Secrets of the Secret Service   View more episodes

Aired at 10:00 PM on Sunday, Dec 20, 2009 (12/20/2009)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01Cabin door thanks to 8-inch-thick armor plating.
00:00:04Remington shotguns are close at hand.
00:00:06The body is made from steel, aluminum, titanium, and a ceramic.
00:00:11Accessories include bumper-mounted night-vision camera and tear-gas cannons.
00:00:17Run-flat tires keep rolling, even when fully punctured.
00:00:26Called transparent armor, the bulletproof windows are one of the most amazing aspects of the presidential limousine.
00:00:29Of course, the secret service refuses to say anything about them.
00:00:33But in ogden, utah international armoring corporation harnesses the same technology used in the beast to custom-armor cars like this luxury s.u.v.
00:00:43For billionaires, hollywood stars, and heads of state.
00:00:49To demonstrate how the ballistic glass works, owner mark burton shoots the same transparent armor that is in the s.u.v.
00:01:00At 20 feet five times with a magnum.
00:01:02And this glass is less then half as thick as that in the presidential limousine.
00:01:10The windows begin with layers of heavy glass that absorb the bullet's impact but generate deadly, sharp fragments.
00:01:21The final layers are a plastic.
00:01:22Like catcher's mitt engulfing a baseball, these elastic sheets stop the bullet completely and any shards of glass.
00:01:40Burton: Some of the rounds that are actually imbedded into the ballistic glass itself, but as you can see from the back, the polycarbonace has stopped not only the rounds, but also the fragments of glass.
00:01:46Narrator: But would the glass have protected john f. kennedy?
00:01:49Burton fires a high-powered rifle from 30 feet -- much closer than the assassin was to the president.
00:01:59Burton: As you can see, the energy has been dispersed, but yet, on the back side, it is very, very smooth.
00:02:06No penetration.
00:02:08Narrator: As threats of kidnapping and assassination of prominent or wealthy citizens increase, there has been an international boom in protected vehicles.
00:02:17First, they are stripped down to their basics, all the wires exposed.
00:02:24Steel armor is added, then lighter armorax, 10 times the strength of ballistic steel pound for pound.
00:02:35Nylon explosive-resistant cloth is put along the floor to baffle the impact of explosions from below.
00:02:40Metal overlaps seal off the door openings.
00:02:43What we want to do is make sure there's no angle shots that get in around your doors.
00:02:48>> Narrator: clients have reportedly survived over 250 attacks.
00:02:54>> It takes between three and five seconds for a trained individual to react.
00:03:01It takes the average individual about 10 seconds.
00:03:03And so what these vehicles are designed to do is to provide a safe zone while their mind is configuring, while their mind is figuring out that, "i'm being attacked.
00:03:11" >> Narrator: So, if you happen to be pursued by bad guys, also has james bond devices to protect you, like these lethal tacks, which are designed to stop a vehicle on your tail -- an $850 add-on.
00:03:32The beast probably doesn't carry tacks to drop out the back.
00:03:35It doesn't need them.
00:03:36The president is surrounded by armed protection.
00:03:42>> Fleischer: To be in the motorcade is just a sense of wonderment, and it's a rush.
00:03:45Right in front of me is this car with the back up and some ninja-warrior-looking people with very big guns.
00:03:53>> Narrator: The presidential limousine is part of a motorcade of 25 to 30 vehicles.
00:03:57One is a mobile communications m center, linking the agents on secure lines.
00:04:04>> Fleischer: The rest of the motorcade is two armored limousines, each an identical copy of the other.
00:04:09One's a decoy, just in case, god forbid, somebody fires.
00:04:14It's a 50/50 chance that they know which one to fire at.
00:04:16And then you've got all kinds of motorcycles, police cars, secret service cars, armored cars, press vehicles, communications vehicles.
00:04:23They move a city, and they move it rather rapidly.
00:04:25[ Crowd cheering ] >> Narrator: The president is secure as long as he remains within the belly of the beast, but as soon as he steps out to mingle with the public, the secret service goes into overdrive.
00:04:39The presidential limousine has been transformed into an impenetrable cocoon, but outside the armor-plated car, dangers are everywhere and unpredictable.
00:04:53The agency began protecting the president full time after president McKinley, who did not have secret service protection, was assassinated in 1901.
