TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting the President’
Ceaseless vigilance and attention to detail are vital qualities, a National Geographic miniseries finds
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 8, 2012, 6:00 AM
Former Secret Service agent Danny Spriggs, at the site of an attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981, for ‘Secret Service Files’
- Title: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting the President’
- Network / Air Date: Monday at 8 p.m., National Gegraphic
Vladimir Arutyunian is now serving a life sentence in the nation of Georgia for throwing a grenade at President Bush and Georgian officials.
The near-impossibility of maintaining a constant shield around the President of the United States becomes chillingly clear in a late scene from this instructive documentary on the work of the Secret Service.
President George W. Bush was speaking in the republic of Georgia in 2005 when a man snaked through the crowd and tossed a grenade toward the podium.
It landed 50 feet from Bush, who was behind a bulletproof glass shield that might or might not have stopped the shrapnel.
Fortunately, the perp had wrapped the grenade in a bandana to conceal it as he moved through the crowd, and that bandana slowed the firing pin enough so it did not explode.
A first, no one knew what the bouncing object was. Then a Georgian policeman picked it up, saw it was a live grenade and walked it out of harm’s way.
Not something all of us would be inclined to do.
The thrower was arrested, by the way, and is serving life. He says he doesn’t know why he did it.
But that kind of silent loner psycho poses just as big a threat as an affiliated terrorist or ideologue, and is a lot harder to track.
“Secret Service Files,” which continues all week with a series of “Secret Access” specials, doesn’t tell us anything new about how the Service protects the POTUS. It’s just constant, grinding, vigilant legwork and smart instincts.
When they do the job right, no one notices. One screwup and they’re on the front page. So it was a good day for all in 2005 when a grenade was a footnote, not a future chapter in a history book.