The Washington Post describes what it’s like to go through 16 weeks of grueling training to become a Secret Service agent. “Everything is in play here, guys. Everything you learned from Day One,” instructor Steve Mixon tells recruits in a basement that muffles rifle blasts. “Assailant control. Guillotine chokeholds.”
Not everyone makes it. If they fail, they will leave humiliated. If they pass, they’ll become members of an elite, stealthy service during a period of exceptional pressures. With the rise of Islamic terrorism, the agency’s roster of protectees has grown. With the election of the first African American president, public scrutiny has exploded. Presidents typically receive 3,000 threats a year. Obama is outpacing the average.