PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii

TABLE OF CONTENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v

LETTER FROM THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii

LETTER FROM THE INSPECTOR GENERAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix








































On September 12, 1994, at 1:49 a.m., a Cessna 150L airplane crashed onto the South Lawn of the White House, killing the pilot, Frank Eugene Corder, but injuring no one else. The plane came to a halt against the south wall of the Executive Mansion, causing minimal damage. President Clinton and his family were not in residence at the time; hence, they were never in any danger.

This incursion into the White House Complex commanded the immediate attention of then-Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen, who directed Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement Ronald K. Noble and United States Secret Service Director Eljay B. Bowron to conduct a "thorough and comprehensive" investigation into the circumstances leading to the plane crash, the response of the United States Secret Service (Secret Service), and the adequacy of the procedures used to protect the President and First Family within the White House Complex. In response to the Secretary's directive, Under Secretary Noble formed the White House Security Review (the Review). This directive to conduct an exhaustive inquiry has been adopted fully by the present Secretary of the Treasury, Robert E. Rubin.

Shortly after the Review was established, a second disturbing incident occurred. On a mild, October afternoon, a lone individual, Francisco Martin Duran, positioned himself in front of the White House grounds and fired twenty-nine rounds from a semiautomatic assault rifle into the North Facade of the White House, endangering the lives of Secret Service Uniformed Division officers, White House visitors, and members of the press. Immediately, three nearby citizens subdued Duran, and Secret Service Uniformed Division officers took him into custody. Despite the presence of tourists, White House staff, Secret Service personnel, and others in the line of fire and on the sidewalk near Duran, no one was injured. President Clinton was in a room facing the south side of the Executive Mansion at the time of the incident and was never in any danger. The barrage of bullets struck the North Facade of the White House eleven times, including one bullet that penetrated a window in the Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

Leon Panetta, President Clinton=s Chief of Staff, asked that the shooting incident be incorporated into Treasury=s Review. Secretary Bentsen expanded the scope of the Review and directed it to examine the following:

i) The facts surrounding the September 12, 1994 plane crash on the South Lawn and the October 29, 1994 shooting by Francisco Martin Duran at the White House Complex;

ii) The dangers posed to the White House Complex and protectees therein, by air or ground assaults;

iii) The adequacy of the procedures and policies currently used by the Secret Service to address these dangers;

iv) The effectiveness of established mechanisms for communicating to the Secret Service vital intelligence information concerning possible air and ground assaults received by all relevant federal, state and local authorities (e.g., the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and state and local police);

v) The feasibility of techniques and measures, including state-of-the-art technologies, to enhance the capability of the Secret Service to safeguard the White House Complex and protectees therein from air and ground assaults; and,

vi) The need to keep the White House open and accessible to the American public without jeopardizing valid security concerns.

In late December 1994, four additional incidents were reported by the media as possible security breaches at the White House. The most significant of these incidents occurred the morning of December 17, 1994, when four shots were fired from a 9mm handgun at the Executive Residence from an unknown point south of the Ellipse. Two shots landed short of the Executive Residence, one landed on the State Floor balcony, and the fourth penetrated a window in the State Floor Dining Room. The other three incidents were examined because they occurred during the pendency of the Review and were reported by the media as raising further questions about White House security. These incidents did not, however, pose any serious threat to the security of the President. In fact, they are representative of events commonly faced by the Secret Service and the United States Park Police (Park Police).

The first of these incidents occurred on December 21, 1994, when Secret Service Uniformed Division officers opened the Southwest Gate to the White House Complex to permit an authorized vehicle to enter. When the gate was opened, an individual ran through it and started up West Executive Avenue. The individual was apprehended immediately by Uniformed Division officers. This individual had been identified previously by the Secret Service for his peculiar and extreme interest in the White House.

The second of these incidents occurred early in the morning of December 23, 1994, when a Secret Service Uniformed Division officer patrolling the South Executive Avenue sidewalk just south of the White House Complex grounds noticed a suspicious-looking individual. A Park Police officer, who was alerted by the Secret Service, conducted a protective search of the individual and recovered a 9mm handgun.

The third incident also occurred on December 23, 1994, when a man parked his car on E Street between the South Lawn of the White House grounds and the Ellipse and exited the vehicle, leaving the motor running. The man then sprinted across the Ellipse toward the Washington Monument. Both Uniformed Division and Park Police officers approached him and said that he could not leave his car parked in that location. The man told the officers that the car contained a bomb. The Uniformed Division officers immediately called for an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician to examine the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed that it did not in fact contain any explosive devices.

One final incident occurred during the Review that received national news coverage because it was a fatal shooting that occurred in front of the White House. On December 20, 1994, an individual wielding a knife threatened a Park Police officer on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House. The individual, Marcelino Corniel, then ran across the street to the sidewalk directly in front of the White House. Park Police and Secret Service Uniformed Division officers surrounded the individual and demanded that he drop his knife. Subsequently, he was fatally shot by a Park Police officer. This incident did not concern the security of the White House Complex, but concerned primarily the conduct of an officer outside the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury. This incident is currently the subject of a homicide investigation (as is any fatal shooting by a law enforcement officer in the District of Columbia), and was not incorporated into the Review. The incident demonstrated, however, the possible problems inherent in having multiple law enforcement agencies share jurisdiction over the streets and parks contiguous to the White House.


The events that led to the formation of the Review generated intense public interest in the personal security of the President and First Family, and in the physical security of the White House Complex. As President Clinton recognized in his weekly Saturday radio address following the Corder incident, the Executive Residence is regarded by the public as the "People's House." Nevertheless, it is vitally important to preserve the confidentiality of the protective methodology employed by the Secret Service. To respond to the public demand for a thorough accounting, while also satisfying the Review's obligation to safeguard national security information, the Secretary of the Treasury reached beyond the Department of the Treasury for assistance in conducting this inquiry. Six individuals universally esteemed for their professional achievement and integrity were invited to serve on an Advisory Committee to the Review. The Committee's role, as defined in the Mission Charter, was to "assure that the Review [was] comprehensive and objective, that its findings [were] supported by the facts, and its recommendations [were] sound."

The following individuals volunteered countless hours of their time, shared their insights, and contributed their expertise to ensure that the Review was conducted in a rigorous, thorough, and impartial manner:

ROBERT CARSWELL. Mr. Carswell served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 1977 to 1981. Prior to that he served as an officer in the Office of Naval Intelligence (1952 - 1955) and as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury (1962 - 1965). In 1980, he served as the United States negotiator of the financial provisions contained in the United States - Iran hostage accord. In 1964, Mr. Carswell worked on an internal review of the Secret Service's Presidential protective operations in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. He is currently a senior partner at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling.

WILLIAM T. COLEMAN, JR. Secretary Coleman served as Secretary of the Department of Transportation from 1975 to 1977. Secretary Coleman was a principal author of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Supreme Court brief in Brown v. Board of Education. He has compiled a distinguished record of public service, having served as senior consultant and counsel to the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy; Co-Chairman of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on South Africa; Consultant to the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Member of the National Commission on Productivity, and Member of the President's Committee on Government Employment Policy. He is currently a senior partner at the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers.

CHARLES W. DUNCAN, JR. Secretary Duncan served as Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Carter and, in 1979, he became the second Secretary of the Department of Energy. Secretary Duncan also has enjoyed a distinguished career in the private sector. He held various management positions at Duncan Foods in Houston, Texas, and later served as chairman of Coca-Cola Europe. In 1971, he became President of the Coca-Cola Corporation, a position he held until 1974.

DAVID C. JONES. General Jones served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1978 to 1982. Previously, he served four years as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. During the Korean War, General Jones was assigned to a bombardment squadron and accumulated more than 300 flying hours on missions over North Korea. In 1969, he served in Vietnam as Deputy Commander for Operations and as Vice-Commander of the Seventh Air Force. He also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Air Forces in Europe and, concurrently, as Commander of the Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force. In that position, he played a principal role in establishing the integrated air headquarters in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Central Region, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe.

JUDITH RODIN. Dr. Rodin is President of the University of Pennsylvania. Until her appointment to that position, she held the Philip R. Allen Professorship of Psychology at Yale University. She joined the faculty at Yale in 1972, and later served as Provost and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has published 203 articles in academic journals and has authored and co-authored ten books. Dr. Rodin also serves as a member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

WILLIAM H. WEBSTER. Judge Webster was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in 1970 and elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 1973. He was appointed Director of the FBI in 1978, and held that position until 1987, at which time he was appointed Director of the CIA, a position he held until 1991. Judge Webster also served as Special Advisor to the Los Angeles Police Commission, which was formed following the civil unrest relating to the Rodney King incident. He is currently a senior partner at the law firm of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy.

The Advisors met five times as a group to discuss the work and findings of the Review. Advisors also met individually with Under Secretary Noble and members of the Review to review documents, examine facilities, receive individual briefings and analyze data. Upon completion of the investigation, the Advisors discussed the Classified Report, the final recommendations of the Review, and the Classified Report's Executive Summary.

The Review was divided into two parts. The Under Secretary formed a Review Team for Main Treasury, and the Director of the Secret Service formed an investigative team within the Secret Service. The Main Treasury Review was conducted by attorneys, most of whom were from outside the Department of the Treasury. The Executive Director for the Review was David L. Douglass, a former federal prosecutor, who is presently an attorney at the law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding. R. Keith Walton, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of the Treasury (Enforcement), and Barbara Mack Harding, an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis and a former federal prosecutor, served as Deputy Directors. Elisabeth A. Bresee, a former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, served as the Director. Four individuals served as Assistant Directors: Lewis A. Grossman, an attorney at Covington & Burling; James E. Johnson, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division for the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Neil McKittrick, an attorney at Hill & Barlow; and Alison Tucher, who had just completed a clerkship with Justice Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Furthermore, the Review could not have been completed without substantial assistance from the following members of the team: Ina W.E. Boston, Intelligence Specialist; Lorraine Rooks Cary, Writer-Editor; Shana Dixon, Management Program Technician; Gail V. Harris-Berry, Office Manager; Adrian Olson, Management Information Specialist; and Loretta P. Veres, Assistant Office Manager.

In addition, the Treasury Inspector General, Valerie Lau, attended Advisory Committee meetings and monitored the work of the Review to ensure that the Secretary's directive was implemented properly. Inspectors from her office met regularly with members of the Review, attended briefings, reviewed documents gathered during the course of the Review, and reviewed the Classified Report throughout the drafting process. A copy of the Inspector General's letter to the Secretary of the Treasury reporting the findings and evaluation of her office precedes this summary. Edward S. Knight, General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury, provided advice and assistance to the Review and the Advisory Committee. Robert M. McNamara, Jr., Assistant General Counsel of the Treasury (Enforcement), provided counsel to the Review.

The Review retained consultants to evaluate various technical aspects of its analysis. These consultants provided oral briefings to the Review and submitted written reports, which are included in the Appendix to the Classified Report. The Review's consultants include:

MERRILL A. MCPEAK. General McPeak recently retired as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, a position he had held since 1990. As Chief, he served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for a combined active duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian force of over 850,000 people serving at approximately 1,300 locations in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he functioned as a military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Counsel, and the President. General McPeak provided expert advice to the Review concerning command and control issues and technical options. General McPeak also acted as the Review's liaison to the Department of Defense working groups formed to assist the Review.

EUGENE F. GRENEKER. Currently Mr. Greneker is the Physical Security Technical Area Manager of the Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Greneker has served as the Project Director of eleven major projects conducted through the Georgia Tech Research Institute, each incorporating radar as the focal point. These radar-related investigations have been conducted for the United States Army, the United States Air Force, Sandia National Laboratories, the United States Customs Service, the National Highway Safety Administration, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the State of Georgia Governor's Office. Mr. Greneker provided advice on radar-related issues.

