America's Book of Secrets (2012) s03e09 Episode Script

The Secret Service

NARRATOR: They are an elite force.
Brave men and women who put their lives on the line.
(shouting) JULIA PIERSON: Failure's not an option.
You have to be perfect 100% of the time.
NARRATOR: Their mission- to guard the most powerful person in the world.
RALPH BASHAM: This is serious business.
It is about the safety and security of the United States.
NARRATOR: But just who are these American heroes? And what is their secret mission? BARBARA GOLDEN: We're known for protection and the guys with the sunglasses and the trench coats.
But we also investigate crimes.
RALPH BASHAM: There's a lot more to the Secret Service and its mission than what people see on TV.
NARRATOR: There are those who believe in the existence of a book.
A book that contains the most highly guarded secrets of the United States of America.
A book whose very existence is known to only a select few.
But if such a book exists, what would it contain? Secret missions? Secret technologies? Secret threats? Does there really exist America's Book of Secrets? April 20, 2012.
Cartagena, Colombia.
The United States Secret Service faces a firestorm of controversy after agents on President Barack Obama's advance team are caught in a highly publicized prostitution scandal.
One dozen Secret Service agents are sent home when one allegedly refuses to pay one of the several female prostitutes they had invited to their hotel.
White House officials quickly attempt damage control in an effort to preserve the dignity of the agency.
JAY CARNEY: The President has confidence in the director of the Secret Service.
Uh, Director Sullivan acted quickly, uh, in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation as we speak into the matter.
MARC AMBINDER: The reason why the incident in Cartagena was so embarrassing for the Secret Service was, it became an international news story overnight.
Whatever the president was doing at the Summit of the Americas was completely eclipsed by this embarrassment that the Secret Service itself created and was responsible for.
DAN EMMETT: The actual unwritten codes within the Secret Service are really applicable to common sense.
Don't embarrass the Secret Service.
Don't embarrass this country.
Don't embarrass the president.
DANNY SPRIGGS: The Cartagena incident was an unfortunate situation, and one in which I believe actually put a stain on the Secret Service, its mission, as well as its personnel.
NARRATOR: Is it possible there is something about a Secret Service agent's psychological profile, especially those charged with protecting the president, that motivates them to act in a way that challenges the upstanding, all-American image of the Secret Service that the public imagines? MANCOW MULLER: Look, these are these are hard-core individuals- they work hard and they play hard.
I think the Secret Service has one of the most intense jobs.
I-I can't imagine how intense it is, and I think they need to let off steam.
But, uh, if they're leaving secret files around, that's a problem.
NARRATOR: But while wild and, some would argue, politically incorrect behavior may occasionally be exhibited by other government employees and law enforcement officials, is there another reason why the Secret Service's behavior in Colombia was so particularly shocking? Could it be that the agency's position- as the guardians of the president of the United States and his family- requires that the character of the Secret Service must be even more exemplary, more so than any other law enforcement agency in the nation? AMBINDER: You can argue that you should hold them to higher standards because the job that they have chosen freely- the responsibility that we, collectively, as a country, have given them- is so great that they just have to hold themselves to higher standards.
They have to let go of the temptations that most people would fall and succumb to.
SPRIGGS: A Secret Service agent or officer should never put themselves in a position where they could be compromised- either through extortion or other means- to reveal classified information, sensitive information, or operational procedures.
And so, therefore it does, in certain situations, present that kind of image to the public- that security has been compromised, which could result in the life of a president.
BARBARA GOLDEN: The scandal that the Secret Service went through, unfortunately, was a sexy story for the media.
We are elite and I think a lot of people do still believe in that, um, because of what we do.
But in any organization you're gonna have a knucklehead that brings negative impact on the whole agency, and that's what happened in this case.
NARRATOR: But the scandal in Cartagena was not the end of the troubles facing the Secret Service.
Over the next two years, agents continued to make shocking headlines, prompting many to wonder if there was something going terribly wrong within the agency.
And if so, should the American public be concerned? RALPH BASHAM: Well, perhaps there is a problem in the Secret Service.
I don't think it is a deep-rooted problem, but there are people who are problems in the Secret Service.
STEVE MONTEIRO: No organization can ever completely defend itself against individual acts of misconduct.
At the end of the day, we hire human beings and human beings make mistakes.
NARRATOR: According to many health professionals, stress could be a major factor in recent incidents of agent misconduct.
