Joe Miller Security Scandal Gets More Disturbing

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

It now looks like the security thugs working for Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller were active military.

Here’s Glenn Greenwald:

If it’s not completely intolerable to have active-duty soldiers handcuffing American journalists on U.S. soil while acting as private “guards” for Senate candidates, what would be?  This is the sort of thing that the U.S. State Department would readily condemn if it happened in Egypt or Iran or Venezuela or Cuba:  active-duty soldiers detaining journalists while they’re paid by politician candidates?

Greenwald suggests that this is illegal. If it isn’t, it should be. It isn’t difficult to see the problems that would come with active soldiers working private detail for politicians.

Miller should have apologized, fired his security, and acknowledged the handcuffing and threats to other journalists were out of line. Instead he’s defending the actions of his security and making excuses that aren’t true.

So to recap, a candidate for the U.S. Senate sees nothing wrong with active duty U.S. troops providing private security for a political candidate, then handcuffing and threatening journalists who ask the candidate tough questions.

Disturbing. But also probably to be expected of a guy who thinks we should adopt an East German model of border control.


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60 Responses to “Joe Miller Security Scandal Gets More Disturbing”

  1. #1 |  Loader | 

    #25- if that bit about the company owner and the militia is true in any fashion, these guys just bought tickets to a world of shit they aren’t soon getting out of. Working a political rally (campaign style, not the usual “you got voluntold to pull security for when Sen. Whatshisnuts finally comes to talk to the locals” stuff) is bad; working for someone with a position of power in anything more extreme than a sundayschool class is doubleplus bad. I can almost hear the JAGs gnashing their teeth from here…

    #47- The big difference there is that civilian cops are, for the most part, completely unaccountable while .mil folks are. If, as has been stated, these chumps are AD and not Res/NG, they could have been working for the flying spaghetti monster itself and that would still not be enough to save their asses.

  2. #2 |  Rick H. | 

    The arguments above aren’t about liberty, they are about a fear of power and of the military.

    Power is force. It’s usually used to destroy freedom. There’s something strange about a so-called libertarian not having a healthy fear of power. Whether or not you feel the military is a necessary institution, surely you agree that there ought to be constraints on its use? This is my beef with modern conservatives – it’s all about freedom until you dare to criticize cops, soldiers or other State enforcers.

  3. #3 |  James A. Donald | 

    The rally was held in a building rented by Joe Miller, so he could throw out anyone he felt like. He ordered this journalist to leave, the journalist refused to leave, and his bouncers then physically removed the journalist. That is what bouncers do. That is why we call them bouncers. It is completely legal and proper.

  4. #4 |  SJE | 

    @53: Bouncers can throw you out of the club. They cannot arrest you unless you commit a crime. Second, military law prohibits active duty soldiers from working for a partisan political event.

  5. #5 |  SJE | 

    Sorry, they cannot arrest you or HANDCUFF you unless you commit a crime. There are such things as unlawful arrest.

  6. #6 |  Marty | 

    #50 | Mike Leatherwood

    ‘The arguments above aren’t about liberty, they are about a fear of power and of the military.’

    I feel our liberties are being trampled by their abuse of power.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    #48 | qwints |

    “Cops are trained to interact with US citizens”

    This quote wins the thread.-

    it is a little funny!

  8. #8 |  SJE | 

    Its seems that most of the “training” these days occurs on the firing range, with cut outs of children, mothers, and the family pet.

  9. #9 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Bruce,

    Being verbally belligerent is not sufficient reasons to detain someone. And yes, a politician using active duty military personnel as security is part of the issue, in fact the DoD disagrees so much with you a directive was issued.

    Really, learn to read.

    Law Prof.,

    This issue isn’t so much that they were moonlighting, but that they were doing so 1. without permission apparently and 2. in contradiction to a DoD directive concerning partisan political events.

    You need to learn to read too.

    Mike Leatherwood,

    A majority of military personnel do not know what rights are granted via the Constitution….

    I’m not sure what to make of that paragraph…is that a defense of these soldiers or condemnation? In any event a mere peasant such as myself would not be granted any benefits for not “knowing the law” so neither should any soldier. If he unwittingly acts in a way contrary to his oath he should be punished accordingly.

    James Donald,

    The rally was held in a building rented by Joe Miller, so he could throw out anyone he felt like.

    Not when he opens that event and rally to the public. Fliers told supporters to bring neighbors, friends, family, anyone who wanted to hear from Miller…i.e. the idea of throwing people out becomes much, much more problematic. If it was a rented space for a private event that was invite only you’d have a leg to stand on, probably two, right now you got nothing…you’re sitting on your ass.

    He ordered this journalist to leave, the journalist refused to leave, and his bouncers then physically removed the journalist. That is what bouncers do. That is why we call them bouncers. It is completely legal and proper.

    Escorting someone off of the premises is one thing, detaining them for a non-crime is something else entire…it is in fact itself a crime.

  10. #10 |  albatross | 

    There’s a quote from the Washington Post’s Top Secret America series that comes to mind here: “You can’t find a four-star general without a security detail.”

    Powerful people seem to be becoming more and more inclined to have some kind of muscle nearby–partly from fear, partly from keeping up with the General Joneses, but also probably because having some muscle around who works for *you* gives you some options you wouldn’t otherwise have. You can have annoying journalists roughed up, or let them fear that they will be roughed up if they don’t show proper deference. You can silence hecklers, get rid of annoying protesters, or just intimidate someone who’s getting on your nerves without ever appearing on camera any where doing it yourself.

    I have a feeling this is related in some way to the militarization of police forces, and to some other very worrying and ugly changes in our society.