Take it for what it is worth

On Sunday night Discovery Channel featured 2 shows titled “Secret Service Secrets”.  The show was a narrative and expose on the intricate procedures that the United Secret Service utilizes to protect the President of the United States.  There were several cut-out shots of former agents to include Jerry Parr as they described the job from an insiders perspective.  For those of us that are students of the craft, much of this was not new.  The only part of the show that was jaw dropping to me was releasing the call-signs of some of the elements of the presidential motorcade.  This was the very first time I have heard anyone outside of former and active duty personnel say “Hawkeye” or “Halfback”.  Who am I to question the USSS on allowing those call-signs to be released to the public.  Ok. I’m over it, but I will ask a couple friends.

What I want everyone to come away from the shows is this:  The amount of resources and access can not be over emphasized.  The private sector interpretation of what they do is extremely difficult and everyone can not do it.  The amount of effort that the Service puts into a DC site visit is nothing short of a small troop deployment.  Put multiple sites in succession and one could only imagine the amount of physical and technical pieces that are involved.  Take that same scenario and place it in another city or country and you can multiply the effort and time needed for them to put it all together.  Now take all that and out it in your lap.  It’s a daunting task.  When I have said that we have to do more with less, I meant it.  Regardless of the fact that we are not protecting the President of the United States you can not short cut the protocols to be effective.

In one portion of the show they showed a graphic of how the Service channels people attending an event in order to attend.  You should be doing the same.  Obviously we   at all have the ability to shut down an entire venue however you can start the channeling process within the venue as you get closer to the specific area they event is taking place.  Access control is your first line of protection in our world.  They reiterated that the site guy has to know the entire site inside and out.  No difference here.  These are the things we teach because you will face this scenario ALL the time.  Just showing up is NOT an option.

One portion of the show that I zeroed in on, yet in my mind I was saying, “This is going to go over most people’s heads because it doesn’t have the CDI [Chics dig it] factor.  That was the part about “biological factors” or keys.  Last week I said, “If you’re not looking for it, you won’t see it.”  This is what they were talking about.  What doesn’t fit in this crowd?

Lastly, I have spoken recently about ropelines and how difficult they are.  I have worked them on many occasions and they are very stressful especially if you have not searched the people on the other side.  Key points here: 1- a ropeline is better that a receiving line.  On a ropeline the principal is moving.  On a receiving line he/she is static and the people approach him/her. 2- Advise the principal to never reach into the crowd, have them reach towards him/her [Sarkozy]. 3-try not to give a full handshake and grasp at the end of the hand.  There is less control from the attendee on the principal’s hands. 4- HANDS, always ask them to show their hands.  Ropeline formations is an entire training block and can never be translated on paper effectively without practical applications and graphs.

I want to end this by giving an example of a previous statement: “Protection is harder in the private sector.”  One of the former agents on the Discovery Channel show was the protection specialist on the Romney detail when he was glitter bombed.  There is no possible way that this seasoned veteran forgot how to work a ropeline, yet his/their response was much different that a text book response.  Why do you think that was?  Possibly due to less resources, inability to control who was on the other side of the ropeline, and teh most frightening possibility, he has not translated his official responses to that of the private sector.  Although the primary objective is getting to your principal, he somehow chose the “address the threat” first.  I don’t know what his process was however you saw the difference in response once the Service picked up coverage.  This is not an easy job.

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