ROBERT P. BRLETICH. Lieutenant Colonel Brletich is the Chief, Physical Security Branch, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans for the United States Army. He has twenty-three years of extensive experience in physical security, law enforcement, administration, and policy formulation. Lieutenant Colonel Brletich provided advice on matters relating to physical security at the White House Complex.

To manage the Secret Service's internal investigation, Director Bowron assigned nine seasoned Secret Service Inspectors, under the direction of Assistant Director of the United States Secret Service Office of Inspection James G. Huse, Jr., a twenty-four year veteran of the Secret Service, who also served in two combat tours in Vietnam as an Army officer, to conduct the initial investigation. These Inspectors drew upon their familiarity with Secret Service policies, practices, and history to gather relevant facts and to memorialize the Service's oral history with regard to its air defense and ground defense practices. They also acted as the Secret Service's liaison to the Review Team.

The Secret Service also retained seven outside consultants to assist in evaluating the Service's responses to the underlying incidents, and to study options for improving the security of the White House. The Secret Service's consultants also provided oral briefings to the Review and submitted written reports, which are included in the Appendix of the Classified Report. The Secret Service's consultants include:

MARTIN ANNIS. Dr. Annis is President of AnnisTech, a research and development company specializing in the development of inspection systems to deter terrorists and narcotics smugglers. Dr. Annis has performed research in the use of x-radiation from nuclear weapons to intercept Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), and is recognized worldwide for his expertise in x-ray technology. Dr. Annis is also a private pilot who is familiar with air traffic problems in the Washington, D.C. area.

PETER T. BERRY. Major General Berry is the Commander, United States Army Criminal Investigative Command, Falls Church, Virginia. Major General Berry has commanded numerous Army criminal investigations detachments in Europe, Korea, and the United States. He also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

WILLIAM C. BOYKIN. Colonel Boykin is a former Commanding Officer for the United States Army, Delta Force. He is an expert on counterterrorism and special operations.

JOE E. DOLLAR. Dr. Dollar is the Chief Scientist of the National Air Intelligence Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dr. Dollar has developed telemetry ground stations for use by NASA, and has coordinated technical intelligence for the United States Army Missile Command Intelligence Directorate. He has served on numerous threat advisory groups, and has published several studies related to missile and air defense systems.

W. DOUGLAS GOW. Former Associate Deputy Director of the FBI, Mr. Gow is a nationally recognized expert on terrorism and intelligence affairs. Currently Mr. Gow is a consultant to the CIA on counterintelligence policy.

DAN SWARTWOOD. As Senior Program Manager, Mantech Strategic Associates, Ltd., Mr. Swartwood manages contracts involving compliance with international treaty requirements for both government and commercial clients. He is an authority on Operations Security (OPSEC) and the safeguarding of proprietary information.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY CONSULTANT. Former Special Assistant to the Director of the CIA for Central Intelligence for Counterterrorism from 1988 to 1992. This consultant is currently a senior CIA official who reviews operational security issues and is an expert in field operations.


The Investigation

Because the Review constituted the most complete inquiry ever conducted into the protective methodology of the Secret Service by non-Treasury personnel, the documents reflecting this information were handled uniformly according to security protocols established by the Secret Service. In addition, background checks were conducted on all non-Secret Service Review personnel. All participants, including Advisory Committee members, Review members, officials from other federal agencies and congressional staff members, signed non-disclosure agreements before they were given access to any information. The non-disclosure agreements did not, however, prevent any Review member from sharing relevant information with appropriate Congressional Oversight Committees.

During the Secret Service's internal review, former Secret Service personnel were interviewed on a variety of topics. At the direction of the Under Secretary, the Secret Service reserved interviews of non-Secret Service witnesses for the Main Treasury Review, to reduce any appearance of partiality. The Secret Service located and collected documents relevant to the Review from the files and archives of the Secret Service. At the conclusion of its internal investigation, the Secret Service presented a report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Review for further analysis.

The documents and interview reports compiled by the Secret Service served as the starting point for the Review's evaluation. After evaluating the Secret Service report, the Review interviewed Secret Service personnel, obtained additional documents, and interviewed individuals from other agencies. When the Review required a definitive statement of official Secret Service policy, it submitted written questions to the Secret Service.

The Review also consulted extensively with numerous other governmental agencies. At the request of the Review, the Department of Defense convened working groups of technical experts in air and ground intrusion detection and response to evaluate the surveillance systems presently deployed at the White House Complex. The Review also consulted the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on air traffic control and radar detection issues. The Review consulted the CIA and the FBI concerning terrorist activity and how those agencies share intelligence information with the Secret Service. The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) provided detailed analyses to the Review on the availability and effectiveness of various types of weapons and explosives, as well as information regarding the weapons seized pursuant to the October 29, 1994 shooting. The State Department provided information concerning its protection of United States embassies overseas. The Review consulted the United States Capitol Police regarding the challenges they face, and the policies and methods they use to meet those challenges to provide security at the Capitol building. The Park Police provided information regarding specific incidents and their role in patrolling areas contiguous to the White House Complex.

In addition, the Review examined Secret Service facilities and systems, examined the scenes of the underlying incidents, and observed air traffic control tower operations at Washington National Airport. Members of the Review and its consultants observed tests and demonstrations of systems proposed or being evaluated for use by the Secret Service.

The Review consulted official representatives of the protective security agencies for the heads of state of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Israel, and Korea, as well as the security agency for the Vatican City. These consultations provided an opportunity to discuss and compare the challenges and constraints faced by the Secret Service's foreign counterparts as they endeavor to achieve an appropriate level of security in their respective societies. The Review learned that, without exception, there is significantly greater public access to the White House than to the residences of the chief executives abroad. For instance, the White House is the only executive residence where public tours are permitted while the Chief Executive is in residence. Moreover, the foreign protective agency representatives uniformly praised the Secret Service as being one of the most elite protective agencies in the world. In fact, several of the foreign protective agencies interviewed stated that they model their protective operations after those of the Secret Service.

The Review also interviewed former Presidents Ford, Carter, and Bush to obtain their perspectives as long-time protectees of the Secret Service. These interviews illuminated the unique relationship between the Secret Service and Presidents and former Presidents. The Review also sought the former Presidents' views as residents of the Executive Residence concerning the appropriate balance between security and public access to the White House Complex. The Presidential interviews highlighted, among other issues, the many special choices and compromises that must be made to balance the Secret Service's protective responsibilities against a President's desire to remain accessible to the public.

All totaled, the Review interviewed and received briefings from over 250 individuals from various agencies and organizations including, but not limited to, the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA, the FAA, ATF, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the Park Police, the Capitol Police, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. In addition, the Review examined over 1,000 documents from the agencies listed above.

The Review also met with representatives from groups concerned with public access, including Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; Fred Thomas, Chief of the MPD; members of the Bloomingdale Civic Association; Laurence Reuter, General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Dr. Daniel Boorstin, former Librarian of Congress; Dr. William Seale, the former White House Historian; George White, the Architect of the Capitol; Harvey Gantt, Chairman and Reginald Griffith, Executive Director of the National Capital Planning Commission; engineering representatives of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the District of Columbia Department of Public Works; and members of the Executive Committee for the Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House. Furthermore, the Review examined over 200 letters from private citizens concerned with security and public access to the White House.

In addition, the Review consulted with noted architects and urban planners regarding a pedestrian mall concept and public accessibility to the White House. These experts included Harold Adams, architect; Max Bond, architect; Mark Bunnell, landscape architect; Maxine Griffith, architect and member of the New York City Urban Planning Commission; Nicholas Quennell, landscape architect; Vincent Scully, architectural historian; William Hollingsworth Whyte, urban planner; and John Carl Warnecke, architect and designer of the Lafayette Square project for former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and early proponent and designer of a pedestrian mall in front of the White House. Furthermore, the Review met with noted transportation planner and traffic engineer, Georges Jacquemart.


The Review studied information that varied in sensitivity, including publicly available information, law enforcement sensitive but unclassified information, and classified information. The classified information covered the spectrum from confidential through Top Secret, and in very limited instances, codeword-classified information.

The Classified Report

The Classified Report is classified in its entirety at the Top Secret level. It contains the complete and detailed analysis of the findings and recommendations of the Review. The Classified Report itself is over 500 pages long. The Appendix to the Report, which includes the reports of all of the consultants and experts, as well as other documents, is over 260 pages. The Classified Report includes a detailed discussion, analysis, and critique of the Secret Service's response to each of the incidents reviewed; a broad and detailed discussion of air security and ground security at the White House; and a discussion and analysis of the Secret Service's Intelligence Operation. In addition, at the conclusion of each chapter of the Classified Report, the Review made numerous specific recommendations pertaining to the Corder incident, the Duran incident, air security, ground security, and intelligence. Furthermore, the Review made eleven major recommendations at the conclusion of the Classified Report. The majority of the Review's recommendations are not being disclosed to the public for security reasons.

The extreme sensitivity of some of the material contained in the Classified Report necessitates a strict limit on the number of copies in existence. Only two copies of the Classified Report exist. Finally, some information that the Review gathered was deemed so sensitive that it is not contained in the Classified Report and will be reported to the Secretary, the President, and the Congress in oral briefings only.

In addition to these precautions taken regarding the information included in the Classified Report, steps have also been taken to ensure the continued security of the Classified Report and the information contained therein, after the completion of the Review. The Department of the Treasury and the Congressional Oversight Committees have agreed that the Report will be reviewed only in the Specially Compartmented Intelligence Facility (SCIF) of the United States Congress. The Department of the Treasury and Congress have taken these steps to ensure the continued security of the sensitive information learned during the Review.

The Public Report

The Public Report provides a brief description of the underlying facts of the September 12, 1994 plane crash and the October 29, 1994 shooting incident. In addition, it describes the methodology employed by the White House Security Review to investigate these and other incidents and to examine the security of the White House Complex from air and ground incursions. Major recommendations from the Classified Report are included in the Public Report where it was possible to do so without compromising the security of the President and the White House Complex. Lastly, a history of the evolution of Presidential security is included to give perspective to the incidents and issues investigated by the Review. The information contained in the Public Report was extracted from the Classified Report.

The Review acknowledges that it cannot answer publicly many of the questions raised by the September 12, 1994 plane crash, the October 29, 1994 shooting incident, and security at the White House Complex. The interests of national security, the security of the President and the First Family, future Presidents, and the White House Complex demand that this information be strictly safeguarded. While the Review cannot reveal publicly the details of many of its findings, the Department of the Treasury has made every effort to assure the thoroughness and objectivity of the Review. The guidance of the Advisory Committee and the oversight provided by the Inspector General=s Office ensure the Review=s impartiality. In addition, the Review retained outside experts and consultants for their expertise in technology and operational protocol, as well as for their objectivity. Lastly, the Review has consulted and briefed the appropriate Congressional Oversight Committees throughout this investigation.


There were several significant limitations to this Review. First, the Review was concerned almost exclusively with the performance of the Secret Service rather than the performance of non-Treasury agencies. Although the responses and official policies of other agencies are noted where relevant, the Review generally did not evaluate the adequacy of those responses and policies. The Review was formed by the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury to examine the Secret Service, one of Treasury=s bureaus, which bears the ultimate responsibility for protecting the President.

