National Geographic Channel Steps Into the Line of Fire Alongside Special Agents of the U.S. Secret Service

New Special 'Inside the U.S. Secret Service' Lifts Shroud of Secrecy

Around the President's First and Last Line of Defense



27 Sep, 2004, 01:00 ET from National Geographic Channel

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In a heated political season filled
 with personal attacks and unauthorized biographies, there is one constant
 among both campaigns.  It is a matter of life and death.  It involves a
 dedicated and loyal team just beyond the spotlight, monitoring each
 candidate's every move.  Its members are sworn to uphold the law and protect
 the candidate ... with their lives, if necessary.  They are the men and women
 of the U.S. Secret Service.
     Boasting remarkable access to a government agency historically shrouded in
 secrecy, "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" premieres on the National Geographic
 Channel Sunday, October 24, 2004, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.
     The two-hour special goes on duty with agents and officers on the front
 lines and behind closed doors, including detailing the intricate precautions
 taken to protect President George W. Bush at a recent appearance in Louisiana.
 The special also features a high-level look at the Secret Service from the
 current and former Directors, as well as interviews with former Presidents
 Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, and Democratic presidential
 nominee Senator John F. Kerry.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" takes viewers inside the bubble of
 protection around the President while also providing a revealing look at the
 agency's other critical duties, including investigating counterfeiting and
 financial crimes, assessing threats made against those protected by the Secret
 Service and thwarting acts of digital terrorism.  Current Secret Service
 Director W. Ralph Basham remarked: "'Inside the U.S. Secret Service' is the
 most in-depth look at who we are and what we do on a daily basis to protect
 both our nation's leaders and its financial systems."
     Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, fears of shoulder-fired missiles,
 biological weapons and computer-generated attacks have escalated, increasing
 the responsibilities -- and pressures -- on the Secret Service.  From the
 moment the President of the United States steps into public view, he is a
 target.  With terror a constant threat, danger lurks around every corner.  If
 a bullet flies, it is a Secret Service agent who must shield the President and
 "take a hit."  The men and women of the Secret Service are, in fact, the first
 and last line of defense for the President against all threats, large and
 small.
     National Geographic Channel is granted rare behind-the-scenes access to a
 major public event attended by President Bush.  To the average citizen, moving
 the President may appear seamless, but the reality is a complex operation
 involving disciplined coordination among multiple agencies.  The preparation
 and execution of the President's safety in and around Baton Rouge is woven
 throughout the special, showing intense and fiercely detailed planning by a
 huge advance team, including special agents and Secret Service Uniformed
 Division officers, state and local law enforcement and a number of highly
 specialized teams.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" follows days of advance work as Secret
 Service agents secure roads, entrances and rooftops from Louisiana's Baton
 Rouge Metropolitan Airport to a nearby arena where the President addresses a
 huge crowd of nearly 20,000 people.  Before and after Air Force One touches
 down, National Geographic Channel cameras are with sharpshooters securing the
