In the shadowy realm where danger lurks and the thin line between protection and peril blurs, the Secret Service emerges as the unsung hero, orchestrating a symphony of covert maneuvers that would make James Bond blush. Forget everything you thought you knew about security; these elite guardians of the realm have a playbook so mind-bogglingly cunning that even your wildest conspiracy theories might pale in comparison. So buckle up, fellow thrill-seekers.
1. Travelling with bags of blood
In the high-stakes game of safeguarding the leader of the free world, the Secret Service plays chess with fate. Picture this: the President's motorcade slicing through city streets, a meticulously orchestrated ballet of power and protection. But what if the worst happens?
Whenever the president travels in his motorcade, each and every route the secret service take is never more than 10 minutes away from a trauma center and the car is always always stocked with bags of blood matching the presidents blood type in case of emergency. This helped save Ronald Reagan in 1981 after he was shot.Original content sourced from Femanin.com
2. Tactical driving
In the clandestine world of the Secret Service, where danger lurks in the shadows and the unexpected is a constant companion, being prepared is not just a choice but a way of life. Among the myriad skills in their arsenal, defensive driving stands out as a critical art form.
All 6,500 secret service employees have to learn how to drive defensively incase they're involved in an attack against someone they're protecting. Their training takes place at a 546 yard track in Maryland where they learn all the fundamental technique of how to escape a dangerous situation.
3. They have NO secrets
In the enigmatic realm of the Secret Service, where the guardians of the nation's elite operate, secrets are a currency they cannot afford to trade in. It might seem paradoxical—the organization itself shrouded in mystery, yet its agents compelled to lay bare their own vulnerabilities.
The secret service surprisingly isn't allowed any secrets. For agents wanting to join, they have to go through rigorous tests including a polygraph test. No matter how embarrassing their deep secrets may be, the secret service will get them out of them. All for good reason so the agents can't be blackmailed in the future.
4. Knowing their every move
In the sanctum of the Oval Office, where the President of the United States conducts the nation's affairs, even the briefest moments of solitude are not without the invisible embrace of security. It's a paradoxical dance between power and vulnerability, where the leader of the free world might seem alone.
Now, the only time secret servicemen aren't with the president is during some of his oval office meetings. His security is sent to wait outside the door but fortunately for the POTUS, his security still have a way of knowing where he is thanks to pressure pads installed under the rugs of the room that always monitor his movements.
5. They hire the bad guys
The year 2008 unfolded as a digital battleground, with criminal mastermind Alberto Gonzalez orchestrating a heist that would echo through the annals of cybercrime. In a brazen act of audacity, Gonzalez pilfered an astronomical 130 million credit card numbers.
In 2008, criminal mastermind, Alberto Gonzalez was arrested for the theft of 130 million credit card numbers making it the largest retail store theft ever. He claimed that he was working for the secret service to help track down credit card thieves and that he was always paid in cash in order for it not to be tracked back to the agency.
6. The lapel badges
In the world of presidential security, where every detail matters, even the seemingly unassuming badges worn by Secret Service agents become high-tech sentinels. These diminutive emblems of authority carry a powerful secret—a minuscule Integrated Circuit (IC) transponder chip nestled within.
These tiny badges have tiny IS transponder chips in them that links to the agency database which lists all the information needed to verify that the person with the badge is the one who's authorised to wear it. It can rapidly identify any imposters trying to get close to the president.
7. The ear pieces
In the realm of presidential security, the Secret Service dons a cloak of anonymity, forsaking the traditional trappings of uniforms for a more discreet yet equally potent ensemble. While the absence of standardized attire may render them inconspicuous in a crowd, there's a telltale sign...
The secret service don't wear uniforms, but you'll often see them with those ear pieces that are connected to their radios allowing them to communicate with the rest of their teams. They often have them one when they're accompanying the POTUS and you'll often see them talking into what looks like thin air.
n the realm of presidential protection, where the stakes are high and the margin for error nonexistent, the Secret Service boasts an ace up its sleeve—an elite force known as the Counter Assault Team (CAT). Nestled within the folds of the Secret Service itself, CAT is not just a backup plan; it's a rapid-response force.
If the secret service ever need any additional firepower, they have a tactical unit on speed dial, an elite special ops team based inside the secret service itself called CAT (counter assault team). The specialised unit of operatives are tasked with neutralising attack on the POTUS.
