Hmmm ... a bit more on the Bamboozlepalooza event where the three non-Bush-loyalists were tossed by a guy <$Ad$>who appeared to be a Secret Service agent.
According to this article in the Rocky Mountain News, the three in question were specifically told by event officials that they were being held until Secret Service agents came to escort them out of the building.
So it seems it wasn't just a case of these guys seeing a guy in a black suit and an earpiece and figuring he was Secret Service.
The three also claim that the real Secret Service agent who later investigated the incident told them that there have been repeated incidents of Republican operative posing as Secret Service agents to toss folks who aren't Bush-True out of taxpayer-funded Bamboozlepalooza events.
We can also add this to the mix.
A reader from the White House press corps tells us ...
Yes, well, I've never seen "rent-a-cops" at presidential events. Local cops, yes. State cops, yes. Military folks, yes. Uniformed Secret Service, yes. But mall security guard types? Nyet, comrade.
My guess, since I was not at the event, is that a local volunteer affiliated with the White House, or a travelling advance person (a junior aide in charge of the logistics of presidential and press travel), ushered them out.
I say this because it's not uncommon for those low-level folks to wear suits and ties, and because they frequently use what every reader of TPM would recognize as Hollywood's Secret Service communications system, a talk mike clipped inside the sleeve, and an earpiece. And lots of male Bush volunteers and advance people wear their hair almost short enough to be confused for military style, or Secret Service. And they wear little pins in their lapels that look like the kinds of pins that museums give to people who have made a donation. (The Service has more official-looking pins).
I've encountered 22-year-old, suited, earpiece-equipped volunteers who have tried to order me around without either good sense, authority, or instructions from higher-ups. It's easy to handle when you're press ("Interesting request. Um, how can I put this? No.") but I can imagine that it's scary if you don't know that they have very little power. As a rule of thumb, I would ask for credentials (badge, ID card) from anyone not obviously carrying a gun or wearing a uniform. Do it with a smile, though. Maybe "How do I know you're with the White House?"
Late word we hear is that McClellan got asked about this in the gaggle. So we'll try to bring you that shortly.