00:05:03But politicians will always insist on having contact with their constituents, and the secret service has to adjust.
00:05:12In the final analysis, it may come down to that agent standing next to the president who has to react to him.
00:05:16It's what kept us up at night, worrying about, "how will i react?
00:05:18" >> Narrator: Being in the secret service is about being paranoid, about making just one mistake that can lose the president.
00:05:29But underneath the sunglasses are human beings.
00:05:35>> Petro: I think the pressures on agents are multidimensional.
00:05:39I thought about it all the time.
00:05:40I mean, 24 hours a day, you're sort of thinking about it, worrying.
00:05:45>> Narrator: Decisions are made in an instant.
00:05:49I was a young agent.
00:05:50We were leaving an event, heading to newark airport.
00:05:52We were going through a small town, a little motorcade.
00:05:55I looked up ahead and noticed standing a block or so ahead of us was a person holding a weapon in a combat position, pointing it towards the street.
00:06:05I began to react.
00:06:07I raised the weapon.
00:06:07This was gonna be deadly force.
00:06:09This was an uzi submachine gun, 9-millimeter submachine gun.
00:06:14I was a very good shot, and i noticed in just a flash second that it was a red gun, and something triggers in my own mind that this wasn't natural.
00:06:21I hesitated.
00:06:22I didn't pull the trigger.
00:06:25As we got close, I could see that it was a water pistol.
00:06:27This turned out to be a 15-year-old boy who did it on a dare.
00:06:29Almost lost his life in the process.
00:06:32>> Narrator: The protection of the president is only as good as the highly trained agents who stay close.
00:06:39I've always felt, when I was responsible for the president, that I wanted to be at least an arm's length of him in public.
00:06:46>> Narrator: In beltsville, maryland, the secret service strategies are drilled into the presidential detail at a high-security training complex, running scenarios of an attack on the ..
00:06:56[ Gunshots ] ...preparing for that one split second of crisis and danger that could occur at any time.
00:07:08And the secret service techniques are now used throughout the high-level protection industry.
00:07:12[ Gunshots ] >> gun, 2:00!
00:07:16[ Gunshots ] go!
00:07:23The basic strategy has always been, in the secret service, what we call "cover and " cover him, get him in the car as quickly as possible, and get him out of there.
00:07:33Narrator: But how do these techniques work in real life?
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00:10:31Narrator: Secret service strategies are flawless in training, and they have been tested to the limit in real assassination attempts.
00:10:38[ Tires squeal ] march 30, 1981.
00:10:42John hinckley was a 25-year-old with romantic delusions, convinced that actress jodie foster would be impressed if he killed the president.
00:10:52Outside the hilton hotel in , hinckley caught up with his target.
00:10:59>> I don't think there was a better demonstration of how that training worked than the assassination attempt against president reagan.
00:11:06Jerry parr and ray shaddick -- as soon as the first shot was off, they grabbed the president and they throw him into the car.
00:11:17Narrator: Agent tim mccarthy shielded reagan with his body, taking a bullet in the process.
00:11:22Within moments, the limo sped away from a scene of chaos.
00:11:25Hinckley was buried under a mountain of secret service agents.
00:11:29agent McCarthy, press secretary policeman thomas delahanty lay on the sidewalk, severely injured.
00:11:38All three survived, but brady had permanent brain damage.
00:11:45>> The old saying that, you know, a secret service agent will take a bullet for the president -- if you look at the reagan ASSASSINATION, tim McCarthy did do that, but he was trained to do that, as well, and -- and his heroic actions demonstrate that.
00:11:57>> Narrator: Although the agents around the president reacted heroically, many mistakes had been made.
00:12:03The secret service relies on a perimeter system of protection.
00:12:07The outer is a preliminary check by local police.
00:12:11The middle has secret service agents searching for weapons.
00:12:15Petro: And then there's the inner perimeter, and that's the final defense.
00:12:17It's the agents around the president.
00:12:23Narrator: Hinckley had penetrated two of the perimeters and fired at least five shots at point-blank range.
00:12:29The secret service had been trying for years to get metal detectors to screen for weapons.
00:12:33They got authorization days later.
00:12:37The perimeters were tightened and the idea of an open arrival and departure ended after the attempt against president reagan.
00:12:46>> Petro: We used to take the president always in through the loading docks of hotels, never through the lobby.
