Secret Service caught off-guard by "flying shoes"

Thankfully last week’s incident in Baghdad was more embarrassing than anything else. Like the Bill Gates cream pie incident in Belgium some years ago, it could have been much worse.

No matter what one may think of the way President Bush handled the war in Iraq, the journalists there have done themselves no favor in the eyes of the world. Although many of us in security probably think the Secret Service could have reacted better and faster, few would have considered a roomfull of journalists to have been a threat.

Speaking of the Secret Service, one wonders why they did not have an agent(s)sitting at the front facing towards the crowd? The other question that causes so much bewilderment is; “why did the first shoe, which nearly made contact, not draw any response from any of the President’s protectors?

The shoe-thrower even had time to fling his other shoe without an immediate response from the Secret Service. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Al-Maliki did a better job of protecting President Bush than the “men in black”. I can only imagine what must be going through President elect Obama’s mind this week.

We just concluded an intense week-long Executive Protection training class on the West Coast where we cautioned the agents-in-training about always being on their guard and never losing focus of the person(s) they are protecting. There can be no time for day-dreaming in this profession.

For those of you who look upon the incident as “amusing” and think that no harm was done, cast your mind back to the so-called Press conference in Afghanistan some years ago when a suicide bomber posing as a journalist smuggled explosives inside a camera and blew up Massood, the man who many thought was destined to become the future President of Afghanistan.

Those fulfilling the role of Protector can not afford to let down their guard when “on the job”. History has taught us that assasinations take mere seconds to carry out. The assassin only has to get it right once, the protectors have to get it right every time.

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  1. Rich G. PPS says:

    I watched the video several times to see where President Bush’s Secret Services agents were. I was shocked when I found them. One or two in the back of the room and the closest agent was way off to the Presidents right our left and had to work his way around several people just to get to his principle. If the poor tactical location was not bad enough it appeared he did not even react until after the second shoe had missed its mark. If you keep watching 2 to 3 seconds after it was over four agents come through the door behind the president. Talk about too little to late. You are correct the Iraqi Prime Minister did more to protect the president then his own Secret Service detail. We can put this video under what not to do on a detail.

    We can expect to see a job posting from the Secret Service soon.

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