It could also be a key reason why many agents decide to quit the force altogether.
On the outside, agents portray a tough, professional exterior.
Maintaining composure while under constant pressure.
But what is life really like for these highly trained operatives? What are the secrets cloaked behind the stoic glances, iconic sunglasses, and keenly pressed suits? DAN BONGINO: I've seen people frustrated.
I've seen people upset.
You know, it's okay to kind of yell and scream once in a while but at the end of the day, you are gonna secure this man's life, no matter what.
So either get it done or move on and find a new job.
EMMETT: Some people have requested transfer because of the stress.
Continuous travel, up to 30, 35 days at a time without any days off, continually changing shifts, day shift, evening shift, midnight shifts.
BASHAM: When you're off, you're not really off.
I mean, you can be called 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And you've got to respond.
NARRATOR: From agents in the field on the Presidential Protective Division to those on the Emergency Response Team who guard the White House grounds, every representative of the Secret Service is expected to carry out their duties flawlessly.
JULIA PIERSON: Whether you're getting close to making an arrest or you're making decisions about, uh, public movement around our president or any of our protectees, it's a very difficult time.
Failure is not an option, and so you have to be perfect 100% of the time.
I think that would be very demanding on anyone in any career.
NARRATOR: While most agents are well equipped to deal with the heavy demands that come with the job, some, sadly, cannot handle the pressure.
BASHAM: We've had, unfortunately, a number of agents who have literally taken their own life because the stress of the job.
Uh, and its impact on the family.
Law enforcement is just a very demanding, very stressful job.
So, yeah, suicide is unfortunately, uh, you know, sort of the dark side of the job.
NARRATOR: Are the pressures of being a Secret Service agent too intense? Are the rigid standards they have to meet simply too high? And, if so, is the agency's ability to fill the ranks of this historically elite force in jeopardy? NARRATOR: Each year the United States Secret Service receives thousands of applications for only a few hundred available positions.
In fact, in 2011, only one percent of the over 15,000 who applied to become special agents were accepted.
But with such a large pool of applicants to choose from, just how does the Secret Service decide who gets an invitation to join this elite force and who gets rejected? PIERSON: The Secret Service has about 3,300 special agents and about 1,400 uniformed division officers serving in a protective capacity every day.
We have offices in most of the major cities across the United States and about 40 offices outside of this country.
EMMETT: When a person applies to become an agent with the United States Secret Service, they are entering into the mother of all vetting processes.
It goes on for about 12 months, assuming that everything goes according to plan.
NARRATOR: First, an applicant must pass an extensive background check that includes scouring their finances.
An agent with significant debt is considered greater risk.
Applicants must also pass the dreaded polygraph test.
EMMETT: It's just simply to find out, one, are you a criminal? Two, are you a spy sent to infiltrate the Secret Service? BONGINO: It was probably the worst eight hours of my life.
When I got on, I think they were eliminating nine out of ten people.
It's very, very hard to cheat a Secret Service polygraph.
MONTEIRO: A disqualification could be someone lying about perhaps their criminal history.
It could be their drug usage.
It could be employment activities.
For example, they've been fired and tried to hide that from us.
NARRATOR: But it is not just the prospective agents who are under the microscope during the arduous application process.
Their acceptance into the elite group also depends on the competence of their family.
EMMETT: One of the final phases of the vetting process is the home visits.
This is when a seasoned senior agent will visit the home of the applicant, interview the applicant along with the spouse and try and explain to them how difficult this job really is.
And if, uh, the other side of the relationship can't deal with that, you're gonna have a very unhappy agent, therefore a very unproductive agent.
NARRATOR: After enduring almost one year of interviews and tests, those men and women accepted as trainees will spend their first three months at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.
After which, those who make the cut will move on to the James J.
Rowley Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
There, trainees endure another 18 weeks of intense hands-on instruction on everything from investigative techniques to physical protection tactics, marksmanship and even water survival skills.
BASHAM: You go through another several months of very specific training that deals with the Secret Service's mission set.
That, too, can be extremely demanding on individuals, and people don't make it through.
NARRATOR: But just how well do these training scenarios really prepare agents to survive real-world threats? BASHAM: There are mock street scenes, and they run through every scenario.
Any day they may be blowing up cars, or there may be motorcades that are being attacked.
They try to develop as best they can a realistic set of scenarios where your body trains, your mind trains.
At the end of the day, that can save your life or the lives of others.
