1. Travelling with bags of blood
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.
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2. Tactical driving
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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!
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 as they absolutely cannot risk anything happening to them.
13. The 'bum' deal
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
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
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
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
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). They do still help protect the country from cyber attacks and it's a duty thats considered to be extremely important.
18. Always use a pencil
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
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 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
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
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'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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?
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'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!