21 Amazing Little-Known Facts About the Secret Service

The United States Secret Service is shrouded in mystery and myths. Who are these strict people in black costumes? In movies, they wear sunglasses with dark lenses and have earpieces. But you’d hardly recognize them in real life if you met them.

Bright Side has discovered some facts about these special agents. We’ll try to lift the veil of secrecy and learn a bit more about the mysterious organization

There are more of them than we think

If we speak about the Secret Service, we often think about 100 (or even less) elite soldiers. In fact, there are around 6,500. In addition, there are those who work for the personal protection unit.

Mount Weather isn’t a myth

There is an underground bunker in the mountain that is used to hide one government representative during an event where all other state officials gather. So if terrorists decide to slaughter the top tier of the government, they will probably fail

They never wear sunglasses outdoors

In movies, agents always wear sunglasses and black costumes. Real agents never use sunglasses during their mission as they might miss something important because of glare or lack of light

And they go to the doctor with the president

The president even can’t stay alone with a doctor without an agent as an escort, no matter what the president’s problem is

They don’t just guard presidents

Not only the president but their family, former presidents, and the families of former presidents are under protection too. The Secret Service also guards the president’s guests and anyone the president wants to be protected

The Secret Service was established on the day Lincoln was killed

It was Hugh McCulloch, the Secretary of the Treasury, who suggested establishing the Secret Service. He presented his idea to Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Later that night, the president went to a theatre where he was shot in the head

Sometimes they fail too

Nowadays it’s really difficult to hide anything, and a Secret Service mistake is no exception. There was a story of Barack Obama riding in an elevator with an armed officer when a man with a knife entered the grounds of The White House by jumping over the fence

Presidents have code names too

The Secret Service uses code names for presidents for real — it’s not a Hollywood fantasy. They often use names beginning with the same letter for one family. For example, Barack Obama was Renegade, his wife was Renaissance, and their daughters were Radiance and Rosebud

They track all threatening letters

It’s not a myth. The Secret Service checks all electronic and paper letters that contain any threats (even jocular). This organization also has a database with thousands of types of ink to make the process of investigation easier.

They don’t swear to die for their president

It’s a Hollywood myth. There is no such oath in real life. Nothing personal, Mr. President!

They keep their headquarters a secret

The Secret Service headquarters is located in Washington in a building without any identification signs. There aren’t even any trash cans nearby (so there is no place to install a bomb). The building is situated on a street with an extremely short name: H Street.

The Secret Service was not founded to protect the president

Even if it had been created that morning, it wouldn’t have saved Lincoln’s life because its main purpose was to cope with counterfeiters and financial frauds. Actually, the organization still deals with such issues.

They participate in the president’s hobbies

As the president can’t stay alone, agents have to participate in everything in his life. Mr. President, do you want to go for a morning run? No problem, we will go with you. Do you want to take up hiking? We’re in. Do you want to try skateboarding? Well, you know…

There are 3 service phases

Agents are not involved in fieldwork at first. They have to work at the office for 3 years if they want to face challenging tasks (this phase lasts for 4-7 years). In the final phase, an agent is promoted to a higher position or returns to office work

They are trained to throw themselves in front of bullets and survive in water

Before any important event, the Secret Service envisages and rehearses all possible scenarios of murder attempts and shootouts. They use bullets specifically made for these training sessions. All agents also undergo a skills development course every 8 weeks

There are motion sensors in the Oval Office’s floor.

One of the Secret Service’s rules is that the president shouldn’t be left alone. And if the president wants to stay alone in the Oval Office without agents, they can easily trace any movement and any potential threat with the help of sensors in the floor

They always monitor and record everything

Agents always use as many cameras as they can. It really helps a lot when it comes to resolving an incident and finding a perpetrator. After Kennedy’s murder, it was decided to have a car that was responsible for video recording in a presidential cortege

They always have presidential blood with them

Agents are always ready to use their medical skills and perform a blood transfusion if needed. They always carry some extra blood for the president so as not to take chances with donors

There is only one agent who was killed in the line of duty.

If an agent sacrifices their life for the president, they do it voluntarily. Actually, there was only one case in history when a Secret Service officer died: Leslie Coffelt was killed on November 1, 1950, while defending Harry Truman.

They are ready to provide first aid

Every agent has basic medical skills and is ready to keep calm in a critical situation to save someone’s life before an ambulance arrives or before they arrive at the hospital. Each president’s route is thoroughly researched so that a hospital is always 10 minutes away

Their hands are always ready

If you have a closer look at agents in photos, you’ll notice that their hands are always at their waist. Their finger position may differ, but the meaning is always the same: the agents are ready to react quickly and raise their weapons
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