NARRATOR: What sets the Secret Service apart from many other law enforcement agencies is that its trainees are taught how to take a bullet by using their bodies as human shields.
SPRIGGS: On March 30, 1981, I was present during the attempted assassination by John Hinckley against President Reagan.
(gunshots) Tim McCarthy, the agent who received a wound to the abdomen as a result of that incident, clearly put himself in the line of fire.
That's the sacrifice that you have to be willing to make to become a Secret Service agent.
NARRATOR: But, believe it or not, once recruits become sworn in as agents, they do not start off on the coveted Presidential Protective Division, or PPD, right away.
New agents must first spend about six years in investigations and temporary protection before they can even be considered for PPD, and that highly coveted assignment involves even more rigorous training.
And before an agent is even allowed behind the wheel of the tank-like presidential limo known as Cadillac One or the Beast, they must also pass a series of unique driving tests.
EMMETT: PODC is the Protective Operations Driving Course, and before an agent is qualified to drive the president of the United States in an armored limo, they first must graduate PODC.
BONGINO: Learning how to drive the president's limo is like learning how to slalom with a tractor trailer.
I mean, that's how difficult it is.
The driving course is meant to really induce stress.
Driving like that, under high speeds with a sweat in a 90-degree temperature day and the sweat's coming into your eyes, yeah, it's intense.
NARRATOR: But no matter how realistic or challenging an agent's training is, nothing can adequately prepare them for the real-world events that will test their skills day by day, minute by minute and second by second, especially when it comes to guarding the life of the most powerful person in the world.
NARRATOR: November 22, 1963.
Dallas, Texas.
Along the presidential parade route, sniper shots fired from a nearby building turn an otherwise uneventful afternoon into a day of terror.
(people screaming) In a split-second, President John F.
Kennedy is struck and killed.
And this single moment becomes a game changer for how the United States Secret Service will forever guard the life of the president of the United States.
PETRO: In President Kennedy's assassination, we learned about paying more attention to the high ground and to buildings.
In 1972, George Wallace was shot in a rope line, and I think we learned a lot about how to do rope lines better.
And then, just a couple years later, Squeaky Fromme tried to shoot President Ford.
And then, of course, President Reagan's assassination attempt, we learned the importance of cover and evacuate.
But I think the overriding concept that is true in every one of those circumstances is proximity, being close enough to react.
PIERSON: There are many things that the Secret Service has done to adapt protection in an evolving society.
I don't think many Americans understand the complexity that goes into securing the president of the United States.
It's more than just fencing the White House.
It's air security.
It's cyber security.
It's biological, chemical and nuclear detection elements that we have to employ to ensure a safe environment for the president anywhere he travels, whether it's in the United States or around the world.
NARRATOR: March 28, 2010.
Bagram, Afghanistan.
Managing the movement of United States President Barack Obama- codenamed "Renegade"- and his White House entourage is no small task, especially when it is a secret trip into a war zone.
BONGINO: Moving people, moving weapons, moving bodies, moving equipment thousands of miles overseas in a very distinct block of time, very short block of time, is extremely difficult.
Most people would never have to think about the crazy things we have to think about when we're doing an advance.
Tactical, medical, chem-bio, IED, airborne and fire.
If you can take care of those big six threats, the president is going to go home safe.
(sirens blaring) NARRATOR: Although most presidential movements are heavily planned out in anticipation of an attempted assassination, threats could lie in wait any day, at any time, anywhere.
So can the president of the United States do anything that's really spontaneous? MONTEIRO: OTRs are referred to as off-the-record movements, and that is where one of our protectees- for example, the president- would decide to go some place at the last minute, off the schedule.
BONGINO: Not everything is as spontaneous as it looks.
Even spontaneity requires some degree of planning.
NARRATOR: During the George H.
W.
Bush administration, William Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and witnessed firsthand how agents adapted to unplanned situations.
WILLIAM KRISTOL: At times the vice president would see something and say, "Why don't we stop there?" And the Secret Service agent would say, "Ooh, Mr.
Vice President, we'd kind of planned on a different place half a mile away.
" But, of course, no one likes to be told exactly where to go 24 hours a day, and so they would scramble and make it work.
When the Secret Service works well, which it does, you know, 98% of the time, no one notices it.
DAN QUAYLE: The Secret Service know exactly what to do.
I had this one Secret Service agent, and every time right before I'd go out and make a speech, and he'd say, "Okay, now, if some attack happens, make sure you get down behind the podium, because it's bulletproof.
