Secret Service exposed for investigating man over non-threatening social media posts about Biden

 May 7, 2024

The primary mission of the U.S. Secret Service is to protect the president and their immediate family, top officials in the line of succession, major presidential candidates, and perhaps a few other high-profile political targets of threats and violence.

A recent report has revealed a particular zealousness by a certain Secret Service agent to pursue an investigation of a Maine man who displayed an "unusual interest" in President Joe Biden and his family in social media posts, according to Reclaim the Net, a website focused on free speech issues.

This case is especially noteworthy in that there were no apparent threats from the man targeted for investigation by the Secret Service, and the probe appears to have been launched solely by concerns over humorous social media posts that are clearly protected speech under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

Secret Service investigated despite lack of evidence of any real threats

The Daily Signal reported exclusively on Secret Service documents and emails obtained by the Heritage Foundation's Oversight Project in a Freedom of Information Act request about a formal investigation the federal protective agency launched in 2022 into an unidentified Maine man over his social media posts about President Biden and his family.

Those documents revealed that a "preliminary protective intelligence investigation" was opened that targeted the man, a U.S. Army veteran, after he "posted statements of unusual interest towards the Biden Family" on the social media app then known as Twitter.

The post that appears to have sparked the probe was one in which the man obviously joked about his plans to "invade the White House and get pics of Biden in his 'Depends'" -- a brand of adult diapers. That post prompted a request for a preliminary investigation by a regional Secret Service office that was subsequently elevated to senior agents in Washington D.C.

Except, despite a thorough investigation, apparently including subpoenas issued to Twitter, no actual threats from the targeted individual against the president or close members of his family were ever discovered. Even still, documents show that the inconclusive probe was further extended beyond the preliminary period and it is unclear if or when it was ever closed or remains open and ongoing.

Possible personal connection between lead investigative agent and Hunter Biden

The Daily Signal further reported that the 2022 investigation of the unidentified Maine man's social media posts was led by Secret Service Senior Agent John Mazza, who is now retired but notably served previously on the protective detail for then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that Mazza's personal contact information had previously been discovered on Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop, which the outlet suggested was an "extremely irregular" situation, according to another former Secret Service agent granted anonymity.

It was speculated that the younger Biden may have developed a personal relationship with the agent and obtained his contact information in that regard -- but that only raises questions about the possibility of improper motivations for Mazza to scrutinize the non-threatening social media posts from the target of the investigation, some of which poked fun at the current president's scandal-plagued son.

A worrisome trend of government surveillance of social media that threatens to "chill free expression online"

OtakuKart, a website generally focused on entertainment, gaming, and pop culture, observed that The Daily Signal's report "highlights concerns over the balance between free speech and security measures," given the lack of any actual verifiable threats from the target of the Secret Service investigation over humorous social media posts aimed at President Biden and his family.

"The probe, conducted under the umbrella of protecting the president and his family, raises questions about the extent to which government agencies monitor online activity," not to mention how "the investigation’s initiation based solely on protected speech underscores potential First Amendment implications," the outlet stated.

The outlet added, "Critics argue that the investigation represents government overreach and may chill free expression online" and is indicative of "a broader trend of increased surveillance of social media platforms" by government agencies, including going "beyond mere observation" to include the use of "subpoenas and interviews" to gain more information, despite the lack of any credible threat.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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