CDC Guard Who Snapped Obama Pic Says Firing 'Unjust'
CDC contractor Kenneth Tate canned after getting too close to president's limo
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2014 12:22 PM CST
This Aug. 8, 2008, file photo shows President-elect Barack Obama on an elevator in his grandmother's apartment building in Honolulu, Hawaii.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
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(Newser) – CDC security guard Kenneth Tate was excited when President Obama set foot in his elevator during his September visit, even shaking the president's hand in a moment that made him "proud," the New York Times reports. But when Tate escorted Obama back to his limo, he snapped a cell phone picture as a keepsake—something the Secret Service and his CDC bosses apparently didn't like. The 47-year-old was pulled aside, questioned, then terminated a week later (he tells the Times he still hasn't been given a reason); his son, who's worked for the CDC as a contractor for seven years, was also "downsized." Tate says he had taken photos of other bigwigs including former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and followed all Secret Service instructions he was given.

Tate's story blew up in part because he was carrying a firearm in the elevator with Obama, in violation of Secret Service rules, and it had been reported he was a convicted felon. The .40-caliber handgun in question was CDC-issued, and although he had been arrested before for robbery and assault, the Times notes he was never been convicted. A Secret Service agent who's seen Tate's account says it's mostly in line with what a Department of Homeland Security investigation has found; the private security contractor who employed Tate acknowledges in an email to the Times that Tate "did not have any felony or misdemeanor convictions" but still asserts that his account is "not correct." "This was unjust and has been a nightmare," Tate tells the Times. "I've tried to rationalize it. It won't go away."