9. 'The Beast'
The President's motorcade is the epitome of contradiction—a mobile fortress that navigates the fine line between safety and vulnerability. A symphony of precision, it comprises a staggering 35 vehicles, each meticulously orchestrated to create a cocoon of protection around the most powerful individual.
The President's motorcade is both the safest and the riskiest convoy on the planet. There are 35 different vehicles in the motorcade with the one in the middle always being the president's limousine. It has night vision driving systems, a sealed cabin capable of enduring a nuclear biological chemical attack along with other incredible features.
10. They're not a small operation
When the President of the United States steps into the public eye, the visible presence of about 6 or 7 Secret Service guards might seem like a finite cadre of protection. Yet, what many might not realize is that beneath the surface of this apparent modest security detail lies an expansive network of guardians.
Whenever the POTUS is seen out and about, he's usually surrounded by about 6 or 7 secret service guards and a lot of people would think there aren't that many. What you probably didn't know is there's around 6,500 employees in the Secret Service with over 3,000 as special agents who carry out secret missions of protection. They're always around and there's always someone around to take things on.
11. High ranking individuals
The mantle of protection wielded by the Secret Service extends beyond the immediate orbit of the sitting President. While their primary duty is to safeguard the leader of the nation, their responsibilities transcend the tenure of a single administration.
We all know that the secret service are always around the help and protect the President, but they also help protect some other high ranking individuals.. At the top of the list is the president and the vice president who have their own assigned officers. The pope and ex-POTUS also get life long protection.
12. They never leave the POTUS alone...ever!
The life of the President of the United States is a unique and unparalleled journey, marked by both the privilege of leadership and the unyielding constraints of security. To comprehend the reality of being the POTUS is to enter a realm where the concept of privacy undergoes a profound transformation.
So we've all probably wondered from time to time what it must be like to be the POTUS. Well considering they're at the top of the secret service protection list, you can probably guess that they always have someone with them and when I say always I mean from visiting the doctors office to standing outside the bathroom to wait for them.
13. The 'bum' deal
During Ronald Reagan's presidency, the unyielding commitment of the Secret Service to safeguard the Commander-in-Chief transcended the boundaries of the ceremonial and the quotidian. As the nation's leader, Reagan found himself not only in the glare of the political spotlight but also under the ever-watchful eye of his dedicated Secret Service officer.
When Ronald Reagan was in office, his assigned secret service officer was with him at all times and when he started to struggle with prostate issues, you better believe that his officer was with him at all times and at every doctor's exam. He was even prepared to take down the doctor if he thought he was at all a threat.
14. It's against the rules to leave anyone alone
Within the exclusive fraternity of individuals deemed critical to the national interest, a stringent code governs their daily existence—a code that dictates their every move and curtails the luxury of solitude. At the pinnacle of this hierarchy are the President and Vice President of the United States.
Anyone on 'the list of people who need to be protected' absolutely myst not be left alone. The POTUS and vice POTUS are not allowed to be alone at all, even if they want a little privacy or order the secret service to leave them alone, they cannot. It's against the rules which must be very frustrating sometimes.
15. Code names
Becoming the President of the United States comes with a myriad of responsibilities and challenges, but among the unique perks is the privilege of selecting a personalized Secret Service code name. This distinctive feature adds a touch of mystique to the already enigmatic world of the Commander-in-Chief.
imagesource: blogs - letemps
There are many pros and cons to being the POTUS but one cool thing is that they're allowed to choose their own secret service code name. The president, the vice president and their families are given a list of pre approved code names which they're allowed to pick from for themselves.
16. The Pioneer
The art of selecting Secret Service code names becomes a canvas upon which individuals paint a subtle reflection of their identity, history, or aspirations. In the case of Vice President Kamala Harris, the choice of 'Pioneer' resonates with profound symbolism.
Vice president, Kamala Harris chose 'Pioneer' as her codename in a nod to her being the first African American woman and Indian American as vice president. Ex-POTUS, Donald Trump was 'Mogul', his wife and ex-first lady was 'Muse' and current POTUS, Joe Biden is 'Celtic'.
