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  • - So I think the best way to sum up

  • being a Secret Service agent,

  • it's prolonged periods of boredom

  • only broken up by moments of sheer terror.

  • [light music]

  • Hello, my name is Jonathan Wackrow,

  • and I'm a former United States Secret Service agent.

  • I spent 14 years in the agency, and 4 1/2 years

  • assigned to the presidential protection division

  • during the Obama administration.

  • Today we will be reviewing scenes

  • featuring the president's Secret Service detail

  • in TV and film.

  • This is "Air Force One" directed by Wolfgang Peterson.

  • Seeing Air Force one in person for the very first time

  • is very majestic.

  • Literally takes your breath away.

  • The entire construct around the plane

  • has a different sense of importance

  • than your regular aircraft.

  • They actually represent it and capture the moment very well.

  • The reason why the plane has such distinctive markings

  • and is so obvious is because of the mission that it serves.

  • The Secret Service understands security concerns

  • that go along with it

  • and it's built into the overarching security plan.

  • - Gentlemen, welcome to Air Force One.

  • Please present your equipment for inspection.

  • - We were just inspected at the gate.

  • Sir, this plane carries the president of the United States.

  • - I understand.

  • I'm terribly sorry.

  • - Please place your thumb on the ID pad.

  • - Looking at the boarding procedures,

  • what they got right is the organized structure.

  • There are a lot of moving parts around Air Force One

  • just prior to departure, but it's not chaotic.

  • It's very organized.

  • What is off on this is actually who does it.

  • The Secret Service does not protect the plane itself.

  • That's a responsibility that falls upon the Air Force.

  • The Secret Service is responsible

  • for the overall security of the airport site.

  • As we saw on the clip, one of the passengers put their thumb

  • on an ID pad to gain access.

  • This was actually cutting edge at that time.

  • Since then technology has evolved

  • and has expanded the level of access control

  • to further protect that plane.

  • - Hello there, I'm Melanie Mitchell, deputy press secretary.

  • I'll be taking you in from here.

  • - Miss Mitchell,

  • it is so nice to finally meet you in person.

  • - The president and I were delighted

  • we could accommodate your news crew.

  • - So in my experience, I never wanna say never,

  • but I think it's highly unlikely

  • that you would see a foreign news crew,

  • absent of a foreign head of state on the aircraft

  • at the same time that the president is on board.

  • - If you'd like, I think we have time for a quick tour.

  • - [Jonathan] The press do reside

  • in the back of the aircraft,

  • and there is a separate cabin for Secret Service,

  • and the security detail.

  • - Secret service right here.

  • Never try to go past them without an escort

  • or you'll be very sorry.

  • - Hello.

  • - Hi.

  • - Moving forward in the aircraft, you get into staff,

  • senior staff, and then the president's cabin.

  • - He could run the whole country from here,

  • or even a war if we had to.

  • - What is a little anomalous here is the fact that,

  • so close to the president's arrival,

  • White House staff would be showing foreign press around.

  • - Yes.

  • - The president's arriving.

  • They should all take their seats, right away.

  • - I'll get out of here and let you all get some sleep.

  • - The president is essentially going to be

  • one of the last people on the plane,

  • and when he gets on, that door shuts, and that plane moves.

  • [crowd chattering]

  • - Mr. President, welcome aboard, sir.

  • - I was stunned at how fast the plane took off

  • during my first trip.

  • I was actually still standing

  • and we were rolling down the runway.

  • You don't want that aircraft to become a target

  • on the ground.

  • So the point is, once the president is on board

  • that aircraft it is moving immediately.

  • - Mr. President.

  • - Mr. President.

  • - Change in plan, Danny.

  • Let's go to Barbados.

  • - Anything you want.

  • You're the president.

  • - My very first time aboard Air Force One,

  • the moment that I got on board,

  • you just knew that it was a different aircraft.

  • The flight crew was different.

  • You knew that this wasn't just a flight crew from Delta.

  • These were trained professionals that were there

  • to serve the president of the United States.

  • And the food was fantastic.

  • Skipping ahead in the movie, we see an agent

  • assigned to the president's detail

  • actually revealing himself as a rogue agent.

  • The look of the Secret Service agent portrayed in the film

  • is spot-on.

  • You always have your jacket on, tie on.

  • You never know when you may confront either senior staff

  • or the president,

  • so you want to have a professional appearance at all times.

  • The only change that you may actually have

  • is a change in jacket.

  • Sort of the rule of thumb though, is if the president

  • is not wearing a jacket, you are not gonna wear a jacket.

  • We wanna blend into the environment as much as possible.

  • So it's easier just to mimic what the president is doing

  • at that moment.

  • [suspenseful music]

  • We also see the rogue agent accessing a cache of weapons

  • behind a security wall.

  • What I can say is that this type of weapon system,

  • or armament onboard the aircraft, would be safeguarded

  • by an agent at all times.

  • Beyond that, there's really not much more

  • that I would wanna talk about.

  • I only will talk about things that are already out there

  • in the public domain.

  • This is "Dave" directed by Ivan Reitman.

  • In this scene, we see Dave, the president's decoy,

  • talking to a member of the president's detail.

  • - How long has that been going on?

  • - I can't say.

  • - You mean you don't know, or you can't say?

  • - I can't say.

  • - At the White House, the president has access

  • to his own private kitchen within the residence,

  • as we see here, but then also the presidential food service.

  • Quick answer is the president can get anything he wants

  • at any time.

  • The Secret Service tends to try to give as much privacy

  • as possible to the president while he's in the residence.

  • So while we know where he is at all times,

  • it may not be representative like this scene here

  • where an agent is standing next to the president

  • while they're making their meal.

  • - So your job is to protect the president all the time.

  • That's that's your whole job, right?

  • - Yes.

  • - The president's day is bifurcated

  • into official duties and private time.

  • So while the president may be in a relaxed demeanor,

  • you still have to remain on point

  • and focused on your job at hand.

  • And that's why in this scene,

  • we see the Secret Service agent maintaining his decorum

  • throughout the entire scene.

  • He's staying professional and focused

  • on what he needs to do.

  • If the president was to ever sit down and offer you food,

  • most agents that I know would respectfully decline.

  • - You have a gun?

  • - Yes.

  • - Ever use it?

  • - Not yet.

  • - A very common question to get.

  • I thought the agent's response was a little bit cute

  • which he said, "Not yet" indicating that Dave was

  • starting to encroach on some some questions

  • that that agent didn't wanna answer.