Now that former President Obama has crossed the finish line, folks like me can breathe a sigh of relief. Somewhat. He’s still the President that “killed” Usama Bin Landen. There will always be those who would like to take a run at him. Mostly foreign nationals. Mostly.
But like many security professionals I was worried. Very worried. Eight years ago, the nightmare scenario of some toothless-wonder making a run at Obama was acknowledged by both sides. Now with Trump in office, things are completely out of hand. Worse even! A significant number of Democratic members calling for the assassination of President Donald Trump has turned into bloodsport. And the lack of recrimination and blowback by the media is telling. Very, very telling.
And while we are on the subject let me be very clear. I didn’t support Former President Obama’s politics, policies or general outlook of the world. He was a US President and nobody…and I mean nobody…touches a US President. Current or former. And how’s this for a kicker? I Marky am better than a certain US Secret Service agent (Kerry O’Grady) stationed in Denver. How? Because unlike her, I would quickly and without reservation trade my life to protect the life of former President Obama. Just as I would to defend current President Trump. No prep. Zero notice. I’m ready. Right now. To save either one.
Now let’s be real. Both scenarios would suck for me. And one could almost be the definition of a Greek tragedy. But I would do it. And as a proud US citizen I am always ready to make such choices. Proudly. Right now. It’s a mindset.
And with that in mind, I do not envy the US Secret Service (USSS) Presidential Protective Detail (PPD) one bit. Being somewhat familiar with some of the threats they worry about, it’s a small wonder they can even function so professionally and seamlessly around The US President. It really is astonishing.
The Scale of the Threats
Nothing I am about to type is new or unknown. It’s all open source. Here goes: Consider when the general aviation aircraft hit The White House during Clinton’s time in office. Or the grenade that was thrown at G. W. Bush during one of his visits to a former communist-bloc country. Thwarted assassination of G.H.W. Bush in Kuwait. Radiological and biological attacks such as we saw done to the former KGB agent living in London. And let us not forget bombs: Suicide bombers. Car bombs. Bombs in animals. IED’s laid in the street. The mind boggles. But my most fearful?
The Nightmare Bomb
With all the news today about Syria, the Assad family, ISIS and Iraq; it is somewhat heartening to know many more Americans can at least find these places on a map. But did you ever hear about the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic (Rafiq) Hariri? At the time, I am sure you did. But like most news stories, they get stale and life marches on.
But for the Secret Service and other head-of-state security details, the Hariri attack was a watershed moment. Why? Simple, the attack basically consisted of blowing up an entire city block. Yes, you read that right. The attackers didn’t bomb Hariri. Sure, they planned on killing him. He was the target after all. But instead they blew up an entire city block. Think about what that kind of attack means to a group like the USSS PPD? Suddenly one doesn’t look at The President’s limo (The Beast as it’s known) as just a box to hide Trump in. But also as a rolling blast shield to provide all kinds of cover even if the President is dismounted.
The Fake Arm
I do not know what kind of rifle that USSS agent is holding under his coat. And if I am being intellectually honest, none of us know for sure if it’s even a weapon at all? However that is a logical guess. But the real question is why?
The USSS PPD is unique from just about any other protective detail in the world. Most are familiar with some hokey commercial for “Acme Bodyguard School” that shows the VIP being shuffled into a vehicle and whisked to safety. The USSS will do that. Commonly known as getting off the X. But wait…there’s more.
The Secret Service is prepared to launch a full counter-assault in defense of The President. Why? Lone gunman, terror attacks, toothless-wonders and the American Democratic party aren’t their own concerns these days. The USSS has to be prepared to fight against a decapitation strike by enemy special forces in the opening moments of a theoretical war.
As such, the USSS is prepared to launch a counter-assault against such a force. Let me say that again…they are not going sit back and defend against that level of attack and wait for the US military to come to their aid. Or run away. They will immediately launch a counter attack to find, fix and destroy the enemy. Giving the President and his group time to recover and escape. Leaving the attackers too busy to follow.
You know the code name for some of the USSS Suburbans that follow the President? The War Wagon.
Bottom line, we don’t know what’s under the agent’s coat. But what I do know is…you ain’t seen nothing yet. And here’s to hoping you never do!
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”