" And I said, "Well, that's really not the last words I want to hear before I'm gonna be making a major speech.
Can you please tell me that, like, 30 minutes ahead of time?" But it was in his marching orders to make sure that the vice president knew what to do in case of a a situation arose.
NARRATOR: To those under the protection of the Secret Service, the orders from agents may seem overbearing.
But the sacrifice of personal space and privacy is really for their own good and that of the nation.
Especially when the types of threats being faced are ever-changing and rarely made public.
GOLDEN: The president routinely receives threats daily.
It could be in the form of an e-mail, it could be in the form of a verbal threat, it could be a letter, it could be on a chat room.
But once the Secret Service is made aware of those threats, we do physically go locate the person and do our assessment.
PETRO: I was in Intelligence Division, and I was supervising the duty desk at 2:00 in the morning, and someone called the White House and started threatening the president.
We had this guy on the phone, and kept talking to him, and we traced the call to a phone booth in Minneapolis or someplace.
Someone else is calling the police.
I'm still talking to him on the phone, and he's threatening the president, and you could hear the knock on the phone booth, and it was the police, arresting him.
(sirens blaring) The Secret Service is in the business of preventing things from happening.
NARRATOR: But although protecting the life of the president, the vice president and their families may always be at the forefront of the U.
S.
Secret Service's mission to serve and protect, agents also have another, even more secret mission.
And this one protects all Americans, not just from people wielding guns and bombs, but from those whose sinister plans may involve little more than ink and paper.
NARRATOR: December, 2013.
Target, one of America's largest retailers, is hit by a crippling credit card breech.
More than 70 million customer accounts are attacked, compromising card data and personal information.
Much to the public's surprise, it is the Department of Justice and the Secret Service that are charged with investigating the financial criminal case, described as one of the worst security incidents in United States history.
GOLDEN: We're known for protection, and the guys with the sunglasses and the trench coats.
But we also investigate crimes, credit card theft, fraud, identity theft, treasury check forgeries, counterfeit money, counterfeit credit cards.
PIERSON: Our investigative mission dates back to 1865 with counterfeiting during the Civil War.
Over a third of the money in circulation was counterfeit at the time.
President Lincoln, oddly enough, saw the importance of ensuring that there was a federal investigative team that was able to help combat counterfeiting.
It was named the Secret Service.
NARRATOR: In an unmarked building in Washington, D.
C.
, the Secret Service hides an arsenal of state-of-the-art technology to combat much more than just financial crimes.
The Forensic Services division houses a laboratory with highly restricted vaults, each containing secret technologies used to protect American citizens.
MONTEIRO: The laundry list of things that we do in the investigative side of the house is pretty comprehensive, and they go everything from fraud cases to murder cases to child exploitation cases.
PIERSON: I don't think most Americans are aware of the unique forensic capabilities of the United States Secret Service, as it relates to counterfeit currency, questioned documents, and some of the other tools that we need to do our important mission.
They include everything from handwriting analysis to voice recognition to specimen notes dating back to 1865.
NARRATOR: Behind this door is a vault that stores evidence of currency counterfeiting that only Stuart Tryon, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Investigations- and a select few of his colleagues- can access.
STUART TRYON: This is the only agency in the U.
S.
government that can verify authenticity of currency.
And we are the only agency in the U.
S.
government that has a counterfeit vault.
We have one sample of every bill, every note, every bank note that existed since 1865 that we've investigated.
PIERSON: Today, with inkjet printers and the simplicity of being able to use scanning technology, I think more people are tempted to try counterfeiting than ever before.
TRYON: Each note has a fingerprint, if you will.
Each note has a history.
We research the paper, we research the ink.
We look for the raised printing, the intaglio printing.
We look for the offset.
We also look in the quality of the actual note.
We compare that with a genuine.
This is where the buck truly stops.
NARRATOR: Just down the hall from the counterfeit vault is a high-tech latent fingerprint lab, where specialists use the most up-to-date chemicals and technology to extract fingerprints that are nearly impossible to detect by most other forensics labs.
ANTHONY CLAY: We investigate a lot of, um, financial crimes, so with that we receive a lot of porous-type items, such as counterfeit bills, counterfeit checks, counterfeit money.
And also threatening letters against the president.
Latent fingerprint technology is the ability to make fingerprints left on a crime scene visible.