Second, some of the incidents covered by the Review were the subject of criminal investigations. Accordingly, the Review was conducted so as not to interfere with either the investigations and pending prosecutions or the rights of the accused. Thus, no interviews concerning the October 29, 1994 shooting incident were conducted without prior notification of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and interviews were limited to Secret Service and other law enforcement personnel. Similarly, because it was the subject of a pending grand jury investigation, the Review relied on existing statements of Secret Service personnel in its limited review of the shooting of Marcelino Corniel -- the knife-wielding person who was shot in front of the White House on December 20, 1994.

Third, the Review focused on the practices, policies, and procedures of the Secret Service as an institution. The performance of individuals was not intended to be the focus of this effort. When a question of integrity arose, it was referred to the Secret Service Office of Inspection and the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

Fourth, as set out in its Mission Charter, the Review focused on the protective mission of the Secret Service at the White House Complex and did not address Secret Service protective activities at other locations. In addition, the Review did not investigate certain aspects of White House security. The specific aspects not examined by the Review are set forth in detail in the Classified Report.

Finally, the Review was never envisioned as an open-ended study of White House security. It was established to provide a limited assessment of specific incidents and the level of protection presently afforded at the White House. Although events occurring subsequent to the formation of the Review expanded its scope and duration, it nonetheless remained a finite project. Interim measures were adopted where necessary; permanent solutions were implemented where possible. Where solutions could not be identified or immediately implemented, the Review established a process to address and resolve the outstanding issues. Nonetheless, because the Under Secretary for Enforcement has direct line authority over the Director of the Secret Service, the Under Secretary can ensure that the lessons of this Review become integrated into the practices and procedures of the Secret Service.




On Sunday, September 11, 1994, after spending an evening with his brother consuming alcohol and smoking crack cocaine, Frank Eugene Corder asked his brother to drop him off in the vicinity of Aldino Airport in Churchville, Maryland. Corder walked to the airport and found the keys to a Cessna P150 airplane that had been returned to the airport earlier that day after having been rented by another individual. Although Corder was not a licensed pilot, he had taken several lessons in the aircraft and had flown it several times during the summer of 1993.

According to the airplane's hobbsmeter, which records the engine's total running time, Corder started the plane's engine at 11:55 p.m. FAA radar at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport first detected the airplane in the vicinity of York, Pennsylvania, at 1:06 a.m. Precisely what transpired in the interim is unknown.

Corder's flight path from York can be discerned from FAA radar records. He flew south for a short distance and then west. At 1:44 a.m., the National Airport tower began receiving transmissions that showed that Corder was approximately 6.5 miles north of the White House, flying at an altitude of 2700 feet. The aircraft descended approximately 1000 feet over the next three minutes. At 1:47 a.m., the airplane turned directly south. It passed over Washington Circle and entered the prohibited airspace that surrounds the White House at approximately 1:48 a.m. The protected airspace, designated as P-56, is a no-fly zone that generally encompasses the White House and the Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. The plane flew toward the Mall descending rapidly.

Corder then passed over the Ellipse and dove directly toward the White House at a steep angle of descent. His plane crashed onto the White House lawn just south of the Executive Mansion at approximately 1:49 a.m. The aircraft skidded across the ground, struck a magnolia tree just west of the South Portico steps, and hit the southwest corner of the first floor of the Mansion. The President and First Family were not in the Mansion at the time of the crash. They were residing at Blair House while the White House was undergoing renovations. There was minimal damage to the Mansion.

Corder died from multiple, massive blunt-force injuries. Based on the physical evidence, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the crash was intentional rather than a failed attempt at a controlled landing. The airplane's velocity on impact clearly exceeded a safe landing speed. Moreover, the airplane's wing flaps were up and its throttle position was "full forward," neither of which is characteristic of an aircraft in a landing posture. At the time of the crash, Corder was thirty-eight years old. He abused alcohol and cocaine, and faced a wide array of financial, marital, and legal problems. Both cocaine and alcohol were found in Corder's blood after the crash. The D.C. Medical Examiner ruled Corder's death a suicide. The Review did not discover information inconsistent with this conclusion.

Although Corder had previously expressed dissatisfaction with the policies of the Clinton administration and expressed antipathy to President Clinton, there is no evidence that the purpose of the flight was to harm the President or any other Secret Service protectee. Prior to this incident, Corder had not come to the attention of the Secret Service as a potential threat to its protectees. It appears that by crashing onto the White House lawn, Corder was attempting to fulfill an ambition he had expressed to friends to kill himself "in a big way" by flying an airplane into the White House or the dome of the Capitol.

Within minutes of the crash, the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) was notified, additional Secret Service personnel were dispatched to the scene, a perimeter was established, the Technical Security Division (TSD) and the military's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team were called to investigate for explosives. In addition, the D.C. Fire Department and paramedics were summoned, and the control tower at National Airport was contacted regarding the crash. Corder's name was also found and reported for investigation.

Within one hour of the crash, individuals representing seven agencies were at the site. In addition to Secret Service and EOD personnel, FBI, MPD, ATF, and NTSB representatives responded to the scene.

Individuals responding to the scene reported that the various agencies interacted efficiently and cooperatively. The work of rendering the scene safe, ensuring that the airplane did not contain explosives, securing the evidence, and initiating the criminal investigation proceeded in an organized fashion.


On Saturday October 29, 1994, at approximately 2:55 p.m., Francisco Martin Duran stood on the south sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Suddenly, he pulled a Chinese-made SKS semiautomatic rifle from underneath the tan trench coat he was wearing, pointed the barrel of the rifle through the bars of the White House fence, and fired multiple rounds toward the White House. He then pulled the weapon back from the fence and ran down the sidewalk from west to east, toward 15th Street, continuing to fire through the fence as he ran. When Duran paused to empty his magazine and reload, Harry Michael Rakosky, a tourist, tackled him. Two other citizens, Kenneth Alan Davis and Robert Edward Haines, ran over and assisted Rakosky in subduing Duran until Secret Service Uniformed Division officers arrived seconds later. Much of this incident -- most notably the heroic actions of the citizens -- was videotaped by Jerome Kenneth Agan, a tourist who was filming the White House when Duran began shooting. The videotape depicts Duran from the point he ran down Pennsylvania Avenue firing his weapon, to when he was taken into Secret Service custody.

Uniformed Division officers on the north grounds of the White House responded to the shots instantaneously. Several officers had drawn their weapons and sighted on Duran, but held their fire when he was tackled by Mr. Rakosky. Although the quick-thinking heroism of the citizens understandably eclipsed the actions of the Secret Service, the officers on duty nonetheless responded courageously and effectively under fire.

Specifically, an Emergency Response Team (ERT) officer was patrolling the north grounds when Duran opened fire. Using only the trees as cover, that officer ran across the North Lawn of the White House toward Duran, drawing his weapon as he ran. The videotape of the incident shows the officer running toward Duran as Duran is shooting in the officer's direction. When the gunfire stopped, the officer saw Duran reach toward his left coat pocket. As the officer neared the fence, he pointed his weapon at Duran. Before he could shoot, he saw a citizen lunge toward Duran. The officer held his fire, holstered his weapon, and climbed over the fence. He and a sergeant, who ran down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Northwest Gate, were the first two officers to reach Duran. The officer held Duran to the ground while ordering the citizens to move away from the area. He heard one of the citizens say, "Thanks for not shooting me." Duran then responded, "I wish you had shot me." The officer recovered a magazine from Duran's coat pocket loaded with thirty rounds of live ammunition.

A second ERT officer also was patrolling the north grounds, east of the North Portico, when he heard gun shots and saw a crowd of people running. He drew his weapon and ran toward the fence. Before the officer was able to fire, Duran was tackled. The officer then climbed over the fence and assisted the first officer.

When the shooting began, an ERT sergeant who was designated as the ERT team leader, ran east across the North Lawn behind the first officer, also using the trees for cover. After the citizens tackled Duran, the sergeant ran out the Northeast Gate and down the sidewalk to assist in placing Duran under arrest. The ERT sergeant then notified the PPD Command Center that the subject had been apprehended.

At the time of the shooting, President Clinton was watching television in a room on the south side of the Residence. PPD agents responded immediately to the President upon shots being fired. The President was the only protectee in the White House at that time, and was in no danger from this incident.

Duran was placed under arrest and transported to a Secret Service holding area at the Northwest Gate. Upon searching him, the Secret Service recovered a one-page, handwritten note identifying himself and his wife and directing the Secret Service to his vehicle, stating that it was parked near the White House. A lookout was broadcast, and approximately thirty minutes after his arrest, Duran's pick-up truck, bearing Colorado tag 23822JX, was located by a Uniformed Division K-9 officer. The truck was checked for explosives and eventually searched. Officers recovered a Mossberg 410 gauge shotgun, many boxes of ammunition, several gun-related items, and nerve gas antidote. The truck also contained several documents, including an atlas bearing a series of handwritten notes, one of which said "Kill the Pres!"

Duran fired at least twenty-nine shots at the White House. Miraculously, although there were many people on the north grounds at the time, no one was injured in the attack. Eleven of the rounds struck the White House facade. One bullet penetrated a window in the Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

Overall, the Secret Service responded efficiently and effectively to the shooting. ERT officers responded to the shooter, courageously moving toward Duran with only trees for cover. As the first shots were fired, PPD agents immediately responded to the President who was not in danger from the gunfire. ERT officers apprehended Duran within seconds of the last shot being fired, and Uniformed Division officers quickly determined that there were no injuries and secured the crime scene.

Duran was arrested and ultimately convicted on a ten-count, superseding indictment charging him with Attempted Murder of the President of the United States, four counts of Forcible Assault on an Officer of the United States, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Injury and Depredation Against Property of the United States (namely the White House), Carrying and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence, and Interstate Transportation of a Firearm. Duran asserted an insanity defense at trial. Duran's trial began on March 16, 1995, before United States District Court Judge Charles R. Richey and on April 4, 1995, he was found guilty on all counts. On June 29, 1995, Duran was sentenced to forty years imprisonment.

Prior to this incident, Duran was not on record with the Secret Service's Intelligence Division. On October 1, 1994, Duran's wife, Ingrid Duran, filed a missing person report with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, in Colorado, stating that he had been missing since September 30, 1994. On October 17, she contacted the FBI in Colorado Springs. Ingrid Duran informed the FBI that Duran had been missing for two weeks. She also reported that Duran had called her on October 15, 1994, stating that he was preparing to do something drastic. During that conversation, Duran stated that he would be killed in the "assault" that he was planning. He refused to tell her where he was headed, although she believed that he was in Texas or elsewhere in the central time zone of the United States. The FBI agent's report of that interview contains no reference to any Secret Service protectee or politics in any way. Thus, there is no basis to conclude that the Secret Service should have been notified prior to the shooting that Duran posed a threat to the President.

At the time of the shooting, Duran was twenty-six years old and last resided in Widefield, Colorado. He has a prior criminal record and received a Dishonorable Discharge from the United States Army in 1993. Before leaving Colorado, Duran told several people that he intended to kill President Clinton, although he did not provide a time frame. None of these individuals informed any local or federal law enforcement agency, including the Secret Service, of Duran's statements.

Investigators determined that Duran was in the D.C. Metropolitan area for nineteen days before October 29, 1994. There is no evidence that Duran had co-conspirators.



The United States Secret Service is recognized as, and is, the most effective protective security organization in the world. Many of its protective methodologies are viewed as innovative, and through its high level of professionalism, the Secret Service has established the standard against which all other protective security organizations measure themselves. In light of the findings made during this investigation, however, the Review, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, has identified certain areas where the Secret Service should implement changes in its operations to further enhance the security of the President, the First Family, and the White House Complex.

