The president can't "fire" anybody except the people he "hires" e.g the Cabinet types. Even for a "political appointee", he needs to ask the guy to quit, an there is a minimum of paperwork needed to be done by the boss that actually Hired the guy. As for the SS, the POTUS can say to the head of his detail, "That guy is history, I don't want to see him again, reassign him. I don't know about the SS, but in the Army, a "relief for cause" would strongly encourage an officer to retire or resign, since his career and future was shot.

2. We don't know the circumstances of the theft. Was it robbery? or was it picking up a purse left on the floor when she got up to dance or hit the ladies room and the SS proceeded to cover her movement.

3. I as struck by the vicious comments on the news site and to a lesser extent here. The Bush daughters and just that, daughters. They didn't ask for Pop to be President, didn't ask for SS protection, aren't responsible for Iraq, and don't need to volunteer for combat to assuage some guilt of their father's or their own. Folks should be ashamed at those comments, there and here.

Seven Machos said...

Madison Man -- I think your daughter is high and drunk all the time. I'm just going to go through the rest of my life spouting that, though I have no facts to back it up. The fact is, I don't like her father. And that's enough for me.

Bissage said...

To amplify Goesh's point, we know next to nothing about what really happened and that's the way it should be.

Maybe even the most vile of terrorists consider the children of the President out-of-bounds, if only for fear of p.r. blow-back, but the Secret Service can't afford to take that chance.

I hope this lapse does nothing to encourage an attempt at abduction and I assume the news was reported only because it could not be suppressed.

the pooka said...

Oh, come on. It's not like there isn't any data to back up MadisonMan's point...

Seven Machos said...

Why would it bother you if women in their mid-20s drink or do drugs socially? Do you have ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that either of President Bush's daughters has any problems with alcohol or drugs?

If you don't, and I doubt you do, shut the fuck up and stop libeling these people.

VICTOR said...

Prof. Althouse,

I'm speaking from a non-legal perspective.

The key ? in my opinion, was whether she was holding the purpose. Maybe it was sitting right next to her?

Big difference as far as whether she was threatened -- and whether heads should roll.

"Don't you know the distinctive thing that makes a theft a robbery?"

Doesn't seem important to me, the question is whether the purse was taken while she was holding it. Period (and for the records, I don't!).

VICTOR said...

CNN reports that "Barbara Bush, 24, was 'not in the immediate proximity' of the bag when it was swiped."

Seems like much less of a deal.

NDC said...

Throwing another idea out there: a person who seems to be working in the place, approaches the table and takes the purse.

I recently ate at a place where the staff came back by and put everyone's purses on little stools. Sounds bizarre, I know.

But thinking back on it, we didn't jump up and say, "what the heck are you doing touching my purse?" the minute they did.

So, if the SS guys are focused away from the table, and someone who seems to work there approaches the table. . . I can see how it might happen.

I'd still expect better, but I'm not sure it equates with failure to honor their oaths.

Stephen said...

"A Secret Service agent on the advance detail got into an "altercation" with someone after a night out and was badly beaten, according to the law enforcement reports. The Secret Service said today the incident was an attempted mugging that occurred while the agent was on his own time. The agent is doing fine."

I think people should prevent some contrary evidence before claiming it was a "bar brawl" and that this was an example of a Secret Service agent "abandoning the oaths" he took.

knoxgirl said...

Yeah, it's funny to hear opponents of Bush going out of their way to prudishly wag their fingers at a couple of 20-somethings partying.

It was also petty when people would make fun of Chelsea when she was first daughter.

Cedarford said...

Mark Daniels said...
Heads should definitely roll for something like that. George and Laura Bush must be beside themselves with anger and rightly so! If the Secret Service allowed that to happen, young Barbara Bush wasn't being guarded very well at all.

The Secret Service is an extraordinary group, of course. But one wonders whether--as 'Guarding Tess' had it, its agents don't regard anything other than being with the President as second-string and so, demotivating. One thing's for sure, the agents who let this happen won't be moving up to first string any time soon.


There is no such thing as "perfect protection". Just like certain fools who think "body armor" or "uparmored HUMVEES" keep our soldiers safe. (See note) They don't. And being ringed in bodyguards doesn't prevent some attacks from fully or partially succeeding as events in Lebanon - and attacks on Ford, Reagan, JFK prove.

The SS men and occasional woman are there to protect the "dignitary" they are assigned to - not Clinton's dog Buddy (roadkill) or woman's pocketbooks.

Career pickpockets and "snatch and grab" specialists can operate so fast that the crime is discovered later. Nor - if they did see it - are they supposed to abandon the person they are bodyguarding to drop protection and chase after a petty thief - which could be a deliberate distraction as prelude to attack on the key figure.

It is not uncommon for cops or SS to have cars stolen, wallets picked. One pick picket gang of El Salvadorans deliberately targeted cops in uniform as a rite of passage for apprentices to show they had cajones.

Note: I wish - given the growing disconnect between families in America that provide soldiers and the rest of society that the rest had a better education in military science. Pehaps given our public schools are now behind in math and sciences of most advanced nations and struggling to just get half of Latino and blacks to simply graduate, it's wishful thinking...
But people do not generally understand tradeoffs or limitations of armor, the nature of a thinking enemy, the fact that our deaths are less than in a peacetime military rate of 30 years ago, and Lefty obsession over any Iraqi or American death being unacceptable all but guarantees Darfur will be abandoned to it's fate.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with calling it a robbery is that a robbery typically requires the actual or threatened use of force. For example, in Colorado, C.R.S. 18-4-301 states that:
(1) A person who knowingly takes anything of value from the person or presence of another by the use of force, threats, or intimidation commits robbery.
(2) Robbery is a class 4 felony.

With the Secret Service present, it is highly unlikely that the theft involved the "use of force, threats, or intimidation".

Bruce Hayden said...

Going on with my CO statutes, if this had happened here, the more appropriate offense would have problably been "theft". C.R.S. 18-4-401:
(1) A person commits theft when he knowingly obtains or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization, or by threat or deception, and:
(a) Intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value; or

Bruce Hayden said...

I have spent enough time in clubs and bars over the years to know that plenty of women do carry purses that they can dance with, and many others are very careful to make sure that someone is protecting their purses when dancing. Also, in an ongoing relationship, I often end up carrying a woman's essentials - notably ID, makeup, and libstick, when we go out dancing.

Let me suggest though that purse paranoia is something that is learned. My experience is that teenage girls are far more likely to misplace their active purse than a 50 year old woman is. The Bush girls have spent their post-high school years protected by the Secret Service, and, because of that, may be less cognizent of the danger of such being stolen than other girls of their age.

chickenlittle said...

Would intersting if the thief sold some of the private phone numbers stored in the cell phone:

"Dad's" number
"Granddad's" number
Uncle Turdblossom

etc...

Revenant said...

I'm curious why the girls were allowed to go to such a restaurant -- or to sit in such an exposed location

"Allowed"? Whose permission would they be needing, exactly?

Pogo said...

I admit it. It was me, the kindly old janitor.

And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!

Joe said...

I love how the secret service agents have been condemned based simply on a generic, one sentence. Before we start executing these brave men and women, don't you think we should find out the details of what actually happened?

MadisonMan said...

Whose permission would they be needing, exactly?

As I said upthread, I still tend to think of them as minors. (I'm also still 30.)