The word "latent" simply means "hidden.
" NARRATOR: The capabilities of the Forensic Services division are so advanced that the agency has been called on to testify in some of the nation's most notorious cases.
The technology here is used not only to solve criminal cases against U.
S.
citizens, but one secret method in particular is most prominently used to protect the president.
MONTEIRO: When I was the director of the Forensic Services division, I was particularly proud of the FISH system.
And FISH is an acronym for the Forensic Information System for Handwriting, which is the only kind of system in the world that helps us to identify writing samples.
TRISTA GINSBERG: This is a computer program which was developed by the United States Secret Service, modeled after a program which was previously used by the German Federal Police.
This is a computer program which only the Secret Service has access to.
MONTEIRO: We would take the height of a letter, uh, the spacing of a letter, and this would all go into algorithms which would sort of give us a profile of this particular sample of handwriting.
We would then take that and compare that to the thousands of samples that we have in our database.
NARRATOR: If there is a potential handwriting match, the program will generate a list of candidates who may have authored the threat.
GINSBERG: We have had over 300 FISH hits and were able to identify that the same person did writitose letters.
MONTEIRO: A perfect example was a case that happened in New York.
They had received a threat letter to blow up the subway systems in New York.
And the, uh, joint terrorism task force faxed a copy of the letter to my office, and within one hour we told them who wrote the letter using the FISH system.
NARRATOR: But while the Secret Service works behind the scenes to safeguard the financial security of the nation and the personal safety of the president of the United States, they are also involved in other even more secret operations.
And some are so well hidden, they happen right in front of the public but completely out of sight.
MAN: Police! OFFICER: Police with a warrant, open the door! NARRATOR: On March 16, 2012, 19 people are arrested in nine states.
They are charged with being part of a criminal organization that buys and sells personal and financial information.
Dubbed Operation Open Market, the sting was successful largely due to a Secret Service agent working undercover, distributing fake IDs that could later be traced to their buyers.
BASHAM: There's a lot more to the Secret Service and its mission than what people may just, you know, see on TV.
It's the day-to-day gathering intelligence, of working the information that's really sort of what the Secret Service agent does.
PIERSON: We've also had them perform undercover assignments.
So you're never really sure where a Secret Service agent can be found.
We spend a lot of time ensuring that they can assimilate into any assignment that we've given them throughout the world.
GOLDEN: I did go undercover for a counterfeit investigation.
The source was working with the bad guy- or the target- and that source would introduce me to the target.
I was playing a girlfriend to the source and being in the room where you could hear what's going on.
So, what I learned in their conversation I just took back to the case agent, and he would make a decision on how to move forward.
NARRATOR: But it is not just the agents involved in criminal investigations that work undercover.
Agents on protective detail often dress as everything from tourists and joggers to everyday citizens in their efforts to avoid detection and simply blend in.
May 19, 2013.
Atlanta, Georgia.
During President Barack Obama's commencement speech to the graduating class of Morehouse College, a Secret Service agent quietly and discreetly protects the nation's leader while in complete disguise.
PIERSON: I think you would be surprised to see that we've had Secret Service agents on the stage during commencement exercises dressed in graduation gowns.
We've had them participating in picnics and sporting events dressed as participants.
AMBINDER: If the Secret Service distracts from what people are looking at at a particular event, they're in a sense distracting from the job of the politician.
And the job of the politician, after all, is what really affects us.
There's a direct link between their desire to be unobtrusive and guarded and the smooth functioning of democracy.
NARRATOR: October 30, 2001.
Yankee Stadium, New York.
President George W.
Bush throws out the first pitch in game three of the World Series.
Planted in the stadium are several Secret Service agents scanning the crowd for potential threats.
BONGINO: The World Series game where President Bush threw out the first pitch, we had one of our guys dress up as-as an umpire.
SPRIGGS: You always want to try to maintain a 360-degree coverage of your protectee.
And so therefore you find yourself, uh, having to be placed inside the crowd.
EMMETT: The agents generally dress in accordance to the way the president is dressing to wherever he's going.
If the president is going for a run, which President Clinton frequently did, and President Bush, then the agents go in running gear.
They at least try and blend in as far as the dresses around them.
SPRIGGS: In the event that the president is going to be playing golf, you wouldn't want to be in a three-piece suit.
It's twofold.
It's, uh, first, you're bringing attention unto yourself.
And then, two, if there was anybody that had ill will in mind, they would clearly identify you as the security component.
