Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

Summary: The Secret Service questioned a 13-year-old boy over a post he made on Facebook.

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13-year-old Vito LaPinta of Tacoma, Washington faced federal interrogation by a Secret Service agent over a Facebook posting that warned US President Obama of suicide bombers. The boy posted a message on Facebook after Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, courtesy of the US Navy SEAL Team Six. He told Obama to be careful of possible retaliatory acts against him by other terror members.

"I was saying how Osama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers," the boy told Fox News. A week later, LaPinta was sitting in his fourth period class at Truman Middle School when he was called into the principal's office. "A man walked in with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service. He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the president. I was very scared."

A security guard called the child's mother, Timi Robertson, because the principal was on another call. The Tacoma school district admitted a Secret Service agent questioned the boy and said they did not wait for the mother to get there because they thought she didn't take the phone call seriously. "That's a blatant lie," Robertson, who said she had just finished lunch with a friend when she received the phone call, told the Daily Mail.

She was not happy her son was questioned without her knowledge or consent. "I just about lost it," Robertson told Fox News. "My 13 year-old son is supposed to be safe and secure in his classroom and he's being interrogated without my knowledge or consent privately."

When Robertson arrived at the school, the seventh grader had already been talking to the official for half an hour. LaPinta said that the agent finished the interview and told him he was not in any trouble only when his mother arrived. Robertson said she isn't financially able to take legal action but hopes her son's story raises awareness about how the two were treated.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

    The feds are out of hand.
    Test Subject
    • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

      Bush would have just wisked him away to an offsite location, performed despicable acts to "get the truth" but you probably would have been OK with that. There were at leat a half dozen minors in Guantanamo - enemy combatants, so they said.
      TweetyPacer
      • Message has been deleted.

        greg@...
      • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

        @TweetyPacer You are an idiot. And a brainwashed sheep, apparently.
        Nadaphanboi
      • Message has been deleted.

        spin498
      • Message has been deleted.

        adornoe
      • Message has been deleted.

        barefoot1976
      • Message has been deleted.

        Spikey_Mike
    • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

      @Test Subject

      Just another example of how our constitution is toilet paper in a septic tank.
      VRSpock
    • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

      @Test Subject

      It is against the law to question a minor without parental permission. I hope the ACLU jumps all over this and gives that secret service agent and the school hell.
      josh92
      • Except that the ACLU

        @josh92 ... are too busy suing schools over where they conduct their graduation ceremony.... As a US Citizen, the ACLU can STFU when it comes to these matters.
        Spikey_Mike
    • So something has changed?

      @Test Subject
      When I was a freshmen in high school and 14 years old in '74, I passed out what I thought was a humorous leaflet about a week before the president came to town. A few days later I was in the Vice Principals office. There was the the FBI there and they questioned me about it before my Dad got there. Nothing has changed except now there is the internet and 24/7 news cycles to show it world wide.
      Redhooker
  • Perhaps the age should be raised?

    I know the age is 13 but with such a highly monitored tool, people who are aged 13 should know not to post stupid things like this. Or is that just the intellectual calibre of American teens?
    Alansonit
    • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

      @Alansonit
      And what exactly did he say that was 'stupid'--something that any reasonable person thought five minutes after they heard that the US had killed OBL. The US has definitively lost it when the US Secret Service is mobilized to question a 13 year-old (in the absence of a parent) over a point so obvious it was repeated endlessly in the news for the next week.
      As 'Test Subject' said, the feds are out of hand.
      geoffnathan@...
      • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

        @geoffnathan@... I agree Geoff!!!!!! I had extremely similar "feelings" when Obama was nominated!!! These feelings have never gone away; have increased when he succeeds in his promises; whenever he takes positive actions like Bin Laden's demise!!!! I pray to God (as I understand Him) to protect President Obama AND his family DAILY!
        Lepecp
      • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

        @geoffnathan@... Agree. The very fact that ANY U.S. citizen (13 or otherwise) must fear our own government when they express an opinion is the precise reason to say our government is out of control. Our government has zero regard for human rights and ignores our own laws. These days, we are hypocrites for lecturing China or any other nation about human rights. The Patriot Act was the beginning of the end of freedom in our nation. I hope the people who introduced that legislation go down in history for destroying our once-great nation.
        BillDem
      • BillDem: Try not being so hyperbolic...

        Look, it's okay to say that perhaps the Secret Service went beyond reasonable tactics to question the teenager, but, how the heck can you equate what happens in China to what happens in the U.S. Have you lost your mind?!?

        Now, you brought up the Patriot Act, and my question is, can you cite a case where anyone's civil rights have been violated because of the Patriot Act? Investigations of possible threats is not the same as loss of rights.
        adornoe
      • Cite a case where rights were violated?

        @adornoe@...
        I don't have all day, so you'll have to go out to Google and type EFF Patriot Act Violations. The FBI has admitted to many civil rights violations. Or for specific violations you could Google Mike Maginnis, Sherman Austin or Elena Lappin. There are plenty of examples out there if you choose to look.
        jasonp@...
      • jasop: You're still not providing the proof for violations of rights

        and most of what you'll find is the reported "perceptions" of violations, from groups such as Democratic Underground, which are not credible sources of information at all.

        So, why not give names and quotes of the specific violations of any of those people's rights? Being nebulous is not an appropriate answer.
        adornoe
    • RE: Secret Service questions teen over Osama bin Laden post on Facebook

      @Alansonit
      I'd hate to see how they'd react if he had recently downloaded the Anarchist's Cookbook from some P2P service.
      VRSpock