00:12:53And we could clear the whole loading dock, and I remember reagan getting out of the car one day at a hotel and turned and said, "you know, if I ever got out of the car "and didn't smell garbage, I was thinking i was at the wrong place," you know?
00:13:03I mean, he made a joke out of it.
00:13:05Narrator: Agents studied film of incidents around the world, like the assassination of egyptian president anwar sadat in 1981.
00:13:12And there were other changes.
00:13:15Countersnipers are now placed on rooftops around the outer perimeter, and the president's route is more carefully advanced.
00:13:23Although they may be vigilant, agents keep the space around the president calm.
00:13:28One method is to keep their weapons hidden.
00:13:33In fact, we've only seen them draw their guns in public a few times.
00:13:37Once was during the assassination attempt on president ronald reagan.
00:13:42An agent pulled an uzi submachine gun out of a briefcase.
00:13:48Uzis have a tendency to spray their shots, and, if used, could endanger bystanders.
00:13:54[ Gunfire ] the secret service has since switched to the very accurate fn p90 submachine gun.
00:14:01One of the advantages of the p90, as you can see, is it's another advantage.
00:14:08IT FIRES VERY LIGHT 5.7x28 Millimeter ammunition especially developed to pierce body armor.
00:14:16In 1997, a bank robbery in los angeles saw body-armored gunmen subduing the police and roaming the streets at will.
00:14:29>> So, that type of a scenario is a nightmare for the secret service.
00:14:32>> Narrator: It took over 200 police to subdue the two robbers.
00:14:36The secret service realized they had to be able to strike back.
00:14:40The p90 is the scientific solution to body armor -- another escalation in the arms race between the secret service and potential assassins.
00:14:51But most of the agents around the president are carrying the workhorse of the secret service -- the sig sauer p229 automatic pistol.
00:15:01Made in new hampshire, the p229 comes from the marriage of swiss and german arms makers.
00:15:08The science is in the tolerances, which can be as fine as 1/10,000 of an inch.
00:15:15And before each p229 leaves the factory, the weapon is test-fired repeatedly.
00:15:20It must be perfectly reliable.
00:15:24>> Cohen: The gun business is a very conservative business.
00:15:26Our customers, such as the secret service, would not want to touch a system that hasn't been proven for many years.
00:15:31>> Narrator: But at close range, deadly force is not the only option available.
00:15:37New technology provides a nonlethal alternative.
00:15:42It is made by a small independent company in hartford, connecticut, conceived and founded by titus casazza.
00:15:50The laser dazzler can temporarily block an assailant's vision and has been used in iraq to stop suspicious vehicles without having to fire on them.
00:15:59Lasers are one color only.
00:16:00The light is so focused, it can be used in eye surgery and so powerful, it can cut steel.
00:16:08Used carefully by trained agents, laser dazzlers could shield a president behind a green wall with minimum risk to the potential threat or innocent bystanders.
00:16:19But while the laser dazzler can neutralize a sniper up to even a few hundred yards, the president is still vulnerable at great distance, never more than when he is in the air and the danger is attack by a weapon we created -- the stinger missile.
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00:19:36Xx Narrator: It is the iconic image of the president -- striding across the white house lawn to jump into marine one.
00:20:08The black hawk helicopters in use now were introduced in 1979.
00:20:12They're a bargain at about $15 million each.
00:20:19>> To me, the most interesting thing about marine one is it's a helicopter, and you can talk in a whisper on the helicopter and still be heard.
00:20:25>> Narrator: The problem with a helicopter is that it can be shot down relatively easily and the black hawk, workhorse of american ground forces, has been numerous times.
00:20:41>> This proliferation of heat-seeking, antiaircraft weapon, shoulder-fired missiles is probably the most dangerous development for the secret service.
00:20:48>> Narrator: Ironically, the threat comes originally from the united states.
00:20:54>> Sheehan: Back in the '80s, we had provided stinger missiles to the afghan resistance to the soviet union.
00:20:59It was always a great concern that some of those missiles would fall into the wrong hands, and they might be being used against a president or other target.
00:21:05>> Narrator: There are 30,000 parts in a black hawk helicopter, and over 200 are what is called flight-critical.
00:21:13It takes just one failure to bring the copter down, or just one projectile.
00:21:20To protect against this possibility, marine one always flies in groups of up to five identical helicopters.
