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Removal of Three From Bush Visit Probed

Associated Press | March 31 2005

The Secret Service is investigating the claims of three people who say they were removed from President Bush's town hall meeting on Social Security last week because of a bumper sticker on their car that read: "No More Blood for Oil."

The three said they had obtained tickets to the event through the office of Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., had passed through security and were preparing to take their seats when they were approached by what they thought was a Secret Service agent who asked them to leave.

Alex Young, 25, who was among the three removed, said officials told them the next day they were identified as belonging to the "No Blood for Oil" group.

Lon Garner, the agent in charge of the Secret Service office in Denver, said the Secret Service had nothing to do with the three being asked to leave. Garner declined to release further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

"We are very sensitive to the First Amendment and general assembly rights as protected by the Constitution," Garner said.

Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, called the removal of the three people an egregious violation of their First Amendment rights.

"They're screening the people who are allowed to come and then they're profiling them in the parking lot," he said. "It's quite extraordinary, and disappointing."

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