NARRATOR: But while many agents dress to avoid detection, there are some who deliberately want their presence known.
They believe that by being obvious, they can act as a deterrent and thus prevent an attack on the person they have been assigned to protect.
PETRO: One of the highlights of my career was the opportunity to be the agent in charge of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States.
I got to be very close with the Pope's chief of staff and the Pope's head of Vatican security.
We were having dinner one night, and they said, "Would you consider dressing as a priest?" And I said, "Absolutely not.
I want the public to know I am a Secret Service agent and I am here to protect the Pope.
" But having said that, it doesn't mean that we didn't have some agents dressed as priests.
NARRATOR: But while the Secret Service works tirelessly to prevent the ever-present threats that come from the outside, might there be an even greater threat? One that comes from within? NARRATOR: Federal agencies such as the FBI, the CIA and the NSA have all had spies or double agents that have leaked classified information.
Yet the Secret Service claims that in its almost 150-year history, the agency has not had one traitor in its midst.
But how could it be possible that not a single person has ever infiltrated the organization? EMMETT: Every five years, an agent undergoes a background reinvestigation.
Part of that reinvestigation is looking at the person's finances in terms of unexplainable affluence.
If an agent's making $80,000 a year but is living in a $1 million house with a Ferrari, something is probably not right.
And so the Secret Service wants to know, where's that money coming from? AMBINDER: The Secret Service keeps pretty close tabs on its agents.
But, look, the nightmare scenario exists.
No one can say that it will never happen.
If you just think about it on a basic level, you are allowing a bunch of extremely highly-trained Americans with guns right next to the president.
MULLER: If a traitor ever infiltrated the Secret Service, the worst-case scenario is a dead president.
I hope it never happens.
NARRATOR: Although the notion of a Secret Service agent turning rogue seems unthinkable, some critics believe it is only a matter of time before the high standards of the agency become compromised, especially in an age of so-called political correctness.
March 27, 2013.
11 months after the prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Julia Pierson, the first female director of the United States Secret Service, takes the oath of office.
AMBINDER: The Secret Service, like every other law enforcement agency, has adjusted to the reality of women who are rising in the ranks.
If you're thinking of this frat boy culture within the Secret Service, if it does exist now, it won't exist in ten years.
BASHAM: The new director is taking some steps that is going to go a long way in changing the attitudes of certain people who think that they are above the organization or the White House.
You can't go out and do something that's going to damage the reputation of a organization that I think is one of the best law enforcement organizations in the world.
NARRATOR: But as witnesses to some of the most important decision-making moments in history, are today's agents really willing to take the secrets they have been entrusted with to their graves? Can their honesty and integrity really be taken for granted? SPRIGGS: It's an honor to be on the front row seat of history when you're assigned to the Presidential Protective Division.
You could fill libraries with the secrets of the Secret Service.
GOLDEN: During campaigns, we protect the candidates.
And my first candidate was Jesse Jackson.
There are things I heard in the limousine and interacted with him that I would keep private.
You are sworn to secrecy, no matter who it is.
KRISTOL: On Air Force Two, for example, there'd be very classified briefings, obviously.
And often there'd be an agent who would be privy to such information because he'd be standing in the room.
And we never even gave a thought, actually, to the fact that that would be a problem, and it never was.
BASHAM: This is serious business.
It is about the safety and security of the United States.
The Secret Service motto is "Worthy of Trust and Confidence.
" And it just becomes a part of your religion in the organization.
NARRATOR: Given the ever-changing threats facing today's world, the Secret Service stands ready to combat any sinister plot against the White House, the nation and the American public.
PIERSON: The challenges for protection of the president are gonna continue to grow.
The types of threats against our financial infrastructure and other core critical infrastructure for this country, as it becomes more easily accessed and maintained by cyber networks, are going to be more vulnerable than ever.
So we'll continue to grow and adapt and meet each of these evolving threats.
NARRATOR: For nearly 150 years, the United States Secret Service has been highly regarded as one of the most elite law enforcement agencies in the world.
They have quietly stood guard everywhere from the gates of the White House and top secret laboratories to undercover field operations and alongside the president of the United States.
But what of the future? Will the brave men and women of the Secret Service continue to dedicate their lives in order to protect the security of a nation? And in an age of tell-all books and social media, can they really be trusted to keep the contents of America's Book of Secrets to themselves? A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS access.
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