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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center, speaks to the crowd in the overflow room while standing on a chair beside former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Here's how Trump's tweets could create headaches for the Secret Service


Here's how Trump's tweets could create headaches for the Secret Service

WATCH: Do Trump's tweets and the responses that follow create more work for the Secret Service?

There may be no better spokesman for Twitter than the leader of the free world. "It's a great form of communication," President Trump, a frequent tweeter, told "60 Minutes" before the election.

Twitter and social media in general can provide a direct line to the people. But it's a two-way street -- and that's not always a good thing, according to former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. 

"Each tweet creates an opportunity for someone to respond with a threat," he said.

Threats against the president aren't uncommon. And when it comes to Trump, it turns out some of his 22 million followers are just along to say hateful things. They may think they can say whatever they want because it's just social media. The Secret Service doesn't look at it that way.

The Secret Service chases down everything

The Secret Service takes threats very seriously, regardless of whether they're posted on social media or made elsewhere.  

"They have to be run out. All of them have to be investigated," Bongino explained. "That doesn’t mean they’re going to show up at every single person's door ever around the world that says it, but they’re certainly going to try."


Chasing down potential threats keeps the Secret Service protective intelligence squad pretty busy. The agency opened an "Internet Threat Desk" back in 2000 and later expanded it during the Obama administration. But with Trump tweeting on a daily basis, are agents running down more threats?

Brian Ebert, the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Washington Field Office, wouldn't say for sure, telling Circa, "Perhaps."

The Secret Service isn't a big fan of talking about its efforts. But when it comes to internet threats and the casual approach some take on the web, that's different. Ebert has plenty to say about that, sending a stern message to anyone who thinks a threatening comment on social media is no big deal.

"We take it very seriously. Threatening the president is a violation of federal law, and we’re going to throughly investigate those threats and take the necessary action," he said.

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So, go ahead and disagree with the president. It's your 140 characters. Just know the Secret Service is watching. So are members are the public who are quick to remind people about the consequences of their posts.

Bongino, who worked in the protective intelligence squad, says agents build up profiles of what potential threats look like and are quickly able to asses real risk. He believes the agency may need more manpower to keep up with online threats now that Trump has opened this door of communication. 

"Right now it's up to the Secret Service to figure out in the future what they want to do. We’re not going back. We’re not going back to snail mail. We’re not getting rid of email. And we’re not getting rid of presidential tweets," Bongino said.

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