Barack Obama isn't just the POTUS, he's a parent. He invoked his proud, protective papa following his family's vacation in Hawaii when some paparazzi tried snapping his daughters.

One particular pap got bored while waiting around to get shots of the perpetually pregnant Jessica Simpson. When they spotted the First Family, they got excited -- who wouldn't? -- and went to work.

When the photog sent the pics of the family, including Sasha and Malia, to newswires, he got a pretty stern letter on White House stationery.

"After he took the photographs, agents from the United States Secret Service came over and asked him for identification,” a source told Celebuzz. “They were nice enough to him and didn't seize his camera equipment. But when he sent the photographs out via the agency’s wire, he received a letter, on a White House letterhead, requesting that the images not be released.”

The letter from the White House press office also made sure to point out that other media outlets respected the girls' privacy -- as they were on a private holiday.

It's a pretty fair policy to have, considering Malia and Sasha didn't choose to be public figures. Their pops did. And let's be real, no dad wants to think of pervs on the Internet looking at their daughters in swimwear ... and considering he has that all-important big red button and Michelle has those guns (on her biceps), it's best to keep the man happy.

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