News / USA

Agents Say JFK Assassination Transformed Secret Service

Agents Say JFK Assassination Transformed Secret Servicei
X
November 19, 2013 9:19 PM
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 stunned the world. President Kennedy’s death put the Secret Service on the defensive. It's the organization that protects the president and his family. In conversations with several former Secret Service agents, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh discovered the assassination, and later attempts on Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, led to changes in how the President and first family are safeguarded.
Kane Farabaugh
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, stunned the world.  President Kennedy’s death put the Secret Service on the defensive. It's the organization that protects the president and his family. In conversations with several former Secret Service agents, The assassination, and later attempts on Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, led to changes in how the President and first family are safeguarded.

On November 22, 1963, when shots rang out in Dallas, Secret Service Agent Clint Hill was in the best position to react.  His analysis of that day is simple.

“There’s no question that we failed in providing protection to President Kennedy," said Hill.

Agent Gerald Blaine, also in Texas that day, but not in Dallas.  He says a lack of manpower was partly responsible.
 
 “In 1963 we had 330 agents, and we had about 34 agents on the White House detail," said Blaine.

The agents were visible.  Some ran alongside or stood on cars in the presidential motorcade.  But Blaine says they couldn't communicate with each other.

 “We didn’t have radios.  We operated through hand signals.  We had photographs of subjects that we had concerns about, and we would memorize those subjects. We had to rely on each other to work together as a team," he said.

Author Lisa McCubbin collaborated with Blaine on the book The Kennedy Detail.  She says weaknesses exposed by the Kennedy assassination forced a change in how the Secret Service was funded.

“So it made them realize even more how important their mission was, and they were able then to convince Congress to get more money.  They had been asking for more money for years and years to get more people.  They knew they couldn’t protect the president with what they had," said McCubbin.

Clint Hill stayed with the Secret Service after the assassination.  He rose to Assistant Director and witnessed changes in the agency - no more travel in open automobiles, and more agents, more money, and better communication.

But several months after Hill retired from the Secret Service in 1975, despite the increased protection, not once but twice assailants tried to kill President Gerald Ford during separate visits to California.

And in 1981, another disaster narrowly averted.

President Ronald Reagan, emerging from a Washington hotel, was shot by John Hinckley Jr.  

Reagan was rushed to a nearby hospital for life-saving surgery.

Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy was shot in the abdomen. Press Secretary James Brady was struck in the head and seriously disabled.  But no one died in the attack, and McCarthy says the incident led to even more changes.

 “After that, metal detectors were used to screen anyone who gets near the president. And the legacy is, since that time, there has not been an attack on any of our presidents by the historic assassin which is the lone gunman," said  McCarthy.

Though technology has improved protection of the President considerably since the Kennedy assassination 50 years ago, recent threats against current President Barack Obama are a constant reminder of the important  mission played by those charged with protecting the chief executive of the United States.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Al Eng
November 19, 2013 7:33 PM
Yeah just pave over history. Makes sense.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid