Movies have made us pretty used to believing crazy things about the United States Secret Service. You know, the guys who wear sunglasses with dark lenses and have earpieces and are generally badass. Correction: super badass.
Consequently, many of us find it hard to believe that they actually exist in real life. But of course, they do! However, Hollywood doesn’t necessarily portray them how they really are, and today we’ll be clearing the mists a little… but just a little.
The United States Secret Service is filled with mystery and myths, which is pretty understandable. But one thing’s for sure, they do not stick out like a sore thumb – which is also understandable. Forget the stereotype – if you’re walking down the street, you would hardly recognize any of them. But, if their tasks is to be onto you, they’ll recognize you 100%.
Regardless, there are tons of things that we are curious about. And I’m not talking about the obvious facts, like the fact that it was created by the 16th President of the United States in 1865. Nope, I’m talking about some of the more juicy information.
So here are 24 incredible little-known facts about the secret service, thanks to Providr. We also managed to hack a super-computer somewhere and acquire all this super-secret information in a super-secret way. So read on, but pssst…
1. There’s a lot more of them than we think
Source: Facebook @UnitedStatesService
The general impression is that there are about 100 or even less of these elite soldiers. But in reality, there’s actually around 6,500 of them. And there are many more who work for the personal protection unit.
2. The Secret Service doesn’t just guard presidents
They also protect their family, former presidents, and the families of former presidents. It’s basically protecting a president-ception. The Secret Service also has the duty of guarding the president’s guests and anyone that the president wants to be protected. Nothing beats this level of responsibility and pressure!
3. There are three service phases that the agents must pass
At first, they are not involved in the fieldwork. Actually, it’s a pretty long process until you get there. It all begins with having to work at the office for about 3 years if they want to participate in challenging tasks. The next phase lasts for about 4-7 years. Finally, the agent is promoted to a higher position in the field or goes back to office work.
4. The job is really dangerous and is no joke
At all. Before any important event, the Secret Service drills and tests any and all possible scenarios of murder attempts, kidnappings, and shootouts. Because they have to be prepared for literally anything! In training, they use bullets that are specifically made for these training sessions so no one gets hurt. Additionally, the agents also go through skill development courses every 8 weeks.
5. As a backup, every agent has basic medical skills
This makes it easier for them to be ready and calm in any serious and critical situation. It’s a super useful skill to have, whether it’s to save someone’s life before an ambulance arrives, or before they themselves arrive at the hospital. The routes to nearby hospitals are thoroughly researched as well so that a hospital is never too far away.
6. The agents always carry “presidential blood” with them
They are always ready to use their medical skills and perform urgent blood transfusion if needed. They constantly carry extra blood for the president so as not to take chances with donors. That’s… pretty mind-blowing.
7. Mount Weather is NOT a myth
High on the mountain, there is an underground bunker. It’s used to hide government representatives during an event where all other state officials gather. That way, if terrorists attack the top tier of the government, they can’t succeed.
8. The Secret Service has code names for presidents, just like in the movies
Not all things are made up by Hollywood just to make their movies cooler. The Secret Service usually uses names that start with the same letter for the same family. So, for Barack Obama it was Renegade and his wife was Renaissance, while their daughters were Radiance and Rosebud. Pretty cool!
9. There are motion sensors in the floor of the Oval Office
The reason? To trace movements and potential threats to the President if he chooses to be left alone in his Oval Office. Generally, the rule of the Secret Service is to never leave the president alone. But this way, when he does want to be alone -they can still trace him. Clever.
10. Since presidents can’t stay alone, the agents must participate in everything
That means picking up their hobbies too. If Mr. President wants to go for a run, they have to be up for it. If the president wants to take up hiking… Well, no choice, hiking it is. If the president wants to randomly learn to skateboard… You guessed it, they have to wear knee pads!
11. The president can’t even go alone to the doctor
Regardless of the problem they have. If it’s one of those embarrassing problems, too bad Mr. President! You’re going to have the secret service right there with you. On first thought, it’s pretty nice to have someone with you all day every day… On second thought, it could be pretty damn annoying.
12. The Secret Service is really super-tech-savvy
We’ve all seen those movies where the agents try to track down a threatening letter. It involves working with a big group of people to find that one person who’s causing the problems. Well, it’s not fantasy. The Secret Service really checks all electronic and paper letters that contain any threats. They also have a database with thousands of types of ink to make the process of an investigation easier.
13. They are really constantly monitoring and recording everything
Source: Instagram @secretservice
They also wear as many cameras as possible on them. It helps when it comes to resolving a situation and finding a perpetrator. For example, after Kennedy’s murder, it was decided to always have a special car that was responsible for video recording any presidential cortege. Too little, too late, but very clever for future presidents.
14. They don’t actually have to die for the President
Source: Instagram @secretservice
It’s one of those Hollywood things intended to add more drama. In reality, that’s not the case at all. There’s nothing even close to an oath like that. Even though the agents dedicate their entire life to the President, it’s definitely not a requirement to die for them.
15. However, one Secret Service agent DID die for the President
He sacrificed his life and he did so voluntarily. His name was Leslie Coffelt and he was murdered on November 1, 1950, while he was defending President Harry Truman.
16. The location of their headquarters is a secret
All we know is that it’s somewhere in Washington, in a building without any identification signs. There aren’t even any trash cans close by making it difficult to plant a bomb. It’s been known that the building is located on a street with an extremely short name… Such as H street. Perhaps?
17. The Secret Service was born on the day Lincoln was killed
And at the suggestion of the then Secretary of the Treasury, Hugh McCulloch. He presented this idea to Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Later that same night, the president went to a theater where he was shot in the head. A very tragic event.
18. But it wouldn’t have saved Lincoln’s life
You see, the service was originally intended to cope with counterfeiters and financial frauds. In fact, the organization still deals with such issues alongside with protecting the President and his family.
19. They don’t look like in the movies
You know, dark sunglasses and black costumes, topped with a poker face. But real agents never use sunglasses during their mission because they might miss seeing something important. Better to be safe than sorry and just leave the sunglasses.
20. They aren’t perfect – they are human and make mistakes
Source: Columbia Pictures
The chief difference is, their mistakes could cost someone’s life. But smaller and bigger mistakes do happen. Especially today when it’s so difficult to hide anything. But when they do slip up, they are prepared to take every step to fix the mistake that they have made.
21. The hands of the agents are always ready
If you look at various photos of agents with the president, you’ll see that their hands are always at their waist. The position of their fingers might differ, but the position of their hands always means the same thing. It means that the agents will react quickly and are prepared to raise their weapons at a moment’s notice.
22. The United States Secret Service actually gave birth to the FBI
Back in 1908, the attorney general hired nine Secret Service agents and commissioned them as “special agents of the Justice Department”. Eventually, these special agents were seen as the heart of the Bureau of Investigation and would make the Federal Bureau of Investigation that we know today.
23. No traitors – not even once
It’s logical to wonder, having in mind the amount of power and responsibility that the Secret Service has. Have they ever had a traitor? The answer is… No! Over the years, they have been penetrated by untold numbers of foreign spies but the agents themselves have never had a spy in their midst. To date, there has been no member of protective detail betraying his or her country. That’s… the definition of perfect.
24. Generally, agents dress for the occasion
Source: Video Gallery Tube
They aren’t always formal and buttoned-down. Sometimes, the situation warrants a suit or a tuxedo, but most of the time it’s just jeans and a jacket. The less conspicuous the better. Even the earpiece can be changed up from the well-known coiled-wire variety to ones that look like iPod earbuds. The sunglasses are just for show!