17. It's all about the money
In the annals of American history, the birth of the Secret Service traces its roots back to a time when the nation was grappling with the aftermath of the Civil War. It was 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln recognized a pressing need for a specialized agency to combat the rampant issue of counterfeiting.
When Abraham Lincoln established the secret service back in 1865, he created it to protect the USA from counterfeiters and they were actually part of the department of treasury. They did not protect the President (as you can tell from Lincoln's untimely demise).
18. Always use a pencil
In the clandestine world of law enforcement, where each detail holds the potential to unravel a web of deception, the Secret Service has adopted a unique weapon in its arsenal—ink analysis. A seemingly mundane aspect of forensic investigation, this method has evolved into a sophisticated tool.
The agency has accumulated over 12,000 different inks from all over the globe, even dating back to the 1920s in order to help combat crimes, especially counterfeit crimes. They can pinpoint specific ink manufacturers to work out what ink was used on a piece of paper. This gives them a location to a crime and help track down senders of threatening notes to the White House.
19. Don't say anything stupid online
In the intricate dance of safeguarding the President of the United States, the Secret Service has become synonymous with omnipresence—a silent, watchful guardian with eyes and ears attuned to every potential threat. The gravity of threatening the life of the POTUS is not lost on those who dare.
The secret service has eyes and ears everywhere and anyone who threatens the life of the POTUS can serve up to five years in prison. CEO Matt Harrington knows this all too well and back in 2016 after his facebook rants about Donald Trump went viral, he was visited by the secret service at his home.
20. Swapping 'the beast'
The President's motorcade is a meticulously orchestrated ballet of security, with each movement calibrated to ensure the safety of the Commander-in-Chief. At the heart of this protective dance is "The Beast," an imposing and heavily fortified vehicle designed to withstand a spectrum of potential threats.
The President's impenetrable vehicle is always driven by secret serviceman and when they're driving him from A to B they often swap the positions of 'The Beast' with a nearby spare car. The spares at a glance look identical to 'the beast' so anyone planning an attack could target the wrong car.
21. They're crowd control experts
In the intricate tapestry of protecting high-profile individuals, the Secret Service has honed a layered and dynamic perimeter system, a multi-faceted approach that weaves together the expertise of various elements to create an unyielding shield, a three-tiered defensive structure.
To protect the people they're in charge of, the secret service relies on a perimeter system. The outer perimeter works with the local police, the middle has secret service agents amongst the crowds actively searching for weapons and reporting back. The inner perimeter are the agents with the POTUS and spend time watching everybody.
22. Agent Tim McCarthy
In the hallowed halls of Secret Service history, the name Tim McCarthy resonates as a testament to unwavering dedication and unyielding bravery. McCarthy etched his legacy in the annals of heroism on a fateful day when the specter of danger materialized in the form of a crazed gunman with a sinister agenda.
Still known as a hero to this day, Secret serviceman Tim McCarthy put his life on the line when crazed gunman John Hinkley fired at President Ronald Regan at point blank range. Tim immediately took the bullets for the president stepping in front of the spray - McCarthy thankfully made a full recovery.
23. They're trained in '10 minute medicine'
Within the elite ranks of the Secret Service, a unique and crucial skillset is cultivated—a proficiency known as '10 minute medicine.' In the high-stakes world of protecting the President of the United States, every moment is laden with potential consequences.
All secret servicemen are trained in '10 minute medicine' meaning that if something were to happen to the POTUS, they've got enough knowledge to be able to keep him alive whilst they wait for medical staff to arrive. Whether it be a heart attack or a shooting, they're trained for everything.
24. Trip planning
The meticulous choreography of presidential protection is a symphony of planning and preparation, orchestrated with precision by the Secret Service. Beyond the visible shield of agents and fortified vehicles, a behind-the-scenes ballet of planning unfolds.
Secret service agents deal with any plans, they plan the motorcade route, they plan which vehicle the president will travel in, they'll plan the hotels and identify low risk hotel that they can book an entire floor out for. They also locate hospitals and any other emergency services nearby.
25. Food & letter testing
In the realm of protecting the President, the Secret Service's vigilance extends even to the culinary domain, where the very act of preparing a meal becomes a carefully monitored process. The adage "you are what you eat" takes on a heightened significance when the individual in question is the President of the United States.
