December 4th, 2009
03:26 PM ET
8 years ago

Secret Service: No more threats against Obama than Bush, Clinton

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "According to the Secret Service, there have been more threats made against President Obama than there were against former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton at this stage in their presidencies."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is not facing more threats to his life or security than the previous two presidents, according to the Secret Service.

At a hearing Thursday, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said "the threats right now in the inappropriate interest that we are seeing is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents at this point."

Sullivan rejected a figure in a recently published book by Ronald Kessler, "In the President's Secret Service." Kessler says the threat has increased 400 percent since Obama, the nation's first African-American president, took office.

In October, Kessler told CNN he stands by the figure even though a law enforcement source had told CNN it's false.

"There is about 3,000 threats a year under President Bush and now there are about 12,000. Of course, most of them are not credible, but they all have to be checked out," Kessler told CNN's "The Situation Room" in an interview with Wolf Blitzer in October.

He said he got the figure "originally from another agency, but I went over it with the Secret Service."

Sullivan, at a Congressional hearing about how a couple allegedly crashed a state dinner, brought up the 400 percent figure and rejected it, adding that he is "not sure where that number came from."

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, in an interview with CNN earlier this week, also said he was told the presidential threat level has not gone up under Obama.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • George W. Bush • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. diridi

    strong security is needed for our pres. obama. we need him more than he needs us....he is doing excellent....

    December 4, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    When was the last time a president had an armed "citizen" wandering around with their gun openly on display at an appearance? Was that a coincidence?

    December 4, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Lies, lies and more lies

    Kessler is another example of a pro-Obama disciple lying in order to silence the opposition. If he can make it look like those that oppose Obama's terrible policies (spending, healthcare, tax the rich, carbon taxes...) are racists, it's easier to discredit them.

    Obama is just like any other president, but with less experience, weak insight, and worse policies.

    December 4, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I guess it's great to know that President Obama is not hated any more or less than the previous two men that held that office. Still I don't recall when either Bush or Clinton were in office that folks bought AK47 rifles outside of buildings where they were making speeches or have ministers publically pray for their death and even issue biblical verses claiming it was ok for them to do so. And I'm sure that some of the hate directed towards them was not due to skin color. Also the internet wasn't as advanced then as it is now so a lot of the nutcases can go to chatrooms online undetected.

    December 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    There was no threat against George W. Bush other than Saddam threatening to kill his father. That's why he got us into this war.

    December 4, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Patriot

    Well duh!

    Publicly underestimating the threat against Obama is likely a conscious and deliberate part of the Secret Service strategy

    Only someone from Mars would believe the Secret Service.

    And while we are on the Secret Service, why did they allow the breach at the White House during the State Dinner with the Indian Prime Minister?

    The Secret Service PRIORITY is to KEEP PEOPLE OUT of the White House, especially if they had not proof that the criminal intruders were invited?

    So why did the Secret Service let intruders in? Mmmmm?

    December 4, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Baby Boomer

    While 400% may not be the number, none of us should think for one minute that the threat levels against the 1st African American President in US history are the same as former Presidents.

    All anyone has to do is look at the signs at Tea Parties, Birther rallies, etc. Not since the 1960's have we seen such hatred demonstrated publicly. Frankly, I thought the hard core bigots were (for the most part) gone. I couldn't have been more wrong.

    Of course there are more threats but this is exactly what I would expect the Secret Service to say. Especially after the slip up they just made...

    December 4, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |