Secret Service Warns Public That They Would Confiscate Any Cameras Used to Take Pictures of First Family

This story on the First Lady taking the kids to a Broadway show in New York has an interesting element: a warning by the Secret Service that anyone taking their picture would have their cameras confiscated. Perhaps the Secret Service General Counsel could point us to where in the Constitution and federal law the Secret Service has the authority to ban photographs by the public and the confiscation of cellphones and pictures to enforce the ban.

Michelle Obama – with Sasha, 8, and Malia, 11, and about a dozen other people in tow – attended the matinee performance of “Memphis” Sunday. After the block was cordoned off, the large group entered the theater. Secret Service members did not like all of the pictures being taken that issued the warning. If the First Family wishes to avoid pictures, they may want to watch the play on video rather than confiscating cellphones and cameras of citizens. I find it outrageous that the Secret Service would consider it within its authority to confiscate phones to avoid annoyance to the First Family. The Secret Service at times seems to view itself as a Praetorian Guard rather than a public law enforcement agency.

For the full story, click here.

62 thoughts on “Secret Service Warns Public That They Would Confiscate Any Cameras Used to Take Pictures of First Family

  1. Hey if it was my job to protect, I wouldn’t want all those clicking sounds either, especially last night.

  2. They say EVERY Democracy has ended in a Dictatorship…I used to laugh at that…

    I’m not laughing any more!

  3. you can put a gun in a camera, and after the vote last night there are a good many upset people. I see their point and understand completely.

    If I was Obama I would not want people pointing cameras at my family. The number of death threats must be staggering given the mood of the country. I don’t think this is Sig Heil at all, just common sense.

  4. The most unique weapon that I have seen to date was an ordinary looking pen which turned out to be a .22. Not sure what the purpose of it was other than an instrument of death.

  5. It’s not like the president and first family have not had to many photos taken and now all of a sudden don’t want anyone taking more pictures.

    How many times can one be on the cover of Time and Vogue. If you work for the SS I would go with security first.

  6. The irony of the Secret Service and the Schutzstaffel having the same initials does not escape me, but it doesn’t provide that little smile irony usually does.

  7. LoL

    Quote “death threats must be staggering given the mood of the country”

    Then WHY would you bother to pass a bill that you say is so hated??

    And if ya think people hate it now, just wait till they find out how its really going to work!!

  8. I was scared by the implications of the topic of Professor Turley’s post. I’m terrified by the tone and topics of the responses, to the point of not recognizing my country any longer. I suppose it was always thus, but, really people…

  9. Secret Service members, alarmed by the rash of audience members who reached for cellphones and digital cameras to photograph the First Gals, warned at intermission that they would confiscate anyone who tried to take anymore pictures.

    alarmed by the rash of audience members who reached for cellphones and digital cameras.

    All it would of took was for someone to scream he’s got a gun and pandemonium would have broken out.

  10. I have sympathy for the SS … the First Lady should have never placed so many people in danger simply to take her kids to a show.

  11. … so Michelle Obama’s “right” to a night on the town is superior to the first amendment rights of ordinary citizens?

  12. This seems odd to me. I can seem them asking the theater manager to make an announcement requesting that photos not be taken, but the threat of confiscation? I suspect that might have come from an overzealous theater manager and not the USSS. I just don’t see them acting in that fashion – comondeering the house sound system and making threats to the public. In fact, they are likely very sensitive to these kinds of issues with protesters, etc… An over excited theater manager might have gotten a little to big for their britches. And the NY Daily News (not a glowing bastion journalistic integrity by any means) might have gotten the events a little mixed up. I’m giving the USSS the benefit of the doubt on this one. I’m sure they’ll be asked about it by the press.

  13. Secret Service Agents have loved ones and families who understand the nature of the job but I’m not certain losing one’s spouse to a bullet while he/she was protecting Michelle Obama’s gang of partyers would be justifiable in the eyes of their loved ones.

    Perhaps the First Lady needs to weigh the lives of her Secret Service Agents against her daughters’ need to party.

    And as for adding a dozen additional people to the load on the Secret Service Agents’ shoulders … reckless.

    And then we have all the local people who were mightily inconvenienced so that the Obama retinue could enjoy their royal passage into the theater. If taking pictures is now forbidden will the next proclamation be that we lowly citizens must avert our eyes when the Obama court passes by?