In its Classified Report, the Review made eleven major recommendations. Six of these are set forth below. The remaining five recommendations pertain to issues such as improving the monitoring of the restricted air space around the White House Complex, increasing training opportunities for Secret Service personnel, and installing security enhancements to the White House Complex. These recommendations are not included here for security reasons. In addition, the Review made numerous specific recommendations pertaining to the Corder incident, the Duran incident, air and ground security issues at the White House Complex, and the Secret Service's Intelligence Operation at the conclusion of each chapter in the Classified Report. These specific recommendations are also omitted. The following six major recommendations have been deemed appropriate for disclosure to the public.



The Review recommends that representatives from the Department of the Treasury (including the Secret Service) and the Department of Transportation (including the FAA) convene to consider a variety of changes to the civil air traffic rules that would enhance the security of the White House Complex without unduly hindering air traffic in the Washington, D.C. area.


Three unrelated law enforcement agencies share jurisdiction over the perimeter immediately adjacent to the White House Complex: the Secret Service, the United States Park Police and the MPD of the District of Columbia. These agencies should enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the coordination of their respective resources to ensure adequate security around the White House Complex, supplemented by annual review by all three entities regarding the efficacy and handling of incidents and procedures. The Review recommends that the MOU provide for the designation of a lead agency dependent on the violation, not the physical location of the suspect.


During crises at the White House Complex, the Secret Service, other federal and local law enforcement agencies, and fire, rescue and ordnance squads are among the many components that respond either pursuant to statute or by agreement. A dedicated forensic group composed of personnel from the various federal and local components that participate during emergencies at the White House Complex should be established. This forensic group would be responsible for collecting evidence, preserving the incident scene, and coordinating access to the White House grounds at those times.


Major incidents at the White House command the attention and interest of multiple law enforcement organizations, the media, and spectators. Essential prompt response would be improved by (i) upgraded communications among the law enforcement agencies and the various White House security posts and (ii) a comprehensive protocol which establishes that immediate operational command and control must be assumed by the Secret Service.


The Department of the Treasury, through the Office of the Under Secretary (Enforcement), will ensure the Secret Service's implementation of the Recommendations. The Department of the Treasury will assist the Secret Service in removing obstacles to the speedy implementation of security measures. Finally, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Defense will ensure that ongoing, sensitive security-related projects have structured, policy-level oversight.


Any plan to reroute traffic from the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House essentially affects local vehicular travel and commuter interests. After careful consideration of the information that has been provided, the Review is not able to identify any alternative to prohibiting vehicular traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue that would ensure the protection of the President and others in the White House Complex from explosive devices carried by vehicles near the perimeter. For the same reasons, the Review recommends prohibiting vehicular traffic on both State Place and the segment of South Executive Avenue that connects to State Place. The Review would prefer to recommend limiting traffic traveling on the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to small and medium size passenger vehicles. However, because the Review has been informed that it is impossible to implement a traffic system that would exclude only trucks, buses, and large vehicles, the Review must recommend excluding all vehicular traffic from the area between Madison Place and 17th Street and converting this segment to a pedestrian mall. There is significant evidence that this plan should significantly enhance the accessibility of the White House to visitors, but the Review recognizes that this step requires consultation among all interested parties.

(See diagram of proposed pedestrian access areas on the following page.)


The White House Security Review recommended prohibiting vehicular traffic from travelling along the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue between Madison Place and 17th Street. The Review proposed converting that area to a pedestrian mall or park. Based on consultations with experts on security, public access, and the history of the White House, the Review opined that this proposal would provide the general public with maximum pedestrian access to our nation's most important historic structure while averting a verified security concern.

The White House is, without question, a house unlike any other. For almost two hundred years it has symbolized the ultimate prize in this country's system of elected government, the American Presidency. The structure evokes the combination of prestige and constitutional authority that we vest in its principal occupant to influence domestic affairs and global politics. Whoever resides in the White House, by definition, assumes primacy among world leaders.

At the same time, the White House is a symbol of our very nation and the American people. First among federal buildings, it is a national treasure that reflects our unique heritage. Perhaps the most "American" aspect of the White House is its accessibility, as evidenced by the millions of Americans and foreign visitors who visit there each year. Since President Jefferson's day, the White House has been an emphatically public residence -- the "House of the People," which they may either enter or look upon without obstruction. In contrast, the great palaces of Europe were set within planned parks, high walls and fences designed with protection in mind. But the White House grounds were developed at a time when security was not a great concern in the United States. The openness of the White House to pedestrian visitors is therefore distinctive. Where else in the world can a citizen secure a ticket to enter and tour the actual residence of the head of state and government?

The Review's recommendation to prohibit vehicular traffic from travelling along the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue between Madison Place and 17th Street significantly enhances the public's access to their White House. This concept ensures that pedestrians may enter and enjoy the White House and its grounds, and feel that distinctively American closeness to those in high office. At the same time, the proposal significantly reduces the security risk posed to the White House, its residents, employees, and visitors by vehicles carrying explosives.

For similar reasons, the Review also recommended prohibiting vehicles from travelling on either State Place or the segment of South Executive Avenue that runs into State Place.

The Review consulted with numerous experts in the fields of architecture, history, and urban planning regarding the Pennsylvania Avenue area. The Review was concerned with assuring continued public accessibility to this national monument and preserving the historical character of the surrounding area. The following experts uniformly endorsed the idea of converting the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue to a pedestrian plaza:


The Review was established in the wake of unprecedented attacks on the White House. The Department of the Treasury responded to this extraordinary challenge by determining what happened, reporting the facts accurately and comprehensively, and ensuring that the Secret Service received the necessary support to discharge its most difficult mission in the best fashion possible. The work of the Review ensures that White House security is reinforced now and for future generations.

The most publicly noted of the Review=s numerous recommendations was the recommendation to restrict vehicular traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue between Madison Place and 17th Street in front of the White House.

On May 19, 1995, Secretary Rubin ordered the Director of the United States Secret Service to close the following streets to vehicular traffic: the segment of Pennsylvania Avenue between Madison Place and 17th Street in front of the White House, State Place, and the segment of South Executive Avenue that connects into State Place. The Secretary issued this order because there was no viable alternative that ensured the safety of the President and First Family, White House employees, and visitors from explosive-laden vehicles. Members of the Review=s Advisory Committee unanimously endorsed this decision.

Although the decision was potentially controversial, it has been accepted as a necessary measure. Americans can rest assured that the security of the White House, its occupants, and visitors has been enhanced without hindering public access. Public tours of the White House continue without interruption; pedestrians stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue without the disruption and annoyance of vehicles; and motorists can still view the White House from their vehicles via Constitution Avenue, E Street, and H Street.

Following the May 19, 1995 order, the Secret Service restricted vehicles on May 20, 1995, by placing barriers at designated locations on the affected streets. These barriers were intended as a temporary solution and will be replaced as the pedestrian plaza is developed.

To ensure the beauty and aesthetic appeal of the pedestrian plaza, the President asked the Department of the Interior=s National Park Service to work with a preexisting group, the Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House, to create and implement a short-term beautification plan. In addition, they have been tasked with developing and implementing a long-term design for the area. The long-term design will allow for authorized vehicles to access Pennsylvania Avenue, which will continue as the site of the Inaugural parade. The National Park Service, the Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House, and other interested parties continue to meet regularly to accomplish this important endeavor.

The Secretary=s order also affected traffic around the White House. The President asked the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to address short-term traffic issues and create long-term plans for managing traffic in the surrounding area. Immediately after the restriction to vehicular traffic was imposed, the Federal Highway Administration joined with the District of Columbia=s Department of Public Works to reroute traffic and ensure a smooth transition to the new traffic patterns. The Federal Highway Administration commissioned a traffic study to analyze this issue in a comprehensive manner. The Metropolitan Police Department assisted with the transition to the new traffic pattern by providing the officers necessary to direct traffic, thereby easing access for commuters and other motorists.

The Classified Report of the Review contains numerous other recommendations regarding security at the White House. The Secret Service has implemented, and continues to implement, the remaining recommendations of the Review. When appropriate, the Secret Service is working with other federal and local agencies to achieve these recommendations. The Department of the Treasury is overseeing this implementation process.



The "White House Complex" is composed of four principal structures: the Executive Mansion, where the First Family resides; the Old Executive Office Building, the location of the executive offices of the President and the Vice-President; the West Wing, the location of the official office of the President; and the East Wing, the official reception entrance to the State Rooms of the Executive Mansion.

When George Washington was elected the first President of the United States in 1789, there was neither a permanent capital city nor a permanent official residence for the Chief Executive. The seat of government first rested in Philadelphia and later, New York City. Congress then enacted the Residence Act of 1790, granting President Washington the authority to locate the permanent "federal capital" wherever he pleased. President Washington delegated to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson the responsibility for carrying out the project. Both men were Virginians who had long favored establishing the nation's capital in the South. They set their sights on a 10-square-mile district overlooking the Potomac River for the federal enclave. The central feature of the federal city would be the executive residence of the President.

When the cornerstone of the Executive Mansion was laid in 1792, it was done against the backdrop of extensive political wrangling. Although Washington and Jefferson shared a view of where the capital should be located, they had very different opinions of central executive authority and the appropriate character of the nascent Presidency. The plan for the District of Columbia originally proposed by Pierre L'Enfant, and approved in principle by President Washington, called for a "Presidential palace" five times the size of the structure we now know as the White House. L'Enfant's plan, suitable for "ages to come," embodied the Federalist Party's exalted, monarchial notion of the Presidency. Federalist Party leaders argued that Americans wanted their President to establish a high tone, essentially as an elected king set apart from the people. Washington himself thought that, as President, it was his responsibility "to conform to the public desire and expectation with respect to the style proper for the Chief Magistrate to live in." (Seale, Vol. I, p. 5). This logic required that the Chief Magistrate live in a palace.

The Republican opposition, led by Jefferson, despised the royalist pretense that they believed L'Enfant's proposed "Presidential palace" embodied. Reacting to what they perceived to be the potential for abusive executive authority, the Republicans systematically discredited L'Enfant's plan as one of grandeur unbefitting a democracy. Jefferson even argued, albeit unsuccessfully, that the "President's house," as it was increasingly called, should be constructed of brick rather than stone. He urged that the new capital should evoke simplicity rather than the aristocratic airs commonplace in the kingdoms of Europe.

To resolve the impasse, Jefferson proposed to President Washington that the executive residence be built according to the best plan submitted in a national competition. Washington agreed and eventually settled on a design by the architect James Hoban. The structure, referred to in this report as the AExecutive Mansion@ or the AWhite House,@ was completed in eight years. In 1800, John Adams became the first President to occupy it.

A second structure, formerly known as the State, War & Navy Building, was added to the White House Complex in 1873-74. The State, War, and Navy Departments occupied the office space concurrently until just after World War II. Since that time, the building, now known as the Old Executive Office Building, has contained the Executive Office of the President, the Executive Office of the Vice-President, and the White House Office.

The construction of the West and East Wings was not nearly so marked by controversy as the building of the Executive Mansion itself. Until the West Wing was built in 1902, the President and his aides historically shared offices in designated areas of the Executive Mansion. As the authority and prestige of the Presidency grew, so did the space occupied by the Executive Office of the President, which encroached upon the First Family's living quarters. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President upon the assassination of William McKinley, and the largest First Family ever moved into the Executive Mansion with him. Immediately dissatisfied with the cramped living quarters, President Roosevelt determined that the Executive Mansion required drastic remodeling. Renovations ensued, and the West Wing, then known as the "Temporary Executive Office," was constructed to house the Executive Office of the President. As the name suggests, the architects did not expect the structure to become permanent. Moreover, they originally intended it to accommodate only the President's personal staff. It was not until 1909 that the President moved his official workplace into the West Wing.

