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Documentary Review - National Geographic: Inside the U. S. Secret Service (2004)

By Edited Jun 2, 2016 0 0

The President has many threats on his life. One out of every four Presidents has been the object of a threat. The United States Secret Service is deployed to monitor every move the President makes. When he leaves the White House, hundreds of people are required to insure his safety outside the bubble.

The headquarters of the organization is in an unmarked office in downtown Washington D.C. They like the idea that no one knows what they do. There are several branches of the establishment outside of protecting the President. The Intelligence Division, the Electronic Crime branch and the Counterfeit section are part of the Secret Service which most people are not aware of.

Flag of the United States Secret Service

                                                     Flag of the United States Secret Service

The Service was originally created in 1865 to protect U. S. currency from counterfeiters. This was their sole role at that time. After the Civil War, more than half of the money printed in this country was counterfeit. Today, over half of all Secret Servicemen are involved in investigating counterfeit currency and electronic fraud as well as a constant stream of threats against the President. Everyone is investigated. The Intelligence Division is made aware of these threatening phone calls and letters. Nothing escapes the scrutiny of these devoted servants.

In the past century, assassination attempts and threats to the President demanded the protection of a specialized department. Today, not only the President and his family, but the Vice President and visiting dignitaries are surrounded by a cadre of guards wherever they go.

In Dallas, Texas in November of 1963, President and Mrs. Kennedy rode in an open car throughout the streets of Dallas. A President now rides only in a covered armored car known as The Beast. The details of its protection devices are classified. We do know that it has a remote starter as a protection against bombs and the body is as thick as a telephone booth.

In his day-to-day activities, the President seems to move freely about, but he does not. When he leaves the door of the White House, there are Secret Servicemen in the bushes and on the roof. He is under constant surveillance. Even the air surrounding the White House is monitored every day.

The documentary takes us through the advance preparation by the Secret Service of the visit by President George W. Bush to Louisiana State University to deliver the Commencement Address. A search for bombs and weapons called a Sweep commences as the day approaches. Every potted plant, every band instrument and all 14,000 seats are examined by sniffing dogs whose noses are 20 times more sensitive than ours. The basement, the roof and the area under the bleachers are scrutinized. The Secret Service never underestimates the enemy

Air Force One, Secret Service Agents, Presidential Limousine

                               Air Force One, Secret Service Agents, Presidential Limousine

For those who work closely to a protectee, the training is greatest. They may be required to fire into a crowd or from a moving vehicle. They have sessions two weeks out of every eight just to sharpen their skills. Special Agent Lawrence Tucker, known as LT, earned the assignment to protect the President. He stands always at the President's shoulder, known as the Kill Zone. He is the President's shield.

I learned so much about this branch of government in this documentary, much more than I have related here. I feel proud that we have men who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the President's safety and for the safety of our country.



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