00:21:26>> Petro: So, do the three cups -- you know, the guy that moves the three cups around.
00:21:33I mean, it's the same concept, is that you want to try to disguise whatever helicopter he may be in, and that's been an effective way to do that.
00:21:41>> Narrator: While marine one can be part of what is called the presidential shell game, there is no way to disguise air force one.
00:21:47This boeing 747 is 6 stories tall, with the capability of staying aloft indefinitely with air-to-air refueling.
00:21:57The 4,000 square feet of floor space include a suite for the president, infirmary with and an area for the press, but the exact layout is a closely guarded secret.
00:22:12Air force one is powered by four cf6 adc2 jet engines, each rated at 56,750 pounds of thrust.
00:22:20The plane cruises at 610 miles per hour.
00:22:24Extensive testing makes sure the jets perform efficiently in the worst weather conditions.
00:22:31Still, the same stinger shoulder-mounted missiles that the taliban use to shoot down helicopters in afghanistan can bring down air force one.
00:22:42>> Sheehan: About five years ago, an al-qaeda operation shot a heat-seeking missile at an aircraft in mombasa, kenya, and, fortunately, missed, so that is one of those scenarios that's still out there, that's been attempted recently, and is a nightmare for the secret service.
00:22:56>> Narrator: On september 11, 2001, the secret service thought it might be facing that very possibility.
00:23:05America was under attack, and air force one had become the white house.
00:23:09And so air force one flew up to 45,000 feet and went into something that I think was practiced during the cold war -- part of the cold war planning -- which was just flying randomly in the sky.
00:23:23>> Narrator: bush wanted to return to washington immediately, but now the secret service was in charge.
00:23:34>> Fleischer: It's not a movie, and if something, god forbid, ever happened to the president, can you imagine how much deeper the crisis gets?
00:23:40So that's why you yield to the secret service.
00:23:42Narrator: With the fortress of the pentagon still smoldering, the capital was not yet considered safe.
00:23:44For the first time over american soil, air force one had a fighter escort.
00:23:53Finally, after nine hours and two stops at secure air force bases, president bush returned to washington and talked to the nation from the oval office.
00:24:04>> Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of america.
00:24:12>> Narrator: But a crucial lesson had been learned.
00:24:15Air force one has to be ready to be the center of american government in an emergency.
00:24:19While he was airborne on 9/11, president bush had been unable to broadcast from the plane.
00:24:24Now a new communications system makes air force one as technologically up-to-date as the white house.
00:24:32What 9/11 showed, in stunningly clear relief, was that the secret service faces a new kind of threat.
00:24:39>> The audacity of that attack has changed everything and upped the ante for counterterrorism and security officials around the world.
00:24:46>> Narrator: Sce 9/11, the secret service sees poteial threats everywhere, even in the place that should be the president's safest haven, his own home -- the white house.
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00:29:21>> Narrator: The white house has 132 rooms and sits on 18 acres, and the ways to protect it are highly classified.
00:29:29Just below the oval office in the west wing is the secret service white house headquarters.
00:29:40It is the center of the bubble that surrounds the president's family.
00:29:42The walls are protected by radiation detectors.
00:29:45Each lock demands a key and a special trick to open.
00:29:47Panic buttons, disguised as statues or hidden in drawers, are in many rooms.
00:29:53Underground motion sensors are scattered throughout the white house lawn.
00:29:59Countersnipers wch silently, prepared to bring down any would-be assassins.
00:30:06>> Sheehan: The white house has a great deal " it's difficult for any vehicle to get close to the white house.
00:30:13The white house has great control over the immediate vicinity of the 18 acres that are around the white house, which gives it a great deal of security.
00:30:25>> Narrator: The first attempt on a president at home was directed at president harry truman by two puerto rican nationalists in 1950.
00:30:31Truman was staying across the street in blair house while the white house underwent renovation.
00:30:38After a fierce shootout, one assassin, griselio torresola, lay dead on the sidewalk, killed by a secret service officer, ..
00:30:49...Who himself died in surgery 3 1/2 hours later -- the only member of the agency slain during an attack on the president.
00:30:58There was blood on the sidewalk in front of blair house, but the white house itself seemed invulnerable.
00:31:06Still, people try to pierce the bubble.
