Working with the Secret Service

Whenever a VIP visited Los Angeles and there was an assassination threat against that VIP, a TSD (technical support division team from Mobile Unit 3) would be dispatched from San Diego to augment the regular Secret Service.  These were always cool gigs for us and I had the pleasure to lead several of them.  We got to wear suits, had our own Secret Service photo identification, lapel pins and even got to stay at the same hotel with the VIP – usually the Beverly Wilshire Hotel or the Beverly Hills Hotel.  On one such job back in 1995, President Clinton was supposed to give a speech on the steps of town hall, but during a sweep of the grounds they discovered a MKII grenade (the pineapple type you always see in movies) under a sprinkler cover with a note inside.  The note was an assassination threat from an Irish resistance group, The Fenians who had not been heard from since 1920.  As with every threat, SS protocol mandated the President’s speech location be moved.  It also meant the departure time and place would also be changed the following morning.  The change of departure is the cool part of this story.  They decided to fly him out from the soccer fields of UCLA at 7am.  The soccer fields were surrounded on two sides by 10 story dormitory’s, so you can imagine the scene at 7am on a Sunday morning when 20 black limo’s suddenly drove onto the soccer fields and three helicopters blasted down, two proudly painted United States of America, a third military green with a cannon in front.  There wasn’t a single window on those dorms that didn’t have a body dangling from it – all deafened from the sound of chopper blades thumping off them.  It was like a series of explosions, a patriotic moment that made my hair stand up.  The extraction went down in less than a minute, perfectly timed and executed  – in and out.  Who could’ve known that President would later redefine what is is and what constituted sex.

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