The East Wing is the most recently built administrative structure within the White House Complex. The building was constructed as part of the World War II mobilization effort. President Franklin Roosevelt believed that his staff would increase dramatically because of the administrative demands of the war. To meet the need for additional office space, he considered erecting several temporary buildings on the south grounds. Upon further reflection, Roosevelt opted instead to construct a permanent structure similar to the West Wing, but on the east side of the Executive Residence. The East Wing was occupied in 1942, although construction was not fully completed until 1945. During World War II, Roosevelt directed military operations from the East Wing and provided the recently enlarged White House Police with permanent office space in the new structure. Later, a reception area was added to the East Wing. Today, the East Wing serves as the reception entrance for tours and social events at the Executive Mansion.


To some degree, the Executive Mansion has always been both the residence and office of the President and a national treasure -- the "People's House." Even while the Mansion was being built, the public wandered in and out with impunity; eventually, the Marshal of Washington ordered it closed to anyone who did not possess a written pass. Since that time, Presidents have grappled with the question of the extent to which the public should be given access to the Executive Mansion. A rough pattern developed, beginning in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, of gradually increasing restrictions on public access to the White House Complex, due largely to concerns for the personal security of the President and his family.

Just as the Jeffersonian Republicans considered L'Enfant's notion of a "Presidential palace" anti-democratic, so too did they reject any effort to deny public access to the Executive Mansion. Indeed, it was President Jefferson himself who began the liberal practice of throwing open the doors of the Mansion each day so that visitors might freely browse the State Rooms. The early rule was simply that the Mansion was closed to the public only during early morning hours and when the President was either asleep or out of town. President Jefferson even went so far as to display in the State Rooms plants, animals, and other specimens obtained by Lewis and Clark during their expedition through the Louisiana Purchase territory. Jefferson's intent was clear: he opened the Executive Mansion to callers in order to lessen the grandeur of the vaunted Federalist "palace." Commenting on the practice, the novelist James Fenimore Cooper wrote:

I have known a cartman to leave his horse in the street and go to a reception room to shake hands with the President. He offended the good taste of all present, because it was not thought decent that a laborer should come in dirty dress on such an occasion; but while he made a trifling mistake in this particular he proved how well he understood the difference between government and society. He knew that a levee was a sort of homage paid to political equality in the person of the first magistrate, but he would not have presumed to enter the house of the same person as a private individual without being invited. (Seale, Vol. I, p. 159).

Through the first quarter of the twentieth century, Jefferson's successors and their wives continued to greet visitors briefly in the East Room each day at lunchtime. The inaugurations of Andrew Jackson in 1828 and William Henry Harrison in 1840 remain noteworthy for the unfettered White House access that was granted to the raucous crowds celebrating these events. While the original political motivation for the practice has perhaps dissipated, the State Rooms of the Executive Mansion have remained open to public view since Jefferson's time, except during the Spanish American War and the two World Wars. Presently, more than 1.5 million visitors tour the Mansion each year.

Throughout most of the history of the White House, the public was given even freer access to the grounds than to the Mansion itself. By most accounts, the White House grounds were originally as open as a public market. In the early years of the nineteenth century, they were considered a prime attraction for sightseers. Until the construction of the Washington Monument and the mound on which it rests, there was a fairly unobstructed view of the Potomac River from the ridge where the Executive Mansion sat. Many sought the enjoyment of this vantage point and the beauty of the Executive Mansion's renowned landscaping. Access to the grounds was limited only by a succession of walls and fences that had been constructed through the years, beginning in Jefferson's time. These structures forced visitors to use the adjacent public thoroughfares when walking the entire length of the grounds. Eventually, guards were retained (later replaced by the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service and its forerunners) to regulate the flow of visitors to the grounds. As William Seale has written, in the Antebellum era:

[t]he iron gates to the White House grounds opened at eight in the morning and closed at sundown. Almost anyone was likely to wander [the well-manicured gardens], along the paths. Naturally eager to see the President and his household, visitors stared up at the second-floor windows, and sometimes they ventured where they should not. Without the garden on the east, secluded in its trees, the President would have had no private access to the out-of-doors. A sentry box ... stood at the gate separating the garden from the rest of the south grounds. The public was prohibited from entering there, [and] the household went to and from the garden unseen. (Seale, Vol. I, pp. 324-325).

It was not until World War II that free public access to the White House grounds during daylight hours was finally ended. Security measures would never again be as relaxed as they were before the war. Since that time, visitors have been required to report to gates around the perimeter of the White House Complex instead of simply being allowed to walk to the front door of the Executive Mansion. Only those with official appointments have been permitted onto the grounds, and only after careful scrutiny. As a Presidential insider of the World War II era wistfully remarked concerning the new arrangements, "No more Congressional constituents, no more government clerks hurrying through the grounds ... no more Sunday tourists feeding the squirrels, taking snapshots and hanging around the portico hoping someone interesting would come out." (Goodwin, p. 298).

Notwithstanding the trend toward restricting public access to the grounds, the Executive Mansion remains one of among the world's only chief executive residences to operate as an open museum. At the same time that it serves as the home and office of the President, its State Rooms are opened each day to visitors from throughout the country and the world.


Those responsible for providing security at the Executive Mansion have always had to strike a balance between functional needs and the preservation of the White House's image as an enduring symbol of democracy. Most Presidents have embraced President Jefferson's first principle that the Executive Mansion should be open and easily accessible. Such an atmosphere is difficult to achieve with guards and locked gates. Nevertheless, President Jefferson himself ordered the construction of a high stone wall to replace the temporary rail fence around the perimeter of the White House grounds. At least some of this wall was erected, including a section on the north border of the grounds that completely blocked the view of the Mansion from the city commons, known as Lafayette Park. President Monroe, who wanted Americans to look freely upon the "President's house," replaced the stone wall with a curving iron fence. Monroe's democratic impulses did not, however, prevent him from installing gates equipped with heavy locks. Eventually, an 8-foot-high section of stone wall that stood along the south border of the grounds was also replaced with an iron fence, and fences were constructed on the east and west sides as well.

Along with a number of guardhouses, the iron fence surrounding the grounds remained the White House's only visible structural concession to security needs for most of its history. Nevertheless, more recent Presidents have also been forced to address the often competing concerns of architectural integrity, public access, and physical security. In the days immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, for example, the Secret Service presented President Roosevelt with a lengthy set of recommendations to enhance security at the White House Complex. The Secret Service proposed covering the skylights with sand and tin, camouflaging the structure, painting the colonnade windows black, and setting up machine-gun emplacements on the roof. The President rejected most of the suggestions "with not a little annoyance" but agreed to a number of less obtrusive ones. (Goodwin, p. 299).

A visitor to the White House Complex today cannot help but notice several visible measures that have been installed since World War II to enhance the physical security of the White House. For example, in the 1980s, following the terrorist assaults on the Marine barracks and the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, concrete Jersey barriers were installed at the Complex's perimeter. These have since been replaced by reinforced bollards. Moreover, perimeter fencing and gates have been reinforced in recent decades. Additional guardhouses have been erected at various points on the grounds, and both East and West Executive Avenues have been closed to vehicular and, at times, pedestrian traffic. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers are near at hand, as are Park Police officers and other security personnel. As has always been the case, these precautions have been taken to ensure that the President enjoys the highest level of security that is consistent with democratic principles.


Just as a "Presidential palace" with restricted public access was considered anti-democratic, at one time the idea of stationing guards in and around the White House Complex was considered wholly inappropriate to the nation's character. During the nineteenth century, only wartime Presidents would dare risk doing so, and then only if the District of Columbia itself were threatened. A children's primer that was popular during the Civil War illustrated the then-widely accepted distinction between the security that is provided for a monarch and the security given to a President:

How are emperors and kings protected?
By great troops of guards; so that it is difficult to approach them.
How is the president guarded?
He needs no guards at all; he may be visited by any persons like a private citizen. (Mitchell, p. 14).

For a century after President John Adams first moved into the Executive Mansion, the protection of the Mansion and its residents remained a relatively minor concern, except during wartime. Various combinations of policemen, guards, and soldiers furnished security for the President's home. There was no sign, however, of the extensive and organized security arrangements that would develop in the twentieth century.

Perhaps the earliest indication of concern for the security of the Executive Mansion was contained in Thomas Jefferson's plans for the grounds. These plans, drawn in 1803 or 1804, included a series of gate lodges for guards. It is unclear whether they actually were built.

The circumstances of the War of 1812 forced President James Madison to mobilize the first serious effort to protect the Executive Mansion. On hearing that 4,000 British regulars were marching toward Washington, President Madison stationed troops on the White House grounds. A company of 100 volunteers camped on the North Lawn of the Mansion and positioned a cannon at the North Gate. These volunteer soldiers retreated before the British entered Washington, however. The British thus faced no resistance as they set fire to the Executive Mansion and reduced it to a smoldering shell.

Although James Monroe did not confront invading armies during his Presidency, he was apparently concerned about assassins and other troublemakers, for he employed guards at the Executive Mansion. These guards were civilians in civilian dress, recruited for Monroe by the Marshal of the District of Columbia. During special days when the public was invited to the White House, the number of guards increased. In addition, a doorkeeper was always on duty in the entrance hall. The doorkeeper kept firearms close at hand in a room off the hall. He had the authority to admit or refuse nearly anyone who appeared.

Although the doorkeeper was a permanent fixture, the guards were not. Monroe's successor, John Quincy Adams, did not hire guards, and Andrew Jackson did not favor the practice, either. Nevertheless, after a man named Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Jackson at the Capitol in 1835 (the attempt failed because both of Lawrence's pistols misfired), a wooden "watch box" for a sentry was built on the south grounds, at the gate to the President's garden. During Martin Van Buren's administration, the federal government paid the salaries of both a day guard, who often occupied the watch box, and a night watchman. When he hosted public receptions at the Executive Mansion, Van Buren stationed policemen at all the gates to keep out visitors from the lower classes.

During John Tyler's politically tumultuous Presidency, an enraged mob burned Tyler in effigy outside the White House gates, and an intoxicated painter threw rocks at him while he walked on the south grounds. Tyler, concerned for his safety, acted to establish a permanent company of guards for the Executive Mansion. In 1842, he presented Congress with a bill establishing a "police force for the protection of public and private property in the city of Washington." Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky objected to the fact that the bill gave the President the power to appoint these police. According to the record of the Senate debates:

. . . it seemed to [Crittenden] that, by subjecting this matter to the control of the President of the United States, it might be metamorphosed into a political guard for the Executive . . . . [Crittenden] thought that it would not be entirely safe to organize such a corps. It was a little sort of standing guard, which might eventually become a formidable army. The seeds sown by this bill would soon germinate, and their full development might overshadow the liberties of the people. (Congressional Globe, 27th Cong., 2d sess., 854 (1842)).

To address these concerns, the Senate amended Tyler's security bill to vest the appointment power in the Mayor of Washington instead of the President. The amended bill passed, and Tyler signed it into law. The act created a new entity called the "auxiliary guard." It consisted of a captain and fifteen other men. Its official function was "the protection of public and private property against incendiaries, and . . . the enforcement of the police regulations of the city of Washington." The auxiliary guard was made subject to rules and regulations prescribed by a board consisting of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., the Corporation Counsel of Washington, D.C., and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, "with the approbation of the President of the United States." (5 Stat. 511 (August 23, 1842)).

