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.”