An email chain turned over by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a subpoena in the Dan Choi case reveals that it was the White House that tipped off the Secret Service with the information that 3 days later there would be a DADT protest in front of the White House.
Brian Bond, Deputy Director of Public Engagement, sent an email to then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, Dan Pfeiffer, Melody Barnes, Tina Tchen, Shin Inouye and others telling them he had it on “pretty good authority” that “Choi will be a part of it.” The email was forwarded less than 3 minutes later by Brad Kiley to Bary Coffey and Paula Reid of the Secret Service:
Get Equal DADT Protests – Monday
I have it on pretty good authority that Get Equal is planning to do a major protest Monday in front of the WH to “kick off” lame duck — Choi will be a part of it — and if my sources are right — looks like they are planning on having 10-15 people handcuffed and arrested. Probably would be good to give Service the heads up.
Also there are likely two more brilliant moves that day — they are supposedly planning to do sit-ins in Reid and Levin Senate offices as well.
Brian K. Bond
White House Office of Public Engagement
Coffey forwarded the email to Ryan Lemasters, Secret Service Intelligence/Liaison Sergeant, at 12:07 pm. Lemasters forwarded it to Stephanie Clark, Special Forces Coordinator for the US Park at 12:48 pm with a note asking for any information they might have on the upcoming protest: “OS only reveals that the group is collecting cash for an upcoming “large action” (No specifics given).” Clark then forwarded the email at 2:06 pm to Robert LaChance of the US Park Police, who testified about the email in court.
Why the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Security is keeping a file on GetEqual unless they consider them a “terrorist organization” is anyone’s guess.
The emails were sent in response to the 8-30-11 subpoena requested by Choi’s attorney .
The White House email written by Bond makes it clear that the recipients would know who “Choi” was and that they would share his contempt for the “brilliant moves” of the activists. Jim Messina would later be hailed by Joe Solomonese of HRC as the “unsung hero” when DADT was repealed, and three days prior to Bond’s email he had been briefed on a Pentagon study regarding potential impact.
During the Choi trial, U.S. Park Police Officer Jerome Stoudamire testified that in his experience of 22 years and 2,000 arrests including in front of the White House, Choi’s case was the first time he had seen White House protesters papered on federal charges. An email to Obama Senior Advisers, quickly disseminated by Secret Service to DC and Park Police, no doubt impacted the decision to come down hard on Choi and the other GetEqual protesters. On the morning of the protest, an email written by Randolph Meyers of the Department of the Interior indicated that meetings had been held to discuss what to do in response, in which he advised the Park Police to charge not only Dan but many first-time protesters with federal statutes that carry more severe penalties than the municipal ones.
It’s ironic that the “unsung hero” of the DADT repeal would later become Obama’s campaign manager in January of 2011, and rely heavily on gay donors to take the place of bundlers who would not return from the 2008 campaign. Obama’s appeal to them rested largely on the strength of the repeal of DADT. But Messina also appears to have been instrumental in a thin-skinned vendetta against the very activists whose courage and determination “made them do it.”
When asked about the revelations that the White House seems to have it in for him at the highest levels, Choi responded: “To the entire White House: We have put you on notice. We will not disappear.”