00:31:08In 1994, a mentally unstable veteran, francisco duran, fired shots from a semiautomatic rifle at a man in a suit that he thought was president bill clinton.
00:31:22In fact, clinton was inside, watching a football game.
00:31:24You had a little competition here.
00:31:26The president wanted to watch what was happening, and the agent wanted to get him away from the window.
00:31:32>> Narrator: Duran was able to get off 29 shots before bystanders, not the secret service, subdued him.
00:31:38Now advanced science could speed up agents' reaction time.
00:31:41Boomerang sniper detection is based on seven strategically placed microphones.
00:31:47Whether it is in use at the white house is classified, but it would make sense.
00:31:53Boomerang is supposed to be able to detect a sniper shot and, in under a second, tell the exact location of the shooter, even from a moving vehicle.
00:32:04Testing the unit on a firing range in massachusetts demonstrates how well it works.
00:32:10>> Shot, 2:00.
00:32:11Shot, 2:00.
00:32:15Shot, 2:00.
00:32:19110 Meters.
00:32:24Dave schmitt is the project manager who helped pushed through the final development of boomerang in less than 3 months for delivery to the front lines of iraq.
00:32:31He follows the sniper detector's instructions.
00:32:37Exactly where boomerang predicted.
00:32:41The real genius of boomerang comes not from the microphones, but from the software that analyzes what they hear.
00:32:49It depends on the subtle difference between two sounds -- the muzzle blast, which surrounds the shooter, and the shock wave left behind by the supersonic bullet.
00:33:01>> The muzzle blast is familiar to most people.
00:33:03It sounds like a bang.
00:33:05The shock wave, on the other hand, sounds like a crack.
00:33:09Narrator: As the sniper bullet blasts through space faster than the speed of sound, it creates a shock wave shaped like an ever-expanding ice-cream cone.
00:33:18Boomerang hears the crack of the shock wave.
00:33:22The microphones also record the bang of the muzzle blast, which moves in an ever-expanding sphere.
00:33:27The software analyzes the tiny variation between the arrival times of the two sounds to find the shooter in less than a second.
00:33:38At the same time, boomerang can distinguish between a similar sound like a car backfire or firecracker and a gunshot.
00:33:45This is crucial in a noisy urban battlefield like iraq or traffic-clogged washington, d.c.
00:33:53But boomerang would not protect the president from the most serious threat -- the air.
00:34:00This was made abundantly clear when frank eugene corder crashed a single-engine cessna into the white house in an attempt to kill president clinton.
00:34:09The first family was not home at the time.
00:34:13An unemployed truck driver whose wife had just left him, corder was the only casualty.
00:34:19But the incident provoked widespread criticism of the secret service.
00:34:23Why didn't they shoot the cessna down?
00:34:26>> Funk: The plane, if you did neutralize it, it still has to go somewhere it's not gonna vaporize, so you still have all the fuselage, the engine, the wings, going somewhere.
00:34:41>> Narrator: The white house was empty at the time, and it is very close to the mall, which is usually packed with tourists.
00:34:46Funk: You could have all these things coming down to earth without any warning to those citizens.
00:34:52They're not gonna be able to get out of the way of it, so you're gonna have a 300-pound engine going at 200 to 300 miles an hour -- could do tremendous damage.
00:34:58Narrator: 7 Years later, in 2001, the secret service was facing a much bigger threat than a cessna -- a boeing 757.
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00:37:06See, my mom washed them with this tide stain release in-wash booster stuff.
00:37:09She's all, "you use it with your detergent to help get stains out " are you kidding me?
00:37:15So now the stains are magically gone.
00:37:16And my sister passes on her jeans to me.
00:37:20What a life.
00:37:21[ Female Announcer ] Tide stain release.
00:37:22Stains out. no doubt.
00:39:03>> Narrator: As agent joseph funk was arriving on september 11, 2001, the white house was just being cleared.
00:39:09Come on, sir.
00:39:09Please, go faster.
00:39:10Narrator: It wasn't an orderly evacuation.
00:39:12No one knew how many planes were still in the sky.
00:39:18>> We were armed with some automatic weapons, shotguns, our side arms, but how would you stop a plane?
00:39:25>> Narrator: Now the defenses certainly mounted around the white house.
00:39:32>> Sheehan: After 9/11, with the hijack, large jets full of fuel -- the threat of that coming to the white house is one that's very difficult to defend against, and, quite frankly, the primary defense against that type of threat goes back to the airport.