The secret service monitor the entire cooking process at any restaurant and if the president ever orders takeout, the food doesn't get delivered to the White House, it'll get delivered to a nearby address that they can pick it up from. Letters are also checked before they're given to the president.
26. Human shielding
In the realm of presidential protection, the Secret Service's commitment to safeguarding the President is unwavering and deeply ingrained. In the face of any potential threat, whether it be an attempt on the President's life or an individual trying to breach the protective bubble, the agents' training kicks in.
The secret service are trained to circle the president and to scan crowds at all times if there is ever an attempt on the presidents life or if somebody ever tries to get too close to them. Without hesitation all agents put their bodies on the line and remain connected to one another to prevent confusion and remain connected to the protectee.
27. Marine One
When the Commander-in-Chief or the Vice President needs to traverse distances swiftly and securely, the air becomes an invaluable conduit. Air travel, particularly by helicopter, provides a unique combination of speed, accessibility, and flexibility, making it a preferred mode of transportation.
It's often easier and less expensive to let the president travel by air so the helicopter also known as Marine One is used for the POTUS and Marine Two being used for the Vice President. Typically HMX-1 nighthawks which are usually large Sikorsky VH3DC king helicopters.
28. Air Force One
When the President of the United States embarks on international travel, the Secret Service orchestrates a remarkable feat of customization—a convergence of security, technology, and aerospace engineering. At the heart of this operation is the transformation of a Boeing 747-200B series aircraft into a flying fortress.
Whilst the POTUS travels around the world, the secret service is tasked with customising planes which are usually a Boeing 747 2b series aircraft as they have the ability to be refuelled midair and are extremely secure which allow the aircraft to be protected from electromagnetic pulses and coded communications equipment.
29. White House security tricks
A tour of the White House, the iconic residence of the President of the United States, is a coveted and enlightening experience for those fortunate enough to secure a visit. However, gaining access to this symbol of American history and governance is not a casual affair.
You can actually get a tour around the White House, but you must book 21 days in advance so the secret service can do a background search on you. The entire house is covered in infred lasers from the floor to the ceiling so nothing, not even a squirrel can enter without the secret service being alerted. Its also a no fly zone, so if anything enters that air space, a set of drones are sent to find it.
Systema, a Russian martial art with roots in traditional Russian warrior training, has earned a reputation for its unique approach to hand-to-hand combat. Originating from the diverse martial traditions of Cossacks and Russian Orthodox monks, Systema has evolved into a comprehensive and pragmatic system.
Systema is a Russian military hand to hand martial art, which is known for being incredibly brutal and was only used by the likes of the KGB and Spetsnaz. It emphasises the use of natural and simple techniques to take advantage of an attackers biomechanics making it nearly impossible for the attack to hurt or kill the person they're trying to get to.
31. It's not a joke
In the high-stakes world of presidential protection, the Secret Service operates with a level of vigilance that leaves no room for complacency. Even seemingly innocuous remarks or jokes can carry weight in an environment where the safety and security of the President are paramount.
image source: secretservice.gov
No, seriously - secret service agents have to even take 'jokes' very seriously, because anything and everything could be a threat. So if they're in a country were freedom of speech is a very big thing, they have to pay attention to every little thing everyone is saying to see if it's a veiled threat.
32. And if they think you're a threat? They're immediately going to get ALL your info up
When the delicate balance between free expression and potential threats to the President is disrupted by a seemingly concerning comment or joke, Secret Service agents swiftly transition into a realm known as "protective intelligence." This shift marks the initiation of a thorough and comprehensive investigative process.
image source: theguardian.com
If a secret service agent hears someone joking about the president's life and thinks it's sketchy, they then move into 'protective intelligence'. This is when they'll immediately research who you are, your friends, your family, the circles you move in and which organizations you're affiliated with.
33. And what do they do next if they find a threat?
Upon completion of a protective intelligence investigation that yields concerning findings, Secret Service agents wield a range of impactful measures to address perceived threats to the President's safety. These decisive actions underscore the gravity of the agency's commitment to preemptive security.
image source: youtube.com
If this 'protective intelligence' then comes back with something worrying and they believe the person to be a valid threat, they can - and will - do one of three things: they can issue the person with an official warning, they can commit the person for psychiatric evaluation, or charge them with a felony resulting in up to 3 years in prison!
