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Posted 17 Mar 2000 00:00:00 UTC

Five years to the day after Bernie S. was arrested at gunpoint and subjected to nearly 17 months of imprisonment by the United States Secret Service, agents of the USSS have again begun some kind of cat and mouse game, the nature of which has yet to be revealed.

A Special Agent from the Secret Service showed up unannounced at Bernie's workplace and told his employer they wanted to question Bernie, who happened to be out sick that day. When Bernie returned to work the following day and discovered the Secret Service wanted to talk to him, he surprised the agent by calling him. What followed was an extremely strange and circular conversation.

At first the SS agent wouldn't talk to him at all. Then he called Bernie back and said they needed to talk with him at his home at 7am the next morning. When Bernie explained he was just getting over a serious illness and that this was an unreasonable hour, the agent suggested 6am. Bernie repeatedly offered to answer their questions at several neutral locations, but they said any place other than his home was unacceptable. Bernie told them he had nothing to hide, but that he was not comfortable having Secret Service agents poking around inside his house and that they would have to get a warrant before he'd let them in. The agent then said he had to go and would talk to him later.

About ten minutes later, a second, more polished, SS agent called Bernie and continued trying to persuade him to let them inside his home. The agent tried to goad Bernie by implying he must have something to hide, and that if he didn't then there was no reason why they shouldn't be allowed inside his home. At this point, Bernie tried to explain by saying if you asked 100 people on the street if they'd want federal agents in their living room and bedroom, almost everyone would say no and that he was no exception. The SS agent disagreed, saying people have no legitimate fears about such a visit.

Bernie repeatedly tried to get the SS agents to tell him what they wanted. Finally, the second agent said, "I need to check to see if your telephone and Cable TV wiring is hooked up properly." This preposterous claim made Bernie actually laugh out loud. But as a further gesture of cooperation, Bernie offered to allow Bell Atlantic and Comcast Cable TV technicians to inspect his house wiring for them. The SS agents said that, too, would be unacceptable. It became clear the SS agents were simply trying anything they could to get a foot in his door. Needless to say, after Bernie's previous horrendous experience with the Secret Service, their feet are not welcome in his home. He then gave them his attorney's name and telephone number and told them to address future inquiries directly to his lawyer.

So what is this all about? We don't know yet, but clearly something is up. And the way the Secret Service has played sick games with people's lives in the past, we felt it would be wise to alert everyone now so we can all keep a closer eye on them before they try any further outrageous actions under the veil of secrecy.

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