  14. John:

    “They say EVERY Democracy has ended in a Dictatorship…I used to laugh at that…

    I’m not laughing any more!”

    It wont be so bad, we are pretty much there now. A little less freedom shouldn’t be to bad. And anyway most people in this country don’t care either way so why should you?

    The entire history of the 20th century has been leading up to this point, a people cant sustain that type of attack. It is like a crazy person that just keeps coming and coming and wont give up. A sane person has 2 options only let the crazy person have what they want or kill them.

    A little more servitude will be good for the soul or so I am told by the religionists and the Marxists. It will be interesting to watch our further decline. But this is what compassion and altruism do to a society, it has happened many times before and it will happen many times in the future.

  15. Blouise:

    “If taking pictures is now forbidden will the next proclamation be that we lowly citizens must avert our eyes when the Obama court passes by?”

    But of course.

  16. You are to Bow if you are male and curtsy if you are female. And if you are gay, well hell, do what you usually do.

  17. If any of you had the class or the money to attend a Broadway show, you would know you are not allowed to take pictures in the Theatre. An Usher or House Manager can confiscate your camera. The camera policy is printed on every ticket and at the door. The presence of a celebrity or politician is irrelevant.

  18. avid theatre goer

    If any of you had the class or the money to attend a Broadway show, you would know you are not allowed to take pictures in the Theatre. An Usher or House Manager can confiscate your camera. The camera policy is printed on every ticket and at the door. The presence of a celebrity or politician is irrelevant.


    Back in the day I used to perform there …

    At any stage production from Broadway to Chickadee Village cameras are forbidden during the performance … lots of attendees take pictures of each other by the posters, as they’re getting seated, backstage, in the lobby … we were there last fall and took a ton of pictures both inside and outside the theaters … reliving the Glory Days.

    Sorry Charlie … class and money are only mentioned by those who don’t have it!

  19. George,

    Thank-you for your post. This seems “odd” to me too.

    This story seems to be going viral. There does not seem to be any fact checking or on the record named sources given; typical sham journalism.

    The Shubert Organization, like all Broadway theaters, has as a long standing policy that no cameras or recording devices my be used at any time inside the theater. This policy applies to all areas of the house and not just during the performance.

    This policy is posted and very visible at the entrance and lobby of the theater; in addition it is printed on the back of each ticket. It is also printed inside each Playbill. If that is not enough, just to be sure that there is no mistake, and everyone in the theater has gotten the message, an announcement of the policy is usually made over the loudspeaker and prior to the start of each performance.

    The ushers and security do not hesitate to enforce this rule for noncompliance; and will often “confiscate equipment” for safe keeping and return it when the theater goer departs, or when necessary will eject the patron, ban the patron, or involve the police at security’s discretion.

    From what information I have gathered the management made an atypical and usually unnecessary secondary announcement at intermission because so many patrons were violating the policy and taking pictures, no cameras were actually confiscated during this performance.

    This story is so blown out of proportion. This is routine Broadway policy, cameras are taken away from “snap-happy” tourists all the time, often when the camera has not even been used but is only in sight, patrons are required to put the camera or other video device away, but it is common for it to be taken away.

    So, this was not a case of special enforcement or a violation of rights because a V.I.P. was in attendance. Nor did this group’s presence hinder the production or anyone’s enjoy of it; to the contrary both performers and patrons were thrilled.

  20. “gang of partyers” Why so hostile Blouise? Are you saying a president’s family should never leave the White House, especially for anything a frivolous as the theatre, because the Secret Service has to protect them? Really?

    I dont think you can assume that the no pictures order came from Michelle Obama. That’s highly unlikely IMHO. She does not direct the Secret Service.

    “If any of you had the class or the money to attend a Broadway show, you would know you are not allowed to take pictures in the Theatre”

    True, and we plebs bow to you for pointing this out, Miss Antionette. Certainly none of us has ever been to Broadway. Golly, the price of a ticket would mean we could not buy Snicker Doodles for at least 6 months. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to a party at Chucky Cheese.

    “And if you are gay, well hell, do what you usually do”

    Dance, of course.

  21. Sorry All, for the redundant post of policy; I did not see that *avid theater goer* had it (snarkly) covered.


    Kudos on your past career; and I agree with you on the class and money comment.