34. The president doesn't have one official 'food taster'
Contrary to the popular notion of royalty and presidents having an official "food taster" to ensure the safety of their meals, the reality, at least in the White House, diverges from this cinematic stereotype. According to insights from an ex-executive chef at the White House, the system in place is nuanced.
image source: lovefood.com
Most people think that important people - like royalty and presidents - have an official 'food taster' in case something has been tampered with - but according to an ex executive chef at the White House, that's not the case - and it's only White House kitchen staff who have access to the presidential food.
35. And the person who takes care of their food changes with every trip
The absence of a dedicated "food taster" who accompanies the President wherever they go underscores the dynamic and logistical complexity of ensuring the safety and quality of presidential meals. Instead, the White House employs a system that adapts to various scenarios.
image source: time.com
Because there isn't an official 'taster' who flies around everywhere with the president, it changes with every trip. There is a Navy-assigned chef for long trips, while Air Force One has a chef that takes over, or an airport chef. When going abroad, it gets a bit more complicated, where a secret service taster might have to step in.
36. Nobody can sell anything to the president without it being screened first
Indeed, the stringent measures surrounding the preparation and screening of food for the President extend beyond the White House kitchen. While the focus on preventing potentially harmful substances from entering the President's meals is paramount, this level of scrutiny also permeates other aspects.
image source: bbc.com
This obviously makes sense when you think about the amount of suspicious things might otherwise make their way into the White House, but screening things which want to be sold to the president is just part of the job for his security team. No late night Amazon shopping for the president, then!
37. Their 'ink library' is looking to go digital
The Secret Service's approach to combating crimes is as dynamic as the evolving landscape of technology. While the agency has amassed a comprehensive library of inks dating back decades to aid in tracking down criminals who use written communication, the digital age has ushered in a new frontier.
image source: nypost.com
As mentioned, the secret service have a library of ink that can recognize any used on paper if an anonymous letter is sent - and the secret service are looking to make this all digital in the future. This will obviously make it quicker, easier and have more refined techniques.
38. The president's motorcade always travels with a mechanic - who's armed
The Presidential motorcade, colloquially known as 'the beast,' is not just a fleet of armored vehicles; it is a mobile fortress designed to ensure the safety and security of the President of the United States. At the heart of this impressive convoy is not only cutting-edge technology but also a highly specialized mechanic.
image source: endurance.com
The presidential motorcade - 'the beast' - is never without a highly specialized mechanic, who's able to work on the vehicles should they need it at any point during their important journey. Not only is the mechanic present, but they're also heavily armed like all the other agents, too.
39. The motorcades used to be limos bought off the lot
In the annals of presidential history, the evolution of the presidential limousine reflects not only advancements in security technology but also the pragmatic challenges faced by those responsible for safeguarding the Commander-in-Chief. In the earlier years, the approach to creating the presidential limousine was one of retrofitting.
image source: reddit.com
Back in the day, the presidential limos would actually be cars that were bought off the lot, as they were, and then modified for protection later. But the amount of modifications needed for security purposes made the limos breakdown, because they weren't made for such heavy mods!
40. Because they broke down, the motorcades would instead be built from scratch
The paradigm shift in the approach to designing and constructing presidential vehicles, a departure from retrofitting commercially available cars, marked a crucial moment in the history of the presidential motorcade. The challenges posed by modifying existing vehicles, particularly in terms of reliability.
image source: newsweek.com
Because it was then impossible to buy limos ready to go and then modify them, it was instead decided presidential vehicles should be completely manufactured from scratch with the presidential motorcade in mind. It's been done this way since the time of President Bush.
41. Important lessons were learned from JFK's assassination
The tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, while he was traveling in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, was a watershed moment that profoundly impacted the Secret Service and prompted a comprehensive reevaluation of their security protocols.
image source: www.history.com
As you can imagine, the assassination of a president traveling via motorcade gave the secret service pause for thought on how they do things. It was the assassination of John F Kennedy that forced the service to rethink how they did things in terms of armored vehicles and protection.
42. The president never, ever goes out 'on a whim'
The seemingly spontaneous and casual public appearances of the President are, in reality, meticulously orchestrated events that undergo rigorous planning and clearance by an advanced Secret Service team. Every outing, regardless of its apparent informality, is subjected to a comprehensive process of assessment.
image source: bbc.com
Sometimes it might seem that the president has done something 'off the cuff' while out in public, or that some outings are decided on spontaneously, but this is never, ever the case. Any outing, no matter how short and casual, needs to first be cleared by an advanced secret service team.
