Where did they go wrong?

Look closely at this footage. There are a couple glaring issues that I see. I am not here to armchair quarterback the French however here is a suggestion to those of you under the stroke of this keyboard.

1- even under the most pristine conditions, the USSS vets those people on the ropeline for the grip and grin. Notwithstanding the metal detectors, you can not detect intent from a cursory search for weapons. Keep that in mind.

2- when walking a rope-line or barrier, the security element moves down the greeting line in front and to the rear of the protectee with at least one person (normally the AIC or DL) just to his rear.
1 to 2 guys lead the formation down the greeting line normally closer to the onlookers than the protectee. As you walk down the line you are looking at? Guess? That’s it HANDS. As the protectee passes each person the specialists following him are looking at what? Right again- HANDS. Specifically the hands of the people you’ve just passed.

The DL or AIC just behind the protectee walking parallel to him/her is focusing on the people directly greeting the protectee and glancing towards where they are headed and always ready to: alert, shield and move in the event of an attack. That’s the basics 101. Too much to put in a blog.

What I was concerned about is this:
The guy leading the formation gives up ground and moves out of the way for the camera videotaping the incident, putting him (agent) way out of position. That’s a No No! Especially on official protection. In the private sector you may have to give up that ground but someone has to fill in that gap immediately.

Secondly, the formation was behind the president, putting him in almost an apex to the protective group, the entire time. The closest person to the rope-line appears to be some staffer or government official. Their positions left him totally exposed.

Third, when they responded, they never moved the president away. Remember, diversion.

The assailant was actually behind the people closest to the barrier, placing him in a obscured position, but close enough to launch the attack.

It is always prudent to educate your protectees on rope-line grip and grins. Never take a full handshake. And never, never extend your hands into the crowd for obvious. If President Sarkozy hadn’t caught his balance he could have landed hard on the barrier or even worse, over the barrier.

What did they do right? I always agree that you should have protection specialists paralleling the team on the other side of the barrier. This allows the team to see both sides of the crowd as well as see the protectees reaction if he/she has a concern. Moreover, any would be assailant can’t focus on what his intentions are and who is watching him. This reduces the moment of recognition ( attack behavior) versus moment of commitment (when the assailant fully commits). That span of time has a direct reflection in whether an attack is successful or not.

Let me end with this, I am in no way blaming anyone for what happened but as I am blogging this so are the French analyzing what happened and how to alleviate it from happening again.

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