Four men from this newly created force -- the captain and three guards -- were assigned to the Executive Mansion. In The President's House, William Seale describes their role at the Mansion.

From the start the "Doormen," as they were called to avoid the militaristic tone of "guard" or "sentry" or "patrol" became integral to the functioning of the President's House, taking on extra duties that helped make the mansion run more smoothly. They carried confidential messages and met official and household guests at the stage line or train; they received all callers in the entrance hall and often announced them to the President or his wife. With the responsibilities -- which were varied and not really spelled out -- went certain privileges of investigation and arrest not shared by other law enforcement officers. At the receptions they and temporary deputies mingled with the crowds, never hesitating to remove a man or woman who seemed suspicious. Their toughness and apparent aggressiveness often sparked complaint, but never reprimand. (Seale, Vol. I, p. 24).

Franklin Pierce, the President from 1853 to 1857, raised security to a new level when he became the first chief executive to retain a full-time bodyguard. Whereas the doormen remained on the White House grounds, the bodyguard (also a federal employee) accompanied Pierce wherever he went. Each time the President left the Executive Mansion, the bodyguard was by his side. When the President was in the Mansion, the bodyguard remained within calling distance. Pierce thus introduced the two-level security arrangement that characterizes Presidential protection today. An outer perimeter of police-type guards secured the Executive Mansion itself, while an inner perimeter -- the bodyguard -- protected the person of the President.

By 1860, the bitter atmosphere arising from the discord between the northern and southern states had greatly increased the danger of political violence. As soon as Abraham Lincoln was chosen to be the Republican candidate for President that year, he began to receive numerous death threats. During the campaign, he was constantly surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards. In at least one instance, one of these bodyguards was Alan Pinkerton, the founder of the celebrated detective agency.

Lincoln's security detail grew after he assumed the Presidency. He chafed under this protection and worried that it made him appear unmanly, but he ultimately conceded its necessity. Numerous Metropolitan Police were detailed to the Executive Mansion to serve as guards. Because Lincoln did not want the Executive Mansion to take on the characteristics of an armed camp, the guards inside the Mansion (the doormen) dressed in civilian clothes and concealed their firearms. Uniformed, armed sentries were posted at the gates to the grounds and at the doors to the Executive Mansion itself.

During the Civil War, the military helped protect the Mansion. When the conflict started, soldiers actually camped inside the Executive Mansion until Washington was adequately fortified. Even after the city was deemed secure, military units were often assigned to serve as guards there.

Troops also frequently accompanied Lincoln during his travels. Indeed, throughout the Civil War, no member of Lincoln's family left the White House grounds unescorted. Thus, they were the first White House occupants to receive extensive personal protection. An armed, plainclothes member of the Metropolitan Police regularly accompanied Mrs. Lincoln on her outings. Moreover, the White House doormen never lost sight of the Lincolns' son Tad, who was considered a target for kidnappers. By 1864, four Metropolitan Policemen were assigned to serve as President Lincoln's personal bodyguards. One of these men, responsible for protecting Lincoln at Ford Theater on the evening of April 14, 1865, was having a drink at a nearby saloon when John Wilkes Booth fatally wounded the President with a shot to the head.

Despite the Lincoln assassination, Presidential security was diminished in the years after the war. The four-man detail drawn from the Metropolitan Police was reduced to three men and restricted to providing protection at the Executive Mansion. These guards, still referred to as doormen, received no special training. Unlike Lincoln, the post-war Presidents were often left entirely unprotected outside the Mansion. In 1881, Charles Guiteau exploited this vulnerability by fatally shooting James Garfield as he walked, unguarded, through the Baltimore and Potomac Railway Station in Washington.

Even the second assassination of a President within sixteen years did not lead to an immediate escalation in security. When Garfield's successors stepped outside the gates of the then-lightly guarded Executive Mansion, they usually had no protection at all. Occasionally, private detectives were retained to serve as Presidential bodyguards, but Congress enacted legislation that made such appropriations illegal. (27 Stat. 591 (1893)).

By the mid-1890s, the rising number of threats directed at President Grover Cleveland finally prompted a significant strengthening of Presidential security. Cleveland's wife persuaded him to increase the number of policemen serving at the Mansion from three (the size of the detail since the end of the Civil War) to twenty-seven. In 1894, a small number of Secret Service agents (then known as "operatives") were assigned to the White House, forming an "inner perimeter" of bodyguards to supplement the enhanced "outer perimeter" of protection provided by the police. With the addition of the Secret Service, White House security assumed the shape that it has maintained to the present day.


For the first forty years of its existence, the principal responsibility of the United States Secret Service (Secret Service) was to combat counterfeiting. It was organized in 1865 as an investigative bureau of the Department of the Treasury after Treasury officials determined that fully one-third of paper money in circulation was counterfeit. The Secret Service proved to be quite effective in its anti-counterfeiting mission. Due to the success of its investigations, the percentage of counterfeit currency diminished significantly. By 1867, counterfeiting was largely brought under control.

Because of the Secret Service's proven proficiency, and the fact that it was the only general, law-enforcement agency in the federal government, its duties were broadened substantially. In 1867, it began conducting investigations into other violations of federal law, including Ku Klux Klan activities, smuggling, mail robberies, land frauds, bank frauds, and illegal distilling. Through the end of the nineteenth century, Congress periodically expanded and narrowed the Secret Service's sphere of responsibility. It never, however, authorized the Secret Service to provide protective services to the President.

Consequently, when the Secret Service detailed operatives to the White House for the first time in the spring of 1894, it was exceeding its mandate. Its assumption of protective functions grew directly out of its authorized activities, however. A band of Colorado gamblers that the Secret Service had been investigating made threats against President Cleveland. In order to protect the President, the Secret Service transferred the two men who had been conducting the Colorado phase of the investigation to the White House. It instructed them to "watch for suspicious persons who might be Western gamblers, Anarchists, or cranks." (Kaiser, "Origins of Secret Service Protection," p. 103).

The Secret Service's protective activities continued in the summer of 1894, when Mrs. Cleveland, after learning of an apparent plot to kidnap the Cleveland children from the family's summer home in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, persuaded the Secret Service to detail three operatives there. At first, President Cleveland, who did not arrive in Massachusetts until later in the season, was unaware of this arrangement. He apparently approved of it when he learned of it, however, for the detail guarded the family again the next summer. The Cleveland Administration concealed this unauthorized use of the Secret Service for Presidential protection.

During the first administration of President William McKinley (1897-1901), the Secret Service's protective activities became more regular and more public. In early 1898, Secret Service Chief William Hazen was demoted, largely because of charges that he misused the Secret Service's appropriation by authorizing the protective detail for the Cleveland family. Later that year, however, the start of the Spanish-American War led to the first legal use of the Secret Service for Presidential protection. A detail of four agents, operating under a special emergency war fund, was assigned to the Executive Mansion to guard McKinley around the clock. They were stationed on the first and second floors of the Mansion and on the White House grounds.

After the war, Secret Service operatives continued to serve at the White House at least part of the time. In addition, operatives regularly accompanied McKinley during his travels. With the expiration of the emergency war fund, these activities once again exceeded the Secret Service's statutory authority. However, Secret Service Chief John Wilkie felt obligated to provide the protection anyway. President McKinley received a large number of threats, which seemed particularly credible in light of a series of political assassinations that took place in Europe during this period.

In 1901, President McKinley was shot and fatally wounded by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while standing in a receiving line at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Three Secret Service operatives were guarding him at the time, along with eighteen exposition policemen, eleven members of the Coast Guard, and four Buffalo city detectives. One of the Secret Service operatives was out of position when Czolgosz approached President McKinley, because the President of the exposition had requested the spot directly next to McKinley, where the operative normally stood.

In response to the McKinley assassination, Presidential protection intensified. Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley's successor, was more heavily guarded than any previous peacetime President. The Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for Roosevelt's safety. There were always at least two operatives in street clothes stationed at the White House, and Mrs. Edith Carow Roosevelt, the President's spouse, often requested additional protection without the President's knowledge. Operatives accompanied President Roosevelt whenever he traveled. The Secret Service also increased its efforts to gather intelligence regarding potential threats.

Although these activities were generally acknowledged and accepted, they continued to exceed the Secret Service's statutory mandate. After the McKinley assassination, Congress considered and rejected numerous bills concerning the protection of the President. One source of disagreement in Congress was whether the primary responsibility for Presidential security should fall to the Secret Service or to the military.

In 1902, the Senate approved a bill that, in addition to making assassination and attempted assassination capital crimes, directed the Secretary of War "to select and detail from the Regular Army a sufficient number of officers and men to guard and protect the person of the President of the United States without any unnecessary display." (35 Cong. Rec. 2275 (1902)). The bill also directed the Secretary of War "to make special rules and regulations as to dress, arms, and equipment . . . of said guard." In other words, the bill authorized the creation of a plainclothes, secret service within the Army.

Many senators opposed making Presidential security a military function. They argued that encircling the President with troops would undermine the spirit of democracy. One senator stated:

I would object on general principles that it is antagonistic to our traditions, to our habits of thought, and to our customs that the President should surround himself with a body of janizaries or a sort of Praetorian guard, and never go anywhere unless he is accompanied by men in uniform and men with sabers as is done by the monarchs of the continent of Europe . . . ." (Cong. Rec., 1st sess., 1902, 35, pt. 3: 3049 (Remarks by Sen. Mallory)).

Senators who supported the military option countered that soldiers would make effective guards, unlike the Secret Service operatives who had failed to protect McKinley in Buffalo.

When the House Committee on the Judiciary amended the bill, it struck the section making the Army responsible for Presidential protection. The Committee warned that under the Senate's version of the bill:

the Secretary of War may detail every man and officer in the Regular Army, under the pretense of protecting the President, dress them to suit his fancy, and send them abroad among the people to act under secret orders. When such laws begin to operate in this Republic the liberties of the people will take wings and fly away. (House Committee on the Judiciary, Protection of the President and the Suppression of Crime Against Government, 57th Cong., 1st sess., H. Rep. 1422, 13 (1902)).

The Committee further stated that the President should instead be protected by a "secret-service force . . . act[ing] under orders from the Secretary of the Treasury." The Senate and House could not resolve their differences over this issue, however, and the conference version of the bill thus did not even address which entity should protect the President. Ultimately, this bill died, along with seventeen other Presidential protection measures introduced after the McKinley assassination. In 1906, Congress quietly included language in the Sundry Civil Expenses Act authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to use funds for "the protection of the person of the President of the United States."

Law thus caught up to reality, as the Secret Service finally received express funding to perform the Presidential security function it had in fact assumed twelve years earlier. The Secret Service has continued to protect the "person of the President" ever since.

Immediately following its official designation as the agency responsible for protecting the President, the Secret Service usually assigned two agents to serve as Presidential bodyguards. When the President took extended vacations, the detail increased to eight to allow around-the-clock protection.

Although the Secret Service has never in recent history identified precisely the number of personnel or the amount of resources committed to its protective mission, both figures have clearly increased dramatically over the course of the century. One reason for these increases is that a large number of people have been added to the list of Secret Service protectees. The following chart indicates these additions. The current list of Secret Service protectees is enumerated in 18 U.S.C. 3056. (See Chart 1 on the following page.)

Another reason why the Secret Service has elevated the amount of resources and personnel dedicated to its personal protective mission is the fact that its protectees have been subjected to life-threatening assaults with increasing frequency. Since the Secret Service was officially authorized to provide protective services in 1906, only one person has been killed under its watch -- President John F. Kennedy, who was fatally wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. However, there have been potentially deadly assaults on six other Secret Service protectees.