00:39:48>> Narrator: Airport security is now directly linked to protecting the president, and the newest screening uses 3-dimensional technology, based on medical cat scans, to detect explosives and weapons in baggage.
00:40:03>> So we're gonna take a lump of a plastic explosive.
00:40:12I'm gonna put it inside this radio.
00:40:14Packing it as it would be in a regular bag.
00:40:20>> Narrator: A gantry spinning at 120 revolutions per minute uses multiple x-rays to record thousands of images of a suitcase from every angle.
00:40:29A computer program processes the data instantly to determine the density of every item.
00:40:35As unique as a fingerprint, the density instantly tells the machine whether an object is harmless toothpaste or a deadly bomb.
00:40:42But after all the dollars spent on advanced technology, the greatest danger is the simplest ..
00:40:45...The lone gunman.
00:40:54The specter of assassination has been etched in the american psyche since the death of abraham lincoln in public at ford's theater.
00:41:04Even in a fast-changing world a century and a half later, some of the dangers are familiar.
00:41:09>> Sheehan: A lone gunman who's not part of an organization -- very hard to detect.
00:41:14If he's determined to really get after the president, that's the most difficult thing for the secret servior 'cause it could be anyone.
00:41:22>> Narrator: On september 5, 1975, lynette "squeaky" fromme, a devotee of cult leader charles manson, slipped into the crowd around president gerald ford in sacramento, california.
00:41:34She pulled the trigger of a .45...
00:41:38[ Click ] ...but the chamber was empty.
00:41:43She was squeezing the trigger on a loaded chamber when agent larry buendorf got to her.
00:41:50He reacted courageously and grabbed the gun, but, just luckily, his thumb stopped the hammer.
00:41:52I mean, that's just luck.
00:41:53>> Narrator: 16 Days later, sara jane moore was interviewed by the secret service as a potential threat.
00:41:58They concluded she was harmless.
00:42:01The next day, moore fired a shot from a revolver at president ford in san francisco.
00:42:06[ Gunshot ] >> and you watch the agents around ford getting him into the car just like the reagan assassination, you know -- boom -- in the car and get him out of there.
00:42:18Narrator: Both sara jane moore and squeaky fromme are now out of prison and under careful secret service supervision but the memory of lee harvey oswald, the lone sniper who killed president kennedy, still haunts the agency.
00:42:34Now the secret service has countersnipers to protect the president against a distant gunman, but as new and better rifles enter the market, their range has to keep getting longer and longer.
00:42:46>> Kenneson: It's a 308 caliber rifle.
00:42:49Effective range is about 800 to 1,000 meters.
00:42:53>> Narrator: According to news accounts, in 2002, a canadian sniper fired at a taliban fighter in afghanistan at 2,430 meters -- over 1 1/2 miles.
00:43:09The bullet was in the air for an estimated four seconds and was deadly accurate.
00:43:13The things that effect the bullet are primarily gravity and resistance from atmospheric conditions such as wind or humidity in the air.
00:43:18Because of that, you have to compensate, and the way we compensate is by adjusting the scopes.
00:43:23[ Metal clangs ] we're down here in front of the backstop at our steel targets vthat we were shooting at.
00:43:35If you look back up the road up there, back just to the left of the far telephone pole is our shooting position.
00:43:42It's approximately five football fields from here to there, so 500 yards.
00:43:44It's a pretty long shot.
00:43:50>> Roberts: Preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states.
00:43:54>> Preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states.
00:43:57>> So help you god?
00:43:59>> So help me god.
00:44:02>> Congratulations, mr.
00:44:04>> Sheehan: I think every president of the united states, when he swears into office on the 20th of january, recognizes that he's a target to a range of threats that are out there, and that he will always be vulnerable.
00:44:11>> Narrator: And the worry is never higher than when the president steps off air force one onto foreign soil.
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00:47:43>> Narrator: Danger is everywhere, but overseas, the agency does not have absolute control and the president is at his most vulnerable.
00:47:53>> Reality is that once we leave the shores of the united states, the secret service has no jurisdiction.
00:47:58We have no authority.
00:48:00We really have to depend on the local law-enforcement community.
00:48:04>> Narrator: In 2008, in iraq, a journalist threw not one, but two shoes at president bush.
