We’re pretty used to seeing crazy things about the United States Secret Service in movies.
You know, the guys who wear sunglasses with dark lenses and have earpieces.
A lot of us find it hard to believe that they actually exist in real life…but they do! However, Hollywood doesn’t necessarily portray them how they really are.
1. The United States Secret Service is filled with mystery and myths. One thing’s for sure, they do not stick out like a sore thumb. If you are walking down the street, you would hardly recognize any of them, unlike in the movies. Regardless, there are a ton of facts about these secret agents that a lot of us are curious about. I’m not talking about the obvious facts, like the fact that it was created by the 16th United States President in 1865. No, I’m talking about some of the more juicy information. Here are 25 incredible little-known facts about the secret service. Hopefully it’ll lift a bit of the veil of secrecy and you’ll learn more about this mysterious organization. First off, there’s a lot more of them than we think. A lot of us probably think there’s about 100 or even less of these elite soldiers. But in reality there’s actually around 6,500 of them. There are also more who work for the personal protection unit.
2. The Secret Service doesn’t just guard presidents as many of us thought. They also protect their family, former presidents, and the families of former presidents. The Secret Service also has the job of guarding the president’s guests and anyone that the president wants to be protected. Talk about having a ton of responsibility and pressure!
3. There are three service phases that the agents must go through. They are not involved in the fieldwork at first. It’s a pretty long process. First, they have to work at the office for about 3 years if they want to participate in challenging tasks. This phase lasts for about 4-7 years. In the final phase, the agent is promoted either to a higher position or goes back to office work.
4. The job is pretty dangerous and is no joke. At all. Before any important event, the Secret Service practices any and all possible scenarios of murder attempts and shootouts. They have to be prepared for literally anything! In training, they use bullets that are specifically made for these training sessions. The agents also go through skill development courses every eight weeks.
5. If anything goes wrong, every agent has basic medical skills and is ready to keep calm in any serious and critical situation. Whether it’s to save someone’s life before an ambulance arrives or before they arrive at the hospital. The route is thoroughly researched as well so that a hospital is never too far away.
6. The agents are so prepped with their medical skills, that they always have “presidential blood” with them. They are always ready to use their medical skills and perform a blood transfusion if needed. They constantly carry extra blood for the president so as not to take chances with the donors. It’s mind blowing how prepared these agents are for literally ANYTHING.
7. For those of you who thought Mount Weather was a myth: it’s not! There is an underground bunker in the mountain that’s used to hide government representatives during an event where all other state officials gather. That way, if terrorists want to attack the top tier of the government, they’ll fail.
8. Just like in the movies, the Secret Service has code names for presidents. This isn’t something that Hollywood made up just to make their movies cooler. They usually use names that start with the same letter for one family. So for Barack Obama it was Renegade and his wife was Renaissance and their daughters were Radiance and Rosebud. Pretty cool!
9. There are motion sensors on the Oval Office’s floor. The reason for that? To trace any movement and any potential threat to the President if he chooses to be left alone in his Oval Office. Generally, the one rule of the Secret Service is to never leave the president alone. But when he does want to be alone, they can still trace him.
10. Due to the fact that presidents can’t stay alone, the agents must participate in everything in his life. That means picking up their hobbies. So if Mr. President wants to go for a morning run, they have to be up for it. If the president wants to take up hiking…well they also don’t have much of a choice and have to take up hiking. If the president wants to randomly learn to skateboard…well, you guessed it, they have to wear knee pads!
11. The president can’t even go alone to the doctor…regardless what problem they have. So if it’s the most embarrassing problem, too bad! They’re going to have the secret service right there with them. I mean it’s pretty nice to have someone there with you all day every day…or it could be pretty annoying.
12. You know those movies where the agents try to track down a threatening letter and they are working with a big group of people to find that one person who’s causing all the problems? Well, that’s not all fantasy. The Secret Service 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 a investigation easier.
13. They are constantly monitoring and recording everything. They also always have as many cameras as possible on them. It helps them when it comes to resolving a situation and finding a perpetrator. For example, after Kennedy’s murder, it was decided to have a car that was responsible for video recording a presidential cortege.
14. Hollywood always seems to take it up a notch and makes it seem like everyone who is in the secret service has to swear to die for their president. But in reality, that’s not the case at all. In fact, there’s nothing even close to an oath like that. Even though they dedicate their entire life to him, it’s definitely not a requirement to die for them.
15. In fact, there was only one known agent who sacrificed his life for the president and it was done voluntarily. There was only one case in history when a Secret Service officer died. His name was Leslie Coffelt and he was murdered on November 1, 1950, while he was defending Harry Truman.
16.Where their headquarters are located is a secret. All that is known is that it is located somewhere in Washington in a building without any identification signs. There aren’t even any trash cans close by making it difficult to install a bomb. It’s been known that the building is located on a street with an extremely short name…H street.
17. The Secret Service was established on the day Lincoln was killed. It was suggested by the Secretary of the Treasury, Hugh McCulloch. He presented his idea to Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Later that night, the president went to a theater where he was shot in the head. Very, very tragic.
18. But even if the Secret Service was created that morning of Lincoln’s death, it wouldn’t have saved his life. You see, the service was originally created to cope with counterfeiters and financial frauds. In fact, until this day the organization still deals with such issues in addition to all the other stuff, including protecting the president and his family and friends.
19. In movies, you always see the agents wearing sunglasses and black costumes, topped with a poker face. But that’s not exactly how it is in reality. You see, real agents never use sunglasses during their mission because they might miss something important because of a glare or perhaps a lack of light. Better to be safe than sorry and just leave the sunglasses.
20. But they aren’t perfect, as none of us are, and they tend to make mistakes as well. The only problem is, their mistakes could cost someone’s life. But they do happen. Especially today when it’s so difficult to hide anything. When they do slip up, they are prepared to take every step to fix the mistake that they have made. That’s reassuring.
21. One thing’s for sure, the agent’s hands are always ready. If you look at various photos of agents with the president, you’ll notice that their hands are always at their waist. Even though the position of their fingers might differ, the position of their hands always means the same thing. It means that the agents are ready to react quickly and are prepared to raise their weapons.
22. Believe it or not, the United States Secret Service actually gave birth to the FBI. In 1908, the attorney general hired nine Secret Service agents and commissioned them as “special agents of the Justice Department”. Eventually, these special agents would be seen as the heart of the Bureau of Investigation and later would be called the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
23. So with having the amount of responsibility that the Secret Service does, 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 have never had a spy in their midst. There has been no member of protective detail betraying his or her country.
24. Generally, agents dress for the occasion. They aren’t always in a button-down, and completely formal. Sometimes it’s a suit or a tuxedo, but most of the time it’s jeans and a jacket. Even the earpiece can be changed up from coiled-wire variety (like you see in movies) or ones that look like iPod earbuds. The sunglasses I already touched on on the previous page!