The first such assault occurred on February 15, 1933, in Miami, Florida. Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was making an impromptu speech while sitting in an open car that had stopped momentarily. Although none of the shots hit President Roosevelt, Zangara mortally wounded Anton Cermak, the Mayor of Chicago, and hit four other people, including a Secret Service agent.

The second, and the only assault that involved an organized conspiracy, took place on November 1, 1950, when two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola attempted to assassinate President Truman by shooting their way into Blair House, his temporary residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The assault was timed to coincide with a rebellion against American authority in Puerto Rico.

Collazo and Torresola approached Blair House from opposite directions and started firing on the Secret Service agents and White House Police officers guarding the building. In the course of the shootout, Torresola and White House Officer Leslie Coffelt were killed. Collazo and two other White House Police officers were wounded. Neither assailant reached the entrance to the building. If one of them had, he would have faced an agent waiting in the front hall with a Thompson submachine gun.

On May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer shot Presidential candidate George Wallace at an open-air rally at a shopping center in Laurel, Maryland. Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, stepped out from behind a bullet-proof podium to shake hands with members of the crowd. As he approached Bremer, the would-be assassin fired a barrage of bullets at Wallace. Wallace was hit repeatedly. Three other people were also struck, including a Secret Service agent. Wallace was paralyzed as a result of the attack.

On September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford as he walked across the grounds of the California Capitol in Sacramento. As Ford passed a group of spectators, Fromme pointed a pistol at him. A Secret Service agent grabbed the weapon and pushed Fromme's arm down. As he wrestled her to the ground, she repeatedly exclaimed,"It didn=t go off!" It was later determined that there were no bullets in the firing chamber, although there were four in the gun's magazine.

Just seventeen days after the Fromme incident, Sara Jane Moore fired a bullet at President Ford in San Francisco. As President Ford exited a downtown hotel, Moore, standing in a crowd of onlookers across the street, pointed her pistol at him. Just before she fired, a civilian grabbed at the gun and deflected the shot. The bullet missed Ford but slightly injured a bystander. Moore was a known radical and a former FBI informant.

The most recent incident occurred on March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley fired six shots at President Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hinckley was standing in a group of spectators several yards from the President. When Hinckley began shooting, Secret Service Secret Agent Tim McCarthy was shot as he shielded President Reagan with his body. Service Agent Jerry Parr pushed Reagan into a limousine, but not before the President was shot beneath his left arm by a bullet that ricocheted off the car. Other bullets struck Presidential Press Secretary James Brady; Agent Tim McCarthy; and Sergeant Thomas Delahanty, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department. President Reagan was seriously wounded, but recovered completely.

The Secret Service has often modified its protective methods and strategies in response to attacks on its protectees. For example, after the Blair House incident, the Secret Service began to keep the location of President Truman's morning walks secret and to prohibit public access to the sidewalk outside Blair House when the President was there. In reaction to Fromme's attempt on President Ford, the Secret Service started to keep Ford at a more secure distance from anonymous crowds, a strategy that may have saved his life seventeen days later when Moore shot at him.

The Kennedy assassination triggered the most extensive changes ever in the Secret Service's approach to Presidential protection. To investigate the assassination, President Johnson established a commission known as the Warren Commission because it was chaired by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In its 1964 report, the Warren Commission made numerous recommendations regarding Presidential security. Over the next decade, the Secret Service implemented these recommendations, which fell into three broad areas: (1) an increase in the number of special agents assigned to protect the President, and improved training for such agents; (2) an expansion of protective intelligence activities and of cooperation with other law enforcement agencies; and (3) the acquisition of sophisticated data processing, communications, and technical security equipment. The Secret Service created a number of new divisions to implement these changes, including the Intelligence Division, the Technical Security Division, and the Liaison Division.

In the modern Secret Service, the division directly responsible for the personal security of the President and the First Family is the Presidential Protective Division (PPD). This division continually maintains a close perimeter of agents around its protectees. It also conducts advance security surveys for Presidential trips and major events. Since 1992, PPD has included a special unit known as the Counter Assault Team (CAT). CAT was created in the late 1970s within select field offices to neutralize an attack on a protectee as quickly as possible. Until it was incorporated into PPD, CAT was part of the Special Services Division.



As noted above, the Secret Service began to protect the person of the President unofficially in the 1890s and officially in 1906. Since that time, plainclothes Secret Service operatives or agents have served as Presidential bodyguards. They have formed an inner perimeter of security that has continuously surrounded the President both inside and outside the White House Complex.

For almost a quarter of a century after the Secret Service formally assumed its personal protective function, however, the Service played an extremely limited role in providing the outer perimeter of protection around the White House Complex and in safeguarding the buildings and grounds themselves. A body of police officers detailed from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) performed these duties. Until World War I, the size of this force remained at twenty-seven officers, the number established by President Grover Cleveland during his second term.

In 1917, the year that the United States entered World War I, the number of Metropolitan Police officers assigned to guard the White House increased to thirty-four. The detail was expanded to fifty-four during the war in response to the dangers generated by the conflict. Additional guard stations were established both inside the White House Complex and on the grounds.

The military helped to secure the White House during World War I, as it had during every previous American conflict other than the Spanish-American War. Armed soldiers in uniform stood at the gates of the White House Complex and patrolled the grounds.

After the armistice ending World War I, the Metropolitan Police detail once again assumed sole responsibility for buildings and grounds security. The size of the force remained at fifty-four, despite the return of peacetime conditions. As had always been the case, the police who guarded the White House were under the supervision of the Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police. The President had no direct authority over his own protectors. President Warren Harding decided to change this arrangement when he learned that the Metropolitan Police refused to assign its most qualified personnel to the White House detail.

In 1922, at Harding's urging, Congress passed legislation that established a separate organization of thirty-three officers called the White House Police Force. The statute created the force "for the protection of the Executive Mansion and grounds." The members of the force would have privileges, powers, and duties "similar to those of the members of the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, and such additional privileges, powers, and duties as the President may prescribe." (Public Law No. 300-67th Congress (S-3659) (1922)).

The statute provided that White House Policemen would be selected under the direction of the President from members of the Metropolitan Police and the United States Park Police. The statute placed the new force "under the sole control of the President and under the direct supervision of such officer as he may designate." President Harding selected Lieutenant Colonel Clarence O. Sherrill to supervise the White House Police. Sherrill served as the President's Chief Military Aide and Director of Public Buildings and Grounds.

The White House Police Force was entirely independent of the Secret Service, and there was relatively little coordination between the two organizations. In 1930, the vulnerabilities inherent in this arrangement were exposed. That summer, a well-dressed man walked confidently through the front door of the White House with neither an appointment nor an invitation. The police officers guarding the entrance allowed him to pass, assuming that he was a Secret Service agent. The intruder managed to enter the dining room and interrupt President Herbert Hoover's dinner before an agent stopped him. The man turned out to be a curious sightseer.

To improve coordination among the security forces and prevent the recurrence of such a breach, President Hoover acted immediately to place the White House Police under the control and supervision of the Chief of the Secret Service. On July 1, 1930, Congress passed legislation to this effect. For the first time, the Secret Service was now responsible for every aspect of White House security.

The statute merging the White House Police into the Secret Service also increased the size of the police force to forty-eight. This expansion was necessary in light of the escalating number of threats against the President triggered by the Great Depression. Congress further expanded the force to sixty officers in 1935, in response to a tripling of executive office space in the West Wing.

The start of World War II led to significant changes in White House security arrangements. In 1940, before the United States became a combattant, the unsettled conditions around the globe induced Congress to expand the White House Police Force to 80 officers. In 1942, after the United States entered the war, Congress authorized funds to increase the size of the White House detail to 140, but on a temporary basis. Because many Metropolitan Police and Park Police were being conscripted into the armed forces, Congress also eliminated the requirement that all White House Police Officers be drawn from these two entities.

With the advent of war, the military once again assumed a major role in protecting the White House Complex. Sentry boxes were constructed at regular intervals both inside and outside the fence and were staffed by a special detachment of Military Police. Furthermore, sentries armed with machine guns maintained a permanent presence on the roof of the Executive Mansion. Only when it became clear that the Allies would prevail did President Roosevelt order that the military guards be assigned elsewhere.

In 1947, as returning servicemen swelled the ranks of the Metropolitan Police and the Park Police, Congress restored the requirement that White House Policemen be recruited from these two entities. The temporary wartime enlargement of the White House Police Force ended, as Congress ceased appropriating funds for additional officers. Simultaneously, however, Congress increased the numerical limit on the permanent force from 80 members to 110.

In 1950, Congress increased the limit on the strength of the force to 133 officers, in order to accommodate a switch to a shorter work week. In 1952, in the wake of the attempt on President Harry Truman's life at Blair House, Congress expanded the maximum size of the force again, to 170 officers.

In 1962, Congress rewrote the organic statute of the White House Police Force. The new law, codified at 76 Stat. 95, reposed in the White House Police the duty of protecting not only the Executive Mansion, but also "any building in which White House offices are located." As a result of this provision, the force assumed responsibility for protecting the entire Executive Office Building (now known as the Old Executive Office Building). In light of this expanded responsibility, as well as a general increase in activity at the White House, the 1962 statute raised the limit on the size of the force to 250 officers. The 1962 appropriation supported 213 personnel. By 1967, Congress was funding the force at full strength.

In 1970, Congress once again amended the organic statute of the White House Police Force. It changed the name of the police force to the Executive Protective Service (EPS) to reflect the force's expanding responsibilities. In light of a spate of assaults against foreign missions in the Washington, D.C. area, Congress gave EPS the duty of protecting these missions. The statute dramatically enlarged the force, from 250 to 850 officers, to provide EPS with sufficient personnel to fulfill this new foreign missions function, as well as to handle the continuing increase in the number of tourists and visitors at the White House Complex. Finally, the new statute terminated the requirement that EPS officers be recruited from the Metropolitan Police and the Park Police.

EPS's responsibilities increased once again in 1974, when Congress assigned it the responsibility of protecting the Vice President's residence. The following year, Congress gave EPS the further responsibility of guarding foreign diplomatic missions in American cities other than Washington, D.C., under certain circumstances. In passing this latter statute, Congress recognized that EPS would be unable to fulfill its expanded duties unless the force was further enlarged. It thus raised the numerical limit on the strength of the EPS to 1200 members. It has remained at this level to the present day.

In 1977, the EPS acquired its current name, the Secret Service Uniformed Division. The Uniformed Division was divided into three branches: the White House Branch, the Foreign Missions Branch, and the Administrative Program Support Branch. In 1986, the Department of the Treasury Police Force was merged into the Uniformed Division. The Uniformed Division White House Branch thus assumed the responsibility for protecting the Department of the Treasury, as well.

In 1985, the Secret Service created a specialized unit within the Uniformed Division called the Emergency Response Team (ERT) to provide an immediate response to emergencies at the White House Complex and at foreign missions. (Prior to 1985, a controlled response consisted of Uniformed Division officers in a response mode during their down time between assignments.) ERT further evolved into a more defined unit in 1992 with the establishment of a two-week formalized training program.


With its combination of physical barriers, an outer perimeter of uniformed police, and an inner perimeter of bodyguards, the White House Complex has always been a relatively safe location for the President. Although, as discussed above, Presidents have been exposed to deadly or life-threatening assaults with frightening regularity, not one of these assaults has occurred within the White House Complex. Indeed, each assassination or potentially deadly assassination attempt has occurred when the Presidential protectee was away from the White House, in the proximity of a crowd.