    That has been my experience too, that ushers will on occasion look the other way and not always enforce the policy; but as this is at their discretion I usually ask for permission first. This is what happened at Sunday’s performance initially, it was not until it seemed to be getting out of hand that they reiterated the policy with a second reminder of camera confiscation.

    Technically, I believe the full policy states that cameras and video recording devices are not to be brought into the theater at all; although that would be difficult to enforce. It would also deter many patrons. There is barely enough space (or peace of mind) to accommodate checking your coat, let alone your camera, cell phone, etc.

  22. There was an overwhelming feeling of anger last night the policy of the theater has nothing to do with the protection of the first family. I’m sure there was a spike in threats last night be it at the president or the first lady.

    FBI officials are investigating a self-proclaimed conservative blogger after he used his Twitter account to call for the assassination of President Obama on Sunday night.

    Solomon “Solly” Forell tweeted: “ASSASSINATION! America, we survived the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy. We’ll surely get over a bullet 2 Barack Obama’s head.”

    Another post said, “The next American with a clear shot should drop Obama like a habit.”

    A Washington man also used Twitter to incite violence against the President as Congress passed a historic health care bill Sunday night.

    Jay Martin, a college grad who calls himself a hip-hop aficionado, tweeted: “If I lived in DC, I’d shoot him myself. Point blank. Dead f—ing serious.”

    Read more:

  23. John 1, March 22, 2010 at 10:19 am


    Quote “death threats must be staggering given the mood of the country”

    Then WHY would you bother to pass a bill that you say is so hated??

    And if ya think people hate it now, just wait till they find out how its really going to work!!


    Sorry to be off topic, but – I couldn’t resist:

    When you actually explain what’s in the bill (not much), the majority of Americans support it, as demonstrated by a Wall Street Journal poll. A recent Kaiser poll found that almost all of the bill’s components were favored by a majority of Americans. Major exceptions included the individual mandate and the total cost. (As far as I know, the survey didn’t compare the bill’s direct cost to the alternative costs of not passing the bill, so, yeah, none of us like things with roughly $100bn/yr pricetags.) (Oh, and yes, I have read through some versions of the bill. 2,000 pages isn’t as bad as it sounds when it’s double spaced and only has about 5 words per line, and large parts are technical language to clarify that some part of this bill supersedes some part of some other bill.)

    Of course, if you see the world through Beck-o-Vision, it’s quite different from us in the “reality based community.”

    But that isn’t really the point when it comes to the threats to the life/health/safety of the Obama family. The simple fact is that a minority slice of the American public simply hates anything that Obama does. He will always be a “foreign, , mother- ” and they will hate anything he does. (It doesn’t help that he’s smarter, thinner, better looking, harder working, has a better family and is more successful than them.)

    Hey! Maybe I should make some money by publishing Teabagger Mad-Libs!

  24. “It doesn’t help that he’s smarter, thinner, better looking, harder working, has a better family and is more successful than them.”

    Oh really? You are quite the bigot. We are all jealous of Obambi because he is black.

    No, we hate him because he is a socialist/commie pig.

  25. Hate.

    Such a lovely family value. Is that WWJD?

    And seriously, don’t use words you don’t understand. Like socialist or commie. A commie would have nationalized Exxon and Halliburton. A socialist would make sure that the Health Care Reform is ACTUAL single payer health care. You know – like insurance becomes cheaper when the risk pool is as large as possible. Let’s look at that. What is the largest possible risk pool that the Federal government could select? Why that’d be THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND IT’S TERRITORIES. Instead he’s propped up a plan ripe for abuse by the same people who have been running death panels, pardon, “denying coverage” all along.

    See that? Insults work better when you know what the words actually mean instead of regurgitating propaganda.

    No where, not ONCE, is the word “capitalism” enshrined in the Constitution. So by all means, assert that the broken systems that led us to this half-assed solution are some how “more American” than ACTUAL socialized medicine.

    It’s funny when the semi-educated sound foolish.

  26. The Secret Service are apparently unfamiliar with the findings of Near v. Minnesota and how that case has subsequently been applied.

  27. “No where, not ONCE, is the word “capitalism” enshrined in the Constitution.”

    that is true but the Constitution does protect private property and the DOI makes mention of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So it is not a far stretch to say they [founders] had private property and the right to keep the fruits of your labor in mind.