00:48:15A storm of controversy erupted as people wondered why the president had not been better protected.
00:48:19Before president bush was dodging shoes, he had a much closer brush with death.
00:48:25In tbilisi, georgia, the secret georgian security were overwhelmed by the large crowd.
00:48:35Vladimir arutyunian threw a live, soviet-made rgd-5 hand grenade next to the podium.
00:48:41Fortunately, a red-plaid handkerchief wrapped tightly around the grenade kept the firing pin from deploying.
00:48:51The handkerchief had been the only disguise arutyunian had used to hide the weapon.
00:48:56Sometimes, the president's fate simply comes down to chance.
00:49:01Nevertheless, every precaution must be taken.
00:49:09When president bill clinton traveled to pakistan in 2000, the secret service knew al-qaeda had infiltrated the pakistani military.
00:49:16>> Fleischer: Clinton went to pakistan against the advice of the secret service.
00:49:19They didn't want him to go.
00:49:22They used decoy airplanes.
00:49:23They actually brought him in on a much smaller version of air force one.
00:49:25Narrator: Then they had five presidential limousines leave the airport.
00:49:29Only a trusted few knew which contained the american president.
00:49:35I think the best way of looking president is a series of layers, and it starts by destroying organizations before they're able to organize a plot.
00:49:46Then, as you get closer to the president, in physical proximity, whether it's in the air or vehicle or then right next to him, you have layers of protection.
00:49:55>> Narrator: So the search continues for new technologies -- anything to gain an advantage on the potential assassin, and the protection cannot get much closer than the president's clothes.
00:50:06After the assassination attempt, president reagan wore a bulletproof vest.
00:50:13>> Petro: I have put the vest on the president a few times.
00:50:15It was out of an abundance of caution.
00:50:16I wasn't necessarily concerned that he was in a dangerous situation.
00:50:21 reagan actually intervened and asked if he could wear the vest.
00:50:26>> Narrator: It is rumored that president obama was wearing a bulletproof suit during the inauguration.
00:50:31Of course, the secret service will say nothing about the matter, but if he was, it almost certainly came from miguel caballero, the world's high-fashion manufacturer of protective armor.
00:50:43Caballero has taken advantage of the war between drug cartels and the government in his native colombia to create a new technology of fabric design.
00:50:53[ Speaking spanish ] >> Interpreter: The secret of what we do is to mix a hybrid of polyester and nylon, which can absorb energy.
00:51:03The basic principal of bulletproofing is absorbing energy.
00:51:09>> Narrator: To ensure his employees understand the importance of their work, caballero personally shoots each one from close range in one of his products.
00:51:21High-fashion body armor is big business, and the world's best stores, like harrods of london, compete to carry caballero's line.
00:51:29These jackets, suits, and even 357 magnum, a 9-millimeter, or an uzi.
00:51:37Tourists actually trek to caballero's factory, begging to be shot in one of his signature garments.
00:51:44The secret service is constantly investigating the range of new, protective technology, whether it is caballero's clothes or LRADs -- Long range acoustic devices -- that emit sound levels many times higher than any heavy-metal concert.
00:52:01They were used by a luxury ship recently against pirates.
00:52:04They had one of these acoustic devices that just launched a sound wave at the pirates that were approaching the ship, and that stopped them right there in the water.
00:52:18N >> arrator: What stopped the pirates in somalia was that the lrad can be very, very loud.
00:52:20American technologies vice president nancho lopez personally demonstrates just how loud.
00:52:27[ Lrad beeping ] >> I'm about 100 yards away from the lrad right now, and even at this distance, the sound pressure level is pretty intense.
00:52:35I don't want to stand around here much longer.
00:52:36[ Beeping continues ] 120 decibels is considered to be the threshold of pain.
00:52:44We're around 10 to 12 times louder than that.
00:52:48>> Based in san diego, california, american technologies is a small, maverick company that had a very good idea.
00:52:55>> When I create a sound, like that, with my finger, what I'm doing is I'm creating a pressure wave that goes out in all directions, radially.
00:53:02In the lrad, we prevent the sound from going in all directions by guiding the sound out the front and towards the target.
00:53:10>> Narrator: Because the lrad is so directional, a person can stand next to it and be perfectly safe.
00:53:17LRADs ARE IN USE AROUND THE World, wherever there is the potential for conflict or danger.