Nonetheless, the incidents addressed by this Review are not the first intrusions or violent incidents that have occurred on the White House grounds. In fact, throughout its history, the White House Complex has been subjected to increasingly frequent and occasionally successful attempts to penetrate its borders by ground and by air.

Ground Incursions and Attempted Ground Incursions

Gate Crashers

Marshall Fields (December 1974). On Christmas Day in 1974, Marshall Fields, a man who claimed he was the Messiah, crashed his Chevrolet Impala through the Northwest Gate of the White House Complex and drove up to the North Portico. Fields had flares strapped to his body, and he announced to Secret Service personnel that the flares were explosives that he was prepared to detonate. After approximately four hours of negotiation, Fields surrendered.

In response to the Marshall Fields incident, and an incident the previous year in which another driver had crashed through a gate onto the White House grounds, the nineteenth-century, wrought-iron gates were replaced with reinforced gates in 1976.

On December 1, 1976, Steven B. Williams became the first would-be intruder to test the new, strengthened gates. He rammed the Northwest Gate with his pickup truck at approximately 25 miles per hour. The gate did not buckle and the front of Williams' truck was flattened. Since then, a number of other individuals have tried but failed to crash through gates onto the White House grounds. On at least one occasion, a driver attempted to enter the Complex through a gate opened for another vehicle, but he too was unsuccessful.

Few, if any, drivers have ever attempted to crash through the White House fence, as opposed to a gate. Such an intrusion became impossible in 1983, when concrete Jersey barriers were installed around the perimeter of the White House Complex in response to the threat posed by the Beruit bombing. In 1990-92, the Jersey barriers were replaced by the present bollards.

Fence Jumpers

In recent history, it has been a common occurrence for intruders to scale the fence around the White House Complex and enter the grounds. Most of these "fence jumpers" have been pranksters, peaceful protestors, and harmless, mentally ill individuals.

Chester Plummer (July 1976). Chester Plummer was a local taxi driver with a criminal history who had never come to the attention of the Secret Service as a potential threat to the President. On July 27, 1976, he scaled the White House fence carrying a 3-foot length of metal pipe. As he advanced toward the White House, he was confronted by an EPS officer. The officer drew his revolver and repeatedly ordered Plummer to halt, but Plummer raised the pipe in a threatening manner and continued to advance. The officer shot Plummer in the chest. Plummer died of his wounds shortly afterward.

Anthony Henry (October 1978). Anthony Henry wished to persuade President Carter that it was blasphemous to place the words "In God We Trust" on United States currency. Wearing a white karate suit and carrying a Bible, he climbed over the White House fence onto the north grounds. When he was confronted by Secret Service agents and Uniformed Division officers approximately 15 yards inside the fence line, he pulled a knife from inside the Bible and slashed one officer's face and another's arm. Uniformed Division officers surrounded Henry, prodded him with long batons, and poked the knife out of his hand. They then forced him to the ground and arrested him.

Other Fence Jumpers. As the chart below indicates, a large number of individuals have entered the White House grounds by scaling the fence in recent years. It is important to note that fence jumpers rarely make it far once they are on the White House grounds, although there have been some notable exceptions. In December 1975, Gerald Gainous roamed the grounds for an hour and a half and approached President Ford's daughter while she unloaded camera equipment from her car. In 1991, Gustav Leijohhufved, a Swedish citizen, was not apprehended until he reached a guard post outside the West Wing. Neither of these men were armed, however. The only armed fence jumpers have been Plummer and Henry, although an intruder threatened a Uniformed Division officer with a water pistol in 1977.


Recent Fence Jumpers at the White House Complex


Number of Jumpers















Other Trespassers

Other intruders have gained access to the White House Complex illegally either by entering with legitimate passholders or running through a gate opened for a vehicle. The following chart indicates the number of people arrested after gaining access to the grounds of the White House Complex or attempting to do so by one of these methods.


Recent Trespassers to the White House Complex


Ran Through Open Gate

Entered With Passholders



















On January 20, 1985, the day that President Ronald Reagan was sworn in for his second term, an intruder named Robert Latta entered the White House with the Marine Band and wandered around the Executive Mansion for 15 minutes before he was discovered and apprehended.

External Threats

John Tyler Administration (1841-1845). Perhaps the only instance in which an assailant standing outside the White House fence almost succeeded in harming a President who was inside the White House Complex occurred in the early 1840s, when an intoxicated painter threw stones at President John Tyler as he strolled on the south grounds. Another dangerous episode transpired in 1841, after Tyler vetoed the bill establishing the Second Bank of the United States. An inflamed and intoxicated Whig mob, enraged by Tyler's action, marched to the White House. Standing outside the locked gates, they threw stones, fired guns, and burned the President in effigy. This was the most violent demonstration ever to occur at the White House Complex.

The Bonus Army (June 1930). In 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, 20,000 veterans descended on Washington, D.C., demanding that Congress release their service bonuses early. The Secret Service was concerned that this "Bonus Army" would resort to violence and detailed large numbers of extra personnel to guard the White House. Although the veterans focused most of their attention on the Capitol, on the night of June 20, a large group gathered near the White House. As this crowd watched, police attempted to arrest two demonstrators who were marching along the north fence on Pennsylvania Avenue. The demonstrators resisted, and the angry throng surged toward the officers. Ultimately, however, the riot feared by the Secret Service did not occur.

David Mahonski (April 1984). Since 1950, at least four people considered to be serious threats to the President have been apprehended in the vicinity of the White House carrying a weapon. One of these arrests involved a violent confrontation. In 1984, David Mahonski, who had made threats against President Reagan, was under surveillance by both the FBI and the Secret Service. On March 3 of that year, Uniformed Division officers noticed him standing outside the fence bordering the south grounds of the White House. As they approached him, he pulled a sawed-off shotgun from under his coat. One of the officers immediately shot Mahonski in the arm with a revolver. The officers then arrested him.

Air Incursions and Attempted Air Incursions

Robert K. Preston (February 1974). On February 17, 1974, Robert Preston, a private in the Army, stole an Army helicopter from Fort Meade, Maryland, and flew it to the White House Complex. He passed over the Executive Mansion and then returned to the south grounds, where he hovered for about 6 minutes and touched down briefly approximately 150 feet from the West Wing. Members of the EPS did not know who was piloting the aircraft and were not aware that it had been stolen from Fort Meade. They made no attempt to shoot down the helicopter.

Preston left the area of the White House and flew the helicopter back toward Fort Meade. He was chased by two Maryland State Police helicopters, one of which he forced down through his erratic maneuvers. Preston then returned to the White House Complex. As he lowered himself to about 30 feet above the south grounds, EPS officers barraged the helicopter with shotgun and submachine gunfire. Preston immediately set the riddled aircraft down. He was injured slightly.

[FAS Note: In response to the preceding paragraphs, the following first-person account of the Preston incident was provided by Maryland State Police First Sergeant (ret.) Louis W. Saffran and inserted here by FAS:]

The Maryland State Police Helicopter was not with the Stolen Helicopter when it first flew over the White House. The State Police Helicopter responded after being notified by Andrews AFB Tower that there was a problem with a rogue Helicopter in the area of BWI Airport. The Crew of the State Police Helicopter responded to BWI Airport and chased the rogue Helicopter down the Baltimore/Washington Parkway (I-295) into the restricted area of D.C. After a brief dog fight around the Washington Monument, the rogue Helicopter flew toward the White House, over the fence and on to the White House lawn. It was at this time that the Maryland State Police Helicopter took a position between the rogue Helicopter and the White House in an attempt to keep the Rogue Helicopter from harming the White House. It was at this time that the Secret Service fired on the Rogue Helicopter, forcing it to the ground. Robert Preston, pilot of the rogue Helicopter, exited the aircraft and ran toward the White House. I exited the State Police Helicopter, and along with the Secret Service Officers, subdued Preston after a short foot chase.

This escapade was documented in the Congressional Record, Per Senator Goodloe Byron, and in many newspaper articles throughout the United States. The facts of this incident were provided to then-President Richard Nixon who called Trooper Donald Sewell and me to the Oval Office later that week for a Presidential Commendation.

At no time was a Maryland State Police Helicopter forced down by the rogue Helicopter. The State Police were instrumental in the downing and capture of the rogue aircraft and its Pilot on the White House Lawn.

Samuel Byck (February 1974). Samuel Byck, a failed businessman with a history of mental illness, was investigated by the Secret Service in 1972 on the basis of reports that he had threatened President Nixon. In 1974, he hatched a plan called "Operation Pandora's Box" to hijack a commercial airliner and crash it into the Executive Mansion. On February 22, less than a week after the Preston incident, Byck went to Baltimore/Washington International Airport carrying a pistol and a gasoline bomb. He forced his way onto a Delta flight destined for Atlanta by shooting a guard at the security checkpoint. He entered the cockpit and ordered the crew to take off. After the crew informed him that they could not depart without removing the wheel blocks, Byck shot the pilot twice and the co-pilot three times (the co-pilot died). Police outside the airplane shot into the cockpit and hit Byck twice. Byck fell to the floor, put the revolver to his head, and killed himself.


In addition to the Congressional records, newspaper articles, and statistics and records provided by the Secret Service, a number of books and scholarly articles were useful in preparing this information. Of special note is The President's House (White House Historical Association, Washington, D.C., 1986), William Seale's remarkable and comprehensive study of life at the White House. This book was the chief source of information regarding security arrangements in the nineteenth century prior to the Secret Service's assumption of the protective function. It was helpful in describing subsequent decades as well. In addition, The President's House astutely discusses the historical tension between security and democratic openness at the White House.

The Report of the U.S. President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1964), commonly referred to as the Warren Commission Report, contains an excellent historical section regarding Presidential security and attacks on chief executives through 1963, the year of the Kennedy assassination.

Frederick Kaiser provided useful information in two articles which appeared in separate issues of Presidential Studies Quarterly. In "Origins of Secret Service Protection of the President: Personal, Interagency, and Institutional Conflict," (Winter 1988), Kaiser offers a detailed analysis of the Secret Service's Presidential protective activities from their origin in the 1890s through the early twentieth century. His "Presidential Assassinations and Assaults: Characteristics and Impact on Protective Measures," (Fall 1981), ably describes the threats historically faced by our Presidents and the Secret Service's efforts to respond to them.

The Secret Service itself prepared two short histories of its law enforcement role, each of which includes a helpful description of the agency's Presidential protective function: "Moments in History, 1865-1990" (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.) and "Excerpts from the History of the United States Secret Service 1865-1975" (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.).

Although memoirs by former Secret Service directors and special agents contain only limited specific information concerning the Secret Service's operations, they nonetheless provide vivid portrayals of the challenges faced by those entrusted with the protection of the President. The Review consulted the following memoirs: Protecting the President: The Inside Story of a Secret Service Agent, by Dennis V.N. McCarthy and Philip W. Smith (William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1985); Starling of the White House by Col. Edmund W. Starling as told to Thomas Sugrue, (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1946); Special Agent: A Quarter Century with the Treasury Department and the Secret Service by Frank J. Wilson and Beth Day. (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York, 1965); and 20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents by Rufus Youngblood (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1973).

Other books that were helpful include: The United States Secret Service by Walter Bowen and Harry Edward Neal (Chilton Company, Philadelphia, 1960); The Secret Service Story by Michael Dorman (Delacorte Press, New York, 1967); No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1994); The Politics of Protection: The United States Secret Service in the Terrorist Age by Philip Melanson (Praeger Publishers, New York, 1984); The Story of the Secret Service by Harry Edward Neal (Grossett & Dunlap, New York, 1971); and A System of Modern Geography by S. Augustus Mitchell (E.H. Butler & Co., Philadelphia, 1864).