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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Personal relationships between the President and his bodyguards?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23983points) January 21st, 2009

While watching the President and First Lady walking parts of the parade route, a question popped into my head. Are personal relationships between the President and the rest of the family and their bodyguards, encouraged? Or do you think they like them to keep an emotional distance, since their bodyguards are supposed to give their own lives to protect them, should they need to?

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14 Answers

scamp's avatar

I think they only form personal relationships in the movies, but then again, how can they not develop some type of feeling with all the time the spend together? Great question by the way!!

jamzzy's avatar

my guess is maybe, my history teacher always has a story about his nephew who si in the secret service. hes not very high in the ranks but he has been on president clinton, but he has said they ever talked to the people they were “on” they were sorta just there and making sure every situation was safe, and apparently airforce one is HUGE

Trustinglife's avatar

GQ. I don’t know, but this kind of relationship was portrayed in the great movie, Vantage Point. I’d be surprised (and delighted) to get a “real” answer.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@scamp Yeah, that’s kind of along the same lines I was thinking. I mean… If you’re supposed to die for someone, it would probably be best not to get emotionally involved. Because imagine, then, the President stepping in to save the life of his friend. But on the other hand… How could you not, in any way, form a friendship? And wouldn’t any parent want to know more about the person who was supposed to be protecting their children? I know that I would want more than cold facts. Knowing someone emotionally is sometimes more important than knowing their job history, accomplishments, etc.

Harp's avatar

Just browsing, I came across this interview with an agent who served under Bush:

“So what’s it like to be up close and personal with the most influential and sought after men and women in the world? Do they whisper secrets to their protectors or share stories? Do they simply ignore the agents? And are the agents in constant awe of whom they’re protecting?

“It’s like a doctor/lawyer-client, professional relationship,” Brown said. “It’s not a personal relationship. It’s a professional relationship and you get to know their boundaries.”


But here, a woman agent who served under several presidents, makes it sound a bit cozier:

“I often rode horses with President Reagan, both at Camp David and at his Rancho del Cielo, north of Santa Barbara, California. These rides provided a unique opportunity to interact one on one with the President, and engage in long conversations while riding side by side….When I was first assigned to President Reagan’s protective detail, I was one of only two women. He conducted himself on a first name basis with us, whereas with the men, he did not know all their individual names. Furthermore, because I rode horses with the President, I developed a close personal relationship with him.”


And this agent-turned novelist says it sometimes goes way beyond that:

“Though it’s possible to protect someone for months without having any social intercourse other than brief conversations about departure times and where staff and guests would ride in the limousine, sometimes a much closer relationship develops. I know of politicians who came to trust their Secret Service agents more than their highest-ranking staff members. And, like the fictional Agent Garrison, Secret Service agents have occasionally been known to get involved with women they have been assigned to protect. In one instance I have personal knowledge of, the wife of a famous world leader fell head over heels in love with her Secret Service bodyguard. When their affair became known, the Secret Service Director relieved the agent of his duties and hushed up the scandal. And there has been more than once romance between a Secret Service agent and a female member of the First Family.”

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Harp Fantastic answer, thank you. What a weird and extremely hard situation to be in. I know the outcome of things depends, for the most part, on the character of each individual President and family… But wow. If I was President, I don’t think I could not get to know someone. For my own safety, the safety of my family and simply to comfort the bodyguard/s. I don’t care if they’re getting paid to (possibly) die for me… They’re still willing to die for me. I would have to get to know them and probably well.

PupnTaco's avatar

So Nancy Reagan was gettin’ busy with Agent 88B AKA “Skee-ball.” I knew it.

elijah's avatar

My brother-in-law is in the secret service. He went all over the world with Bush. He never could tell us much detail, but did say that it’s more than what people assume. He really got to know his private life, as he was never far from him. I don’t think they developed a friendship in the normal sense, but you can’t help but feel close to someone you see every day. He took his kids to the white house a few different times, they have all met Bush and even got to see private rooms. A couple years ago their Christmas card was the kids and Bush standing by the Christmas tree.

cak's avatar

I worked with someone that was engaged to a man that was on President Bush’s detail. (not the Dubya!) They did form some kind of a relationship, but not one where you hang out and have beers together. The Bush Family did send them a gift when they married and have received cards from them.

I’m going to guess it really has everything to do with the President.

Trustinglife's avatar

Whoa, blown away by the collective here. Shocked to get real answers.

caljanson's avatar

I think the bodyguards are more a less just a part of his entourage… They ride around in Obama’s limo, talkin’ trash and what not…

bea2345's avatar

For what it’s worth: a police officer told me that it was customary to replace the personal bodyguards of the prime minister when a new person took up the office. He explained that bodyguarding was intensely idiosyncratic and tailored to the habits of the subject. It was safer, and more efficient, to have a new set of people with the new person. As it happened, Eric Williams was reclusive and not very physical. His successor, George Chambers, liked to walk around the Queen’s Park Savannah every morning (about 3.5 Km.). People would see him striding along, accompanied by his guards.

anartist's avatar

I think Amy Carter married her secret service agent. Correct?
@caljanson bad link
@Harp bad link [first one]

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