    It also doesn’t say “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”. But it is pretty clear that Mr. Jefferson would not have gone along with that based on his writings.

    “To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.'”
    — Thomas Jefferson

  28. Also, to everyone saying this action is somehow justified by the very real and legitimate danger the president and his family face, if the Secret Service does not feel they can reasonably protect the First Family in public, then their prerogative is to not let them enter such a venue.

    Security theater at the expense of citizens’ civil rights is not good policy and does nothing to ameliorate the threat faced by the Obamas.

  29. And pray tell Byron, with the limited exceptions of industries (like health care) that are critical to national security, where does it say that socialism does not allow for individual property?

    No where.

    Ask the millions of Swedish home and business owners.

    Much like your view of “freedom”, your view of “property rights” are askew. You are thinking like an engineer again – in absolutes. No one’s property rights should EVER come at the cost of human life yet that’s exactly how the insurance industry makes money – by NOT paying claims and tacking on “administrative costs”.

    If your property right is interfering in a material way with the survival of others? Surely I don’t have to explain the eventual consequences of that, now should I? Because we both know where Jefferson would fall in that argument. That’s in part why he wrote the Declaration – oppressive Imperial economics which, by the way, were built on the free enterprise/capitalist model.

  30. @Byron QUOTE “And anyway most people in this country don’t care either way so why should you?”

    I guess I’m a sucker for punishment. LoL

    At this moment I am filing a few FOIA requests, fighting multiple corrupt county agencies, the State Prosecutor’s Office, and the FBI.

    I must enjoy beating my head against a wall, because that’s where I have ended up.

    Fighting city hall is a cinch compared to fighting all these yahoo’s!!

    Anyway I don’t see any good end for us in the future.

  31. Buddha:

    F. . . ck it, I went out and bought a hammer and sickle flag and a copy of Das Kapital. If you cant beat them, then join them.

    I am going to go on social security disability and get as much as I can from the citizens of this country. I wonder how much I can get? Lets see SS disability, food stamps, free transportation, maybe some rent subsidy, free health care, money for a helper. Shit I might do better that way. I think I like socialism on second thought. Plus I can make money up to a certain point.

    I love you Barack Obama :)
    This spread the wealth stuff is really kool!

  32. Byron Even if you enroll in all those programs, you would still be poor. Disability won’t even pay your rent.

  33. Swarthmore Mom:

    what if I already own my home and my car? I think I could live pretty well on other people’s money. It would be nice not to have to work and just relax and read. I could get reduced rent on a house in Florida so I could go there during the winter. I could rent it out during the summer all under the table.

    Dam I think this is looking better and better, and to think I have been working all of these years. I must have been stupid. Why work when you can have other people pay your way? Plus with 2 kids in college I can get all kinds of free tuition benefits so that is another 30k per year I don’t have to pay.

    Bring this redistribution stuff on, I like it. Plus the added benefit is that all you “rich” progressives will be helping pay my way. The serendipity is too much.

  34. I think the SS disability pays about 700 – 800 month. I don’t think you will rent a house maybe a room.

  35. It is about $1,600 per month plus they have subsidized housing where rent is a couple of hundred dollars a month. There are all kinds of freebies. I’ll adopt a couple of kids and make even more and get free child care as well.

    Plus since I am older I can probably get free meals as well. I am going to have a nice retirement. All paid for at tax payer expense, that way I don’t have to dip into savings (I will put that in a trust for my children) and can leave it all to my children. Isn’t socialism great :) I might even be able to have enough to invest a few hundred dollars a month.

    Thanks for the idea Buddha, this is going to be great.

    I encourage all tax paying republicans, libertarians and other productive people to do the same. That way there will be no one to pay the bills except the progressives that are working.

  36. Byron,

    Way to overreact. You know very well that I think free markets are fine for most things. The things they are not fit for? As illustrated by recent history?

    1) Health Care
    2) Food and Water Safety
    3) Energy (and only because THEY STARTED A WAR RATHER THAN INVEST IN SOMETHING SIMPLE that might take some of the “power” out of their hands . . . like hydrogen. Oh, and ENRON. Let’s not forget where the first capitalist domino fell.)
    4) Defense

    Pretty much everything else you can leave to free market mechanics. But those three? I ask you to take a looooong look at the falling of this country and if you don’t realize that free market uncontrolled greed in three of those four sectors are the leading cause of death – both natural and by bullets – then you simply aren’t looking hard enough or are in denial.