00:53:26And now they come in all sizes.
00:53:29>> This is our lrad 1000x.
00:53:29It's the original system.
00:53:30It's our largest, most powerful hailer.
00:53:32This is our lrad 500x.
00:53:35It's our middle-sized unit.
00:53:36It was developed for use on vehicles and small boats.
00:53:38The lrad 100x could be used by the secret service to do things such as enforce seclusion zones or keep-out zones.
00:53:45If they wanted to keep people out of a certain area, they could use this lrad to send a very loud, clear, authoritative message.
00:53:53>> Narrator: The message can be ..
00:53:57>> You may be subject to arrest or other enforcement action.
00:54:00..A psyops tactic to ..
00:54:01[ Baby crying ] [ siren wails ] ...or a noise that hurts your ears and just might protect the president.
00:54:11Since the death of president kennedy in 1963, the secret service has instituted a constant program of change, researching new technologies, testing and adapting new and more powerful weapons, developing better organization and human resources, but in the end, it all comes down to trust in the institution.
00:54:36>> We are and always will be the united states of america.
00:54:37[ Crowd cheering ] >> Fleischer: While president obama can have an event like on election night with massive throngs, massive crowds, and he looks like he's all alone, it's 'cause the secret service said, "it's okay to be like that.
00:54:53" Narrator: Before a man is trained to be a green beret, he must prove he's cut out for the job.
00:55:15Stay with the count!
00:55:16This is special forces assessment and selection.
00:55:20Step it up!
00:55:21Survive two weeks in hell, andmaybethey'll take you.
00:55:24Pick that weakness up! put it in your pocket!
00:55:27Piascik: We don't need you.
00:55:28Don't come to this interview unprepared.
00:55:31[ Retches ] Piascik:!
00:55:34--Captions by Captions paid for by discovery communications army green berets are america's experts in unconventional tactics, subversion, and guerilla warfare.
00:56:05They blend with the locals, and they survive with their wits.
00:56:11Their motto -- " the right man in the right place devastates the enemy.
00:56:19Csrnko: We're looking for an individual that has what I would consider the heart, the gut, and the mind to be able to do our business.
00:56:28Narrator: 256 Candidates assemble at camp McCALL, A special forces base deep in the backwoods of north carolina.
00:56:38Price: They don't know how hard it's gonna be, unsure about what to expect, but they're usually pretty excited and motivated, and they expect they're fully capable of accomplishing it.
00:56:48Unfortunately, for over 50% of them, that won't be true.
00:56:53Narrator: For the candidates, this is the most important 14 days of their lives.
00:56:58Most have trained years in preparation.
00:57:02I believe, in life, you have one chance to look and dig deep, see how far you can reach inside yourself, de see how tough you are.
00:57:09Man: I'm expecting to be challenged physically, mentally, even spiritually.
00:57:13Man: joe" and watching chuck norris movies, and that's what I want to do.
00:57:20This is where you live.
00:57:21You're not gonna go anywhere outside this area unless you are told to by cadre or you follow the information on the whiteboard.
00:57:27All right, second, this is a hula-free zone.
00:57:31Narrator: For the next two weeks, everything they do is observed.
00:57:37Cerruto: They're always being assessed, and that's pretty much the name of the game here.
00:57:43Carrillo: they're just a number.
00:57:46 everybody has the same stuff.
00:57:49Socks -- get them out of the bag, unroll them, hold them up.
00:57:53Price: We sometimes see people trying to bring enhancements -- rip fuel and items that'll help them perform better, and we definitely don't want that in the course.
00:58:01But pain medications -- we don't want that, either, because the candidates will be in pain here, and there's a chance that they could do damage to themselves if they took too much of that medication.
00:58:10That's how you try to sneak stuff in right here, huh?
00:58:13A big pile of crap right here.
00:58:16Just no bottles of alcohol.
00:58:19 career over something stupid like that.
00:58:23Narrator: Selection is run by a cadre of the army'smost experienced green berets.
00:58:28They're picking their replacements.
00:58:32Turn around, number 1.
00:58:33 you know that, right?
00:58:36Number 1 never makes it.
00:58:39All right, you're good. go ahead.
00:58:41After years of relentless special-operations combat, they're dead serious about who gets in.
00:58:48Carrillo: it's that simple, all right?