How The Secret Service Transformed After The Kennedy Assassination


As the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas approaches, NPR says the event “permanently changed the agency charged with protecting the president — the U.S. Secret Service.” Marc Ambinder of The Week says the Secret Service was ill-prepard to deal with the gregarious Kennedy.

After the assassination, the Secret Service made some immediate changes. Open limousines were out. It began taking a more aggressive approach to its advance work. There were just 28 agents on the ground in Dallas in 1963, and the agency’s budget was $5.5 million. Last year the budget was more than $1.6 billion. It’s hard to compare the bubble that surrounds President Obama with the Kennedy-era security. Now anyone hoping to get close to the president has to go through a metal detector and a bag check. The president rides in a limousine so armored it’s referred to as “the Beast.”

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