    I vote the second.

  37. Two books that relate to this story, as well as the comments:

    1) American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges

    I’d recommend the last chapter, at the very least.

    2) The Watchers by Shane Harris

  38. “The Secret Service at times seems to view itself as a Praetorian Guard rather than a public law enforcement agency.”


    Those Praetorians assassinated about as many Emperors as they protected with Caligula, Galba, and Pertinax bing the most prominent. Constantine defeated the legions of Maxentius, which were composed mostly of Praetorian Guards, at the famous battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 CE. The Milvian Bridge, as many of us familiar to the blog will recall, carried the Via Flaminia across the Tiber River and into Rome.

  39. Buddha:

    I was just having a little fun. I agree with some of your contentions.

    But food is much cheaper than it was in the 60’s and we have so many fat people there isnt a supply problem.

    We will see what happens, hopefully you are right. I do agree that there were some things that did need to change on the health care front. I am not in denial, I just have a distrust of big government.

  40. mespo,

    Yeah, but you got to admit that Caligula had it coming.

    Now THAT is a filthy joke. :D

  41. Byron,

    I mistrust government of any size that is non-responsive to the common good of the public and the Republic because they are addicted to K Street graft. Big. Small. That’s the wrong ball to watch. Democratically responsive and functional are the two most important factors. It could be as small as a bread box or as large as the Empire State building and it doesn’t matter a whit if it’s tyrannical and broken. I’m pretty sure the last two adjectives perfectly describe the current Washington lot to a tee (starting with Bush I). Small isn’t really the gripe most people have who claim that as their war cry. If you dig deep enough, you usually find out that they are mistaking “big” for “non-functional”. It’s not really the size that pisses them off as much as it is the sheer waste and fraud. While more parts creates more room for error is a mathematical truth, one does need enough parts to get the job done. An engine is a useless hunk of metal without a drive shaft, but a supercharger is optional. But in truth, I prefer to think of optimal structures of government like Mozart thought about music. When told his music had too many notes, he replied that his music had just the right number of notes, not too many and not too few. And that’s how government should be too. Enough to get the job done with harmonious precision but not so many as to be a dysfunctional noise.

  42. What a hypocrite. Obama is a ruthless and diabolical supporter of spying into every nook and cranny of our lives and yet his family are privileged characters who deserve privacy?

    We are tracked by our cell phones and cars. Google exposes our security situation to every stalker, terrorist, and crank who hates us and government permits it.

    Obama will probably live in a gated community and have an expensive security detail for years to come all the while he promoted invasions of privacy against against the rest of us.

    What a fraud!

  43. anon:

    You seem to be insinuating that the Christian right is fascist, but last century it was the democrats who led us into most of our wars and it was leftist and liberal.

    And now, true to this tradition, Obama is escalating the phony war on terror! The Clinton admin supported the starvation and death of 300,000 plus Iraqi children through sanctions. Madeleine Albright said it was worth it. Clinton also conducted an illegal war in Kosovo.

    And you are worried about Christians who want less government? Please, I don’t believe you!

    I posted this elsewhere on this site (it is written by a conservative).

    Tell me who this sounds like, if not the democrats.

    “Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans, as violently against Hitler and Mussolini as the next one, but who are convinced that the present economic system is washed up and that the present political system in America has outlived its usefulness and who wish to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing millions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society. There is your fascist. And the sooner America realizes this dreadful fact the sooner it will arm itself to make an end of American fascism masquerading under the guise of the champion of democracy.” John T. Flynn 1944

    Read more about him @

  44. Except incident to arrest, when does *any* American police officer have the authority to “confiscate” a camera?

    And why do so few Americans know the answer?

    In a free country, the Secret Service announcement should have resulted in gales of laughter. [And the “Secret Service” would have changed its name to something less Orwellian generations ago, on general principle.]

  45. “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

    I didn’t know you knew Mr. Lewis, Tootie. But clearly, he knew you.

  46. When fascism comes to America it will come with a Nobel Prize in literature for bigoted remarks about Christians who love their country.

