TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting the President’

TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting  the President’ 

Ceaseless vigilance and attention to detail are vital qualities, a National Geographic miniseries finds




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.

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About vincepalamara

Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology. Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy. Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination. All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works. Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library. Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.
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1 Response to TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting the President’

  1. nominay says:

    Speaking of SS details Vince, I want to ask you about this video – not the LBJ interview (which is interesting enough) – but when its concludes … the newsman, starting at 3:50 to 5:30 .. what is he reading this from? Where did he get this crap? Especially at the beginning .. I mean, was ANY of that true? And at the end, how could it already be known and reported on what would essentially become the Warren Commission’s version of events? We hear these days about the media being a megaphone for the govt and campaigns, but it seems like they were that way then too.

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