Secret Service’s visit to cartoonist ‘profoundly bad judgment’

(Story originally at firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=11737, then at firstamendmentcenter.org/secret-services-visit-to-cartoonist-profoundly-bad-judgment; this copy found at f911.blogspot.com/2004/09/firstamendmentcenterorg-072303-secret.html)

firstamendmentcenter.org: 07.23.03 : Secret Service’s visit to cartoonist ‘profoundly bad judgment’

WASHINGTON – The Secret Service used ‘profoundly bad judgment’ in seeking to question a Los Angeles Times cartoonist over a political cartoon depicting a man pointing a gun at President Bush, a senior House Republican said yesterday.

Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the Secret Service owed Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez an apology, ‘and the public is owed an explanation both of how this happened and why it will not happen again.’

The use of ‘federal power to attempt to influence the work of an editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times,’ Cox said in a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Ralph Basham, ‘reflects profoundly bad judgment.’

In an article yesterday, the Times said a Secret Service agent visited the paper’s Los Angeles office for what he said was a routine inquiry following the publication on Sunday of Ramirez’ cartoon. The agent talked to a Times attorney but was told he could not speak to Ramirez.

The Associated Press

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