  47. I think there is more to this than has been stated. I worked as an usher in a large venue and have a different viewpoint that folks should think about. There is a courtesy issue here that has nothing to do with the first family. How would you like to be the person who paid for a ticket to this event and after going through extra security because of the first family, you also got stuck sitting next to someone who was more interested in waving their cell phone or camera around taking pictures than watching the show they came to see? People are clueless about common courtesy anymore. They don’t care how much you paid for your ticket or that they are standing and blocking the view or having their flash going off in people’s faces etc. It’s all about them and what they want – not what other people in the venue want. Civil rights are like common courtesy – it goes both ways.

  48. Awww, did I offend the thin skinned Christians?

    Forgive me.

    Or not.

    I don’t need your approval nor do I seek it. I walk a different path. One that I am guaranteed the Constitutional freedom to walk.

    Being a Christian and being a fascist are by Jesus’ own teachings mutually exclusive. How anxious you are to throw your religion in my face as a justification for greed. How unknowing you are to think this is somehow a Christian nation when it was founded as a secular country precisely because of the stupidity our Founding Fathers saw done in Europe in the name of theocracy.

    Two words for you.

    Money Changers.

    Get a clue. Christianity isn’t supposed to be about corporatist profits. It is, in fact, counter to it.

    Jesus was a liberal Pharisee rabbi and a wise teacher. So liberal that the Romans killed him. So wise for having that audacity to tell us to love one another instead of worshiping money and social status.

    And careful where you throw that “bigot” stone, troll boy. You live in a glass house.

  49. Cheryl,

    Civil rights, unlike courtesy, do not go “both ways” as your civil rights are guaranteed by the Constitution whereas courtesy is a skill oft untaught by parents. But you do raise a salient point about people with their phones. There is nothing quite so pleasing as to carry on a conversation with some nitwit too busy texting/taking pictures/checking e-Bay/etc. to pay attention to the live people trying to interact with them.

  50. The Shubert Theatre has a published policy against cameras in the theatre. Violate their policy—which is an explicit part of your invitation to be on that private property—& you can be uninvited. It’s probably a common theatre policy & makes perfect sense, but as was observed by one experienced theatre goer above, the management didn’t make the rule to prevent attendees from taking snaps of each other during intermissions & has probably never enforced the rule when the show is not in progress. The NY Post story said nothing about any cameras going off during the show.
    Secret Service Officers are federal law enforcement officers with broad authority to enforce federal laws. They have no authority to enforce any local laws and most certainly no authority to enforce a private business owner’s house rules. There is no law against taking a photo in the Shubert, unless it was being done to appropriate some thing of value….like filming a bootleg copy of the show. So, if I violate the theatre rules, I can be thrown out by the management. If I shoot my mouth off during the show, the management can, similarly, throw me out.
    The Secret Service has no jurisdiction or authority to do a darn thing about me ruining the First Family’s evening if I was so rude as to be blabbing during the show. The Secret Service has no power to forbid anyone from taking a photo in this place—as they might if you were at the White House—where the Obamas are empowered to make all the house rules.
    I’ve been a government attorney for 30 years and this threat to confiscate cameras is very disturbing to me. I heard the Secret Service did the same thing last Spring when the Obamas went to a NY restaurant and diners started snapping photos. Same rules applied there…a restaurant owner can 86 anybody from his private property for behavior he finds disruptive, but when no federal law is being violated, a federal police officer has no authority to say or do anything about it. Sooner or later, if the Secret Service doesn’t wise up, someone with a camera is going to tell them to jump in the lake and unless they’re just saying this to scare people (which doesn’t foster much respect), what happens next is going to cost the taxpayers money. They had no more right to threaten theatre goers than they would to threaten the actors if the show was bad.
    I’ve thought about this for days and I can imagine only one circumstance that police might be empowered to start seizing private cameras. If a crime had been committed, and all the oglers with cell phones were snapping photos during the crime, a peace officer could arguably take the cameras and preserve the photos as evidence. Same goes if the officers knew you’d photographed a crime and then left the scene…they’d soon be applying for a search warrant to obtain the photographic evidence in your possession. Otherwise, I haven’t been able to think of anything which justifies such silly behavior on the part of the Secret Service. I find it even more odd that it hasn’t drawn greater press attention.

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