43. The advanced team fully scouts out the location first
Whether an outing is meticulously planned or decided on a moment's notice, the Secret Service team leaves nothing to chance. Before the President sets foot in any location, a comprehensive and meticulous scouting process takes place. This advanced reconnaissance is crucial.
image source: yahoofinance.com
If the president wants to anywhere, whether planned months in advance or minutes in advance, the secret service team needs to fully scout out the place. This includes all entrances and all exits, all the bathrooms and even small hiding spaces like closets, for potential threats.
44. They also check in with local mental health institutions - in case of escapes
The Secret Service's meticulous pre-visit scouting extends beyond the physical layout of a location. When the President is scheduled to visit another state, a unique set of considerations comes into play, including the potential threat posed by individuals who may have escaped from mental health institutions.
image source: wikipedia.org
When visiting another state, this is something the secret service team has to do, in case there has been an inmate who has escaped from a mental health institution, knowing the president is visiting, and could be a threat. This became an important check after President Reagan's attempted assassination.
45. They're trained to spot someone with a gun in a crowd
In the ever-vigilant world of Secret Service protection, the task of scanning large crowds for potential threats is a complex and high-stakes responsibility. While agents remain watchful for a spectrum of potential dangers, the foremost concern is the presence of individuals who may be carrying firearms.
image source: financialtimes.com
Secret service agents will always be in the lookout in a large crowd of people for potential threats, but what they're mainly looking for is someone with a firearm. While there are many threats that can happen in a crowd, it's highly likely a gunman will be the biggest thing to worry about.
46. And they can tell whether you're left or right handed
The exceptional training of Secret Service agents extends to a level of observational expertise that allows them to discern subtle details about individuals in a crowd. This skill is not only a testament to the rigorous training programs agents undergo but also a practical necessity.
image source: reddit.com
Service agents are so trained that they can tell whether you're left or right handed with just a look. This is so they can better understand which hand they might expect a gun to be pulled with. They can tell based on things like jewelry worn on the hand, or how the person lights a cigarette.
47. They watch for shooters checking if the weapon is still there
Indeed, Secret Service agents are trained to observe not only overt actions but also subtle and subconscious behaviors that might indicate a concealed threat. The subconscious weapon check is a particularly insightful aspect of their training, as individuals carrying concealed firearms may instinctively engage in certain behaviors.
image source: wallstreetjournal.com
One thing they're also trained to look for is something people won't even realise they're doing. It's likely that a gunman will subconsciously check that their hidden weapon is still there, when they move, sit down or stand up. So that's what agents look for - the weapon check.
48. Baggy clothes might make them suspicious
The attire of individuals in a crowd is a critical element of observation for Secret Service agents, especially on hot days when concealed clothing can be more conspicuous. The choice of clothing, particularly if it appears unusual or out of context for the weather, can raise concerns about potential concealed threats.
image source: reddit.com
This is particularly true if it's a very hot day and someone in the crowd rocks up wearing a very baggy sweater or coat. Agents will immediately wonder whether they're concealing something - like a weapon - in the baggy clothing, so they're trained to pay attention to what people are wearing, too.
49. The 'water rescue' is one of the most demanding details
The water rescue detail within the Secret Service is an elite and demanding specialization that requires agents to undergo rigorous training to handle a spectrum of water-related emergencies. The water rescue detail ensures that the protection umbrella extends to aquatic environments.
image source: chesapeakebaymagazine.com
There are many details and tasks that make up the secret service - but one of the most demanding can be the water rescue detail. These sees agents ready for any eventuality that can happen in water, where they need rigorous training to be able to save anyone from water hazards.
50. There are tactics that will forever remain... secret
Absolutely, the Secret Service operates under a veil of confidentiality and discretion, and for good reason. The nature of their work, focused on the protection of high-profile individuals, demands a level of secrecy to effectively safeguard against potential threats.
image source: motherjones.com
Of course, the secret service has to keep some things close to their chest, which is why the world will never know every single one of the tactics they learn in order to do their job. This list covers only a small portion of what they're capable of doing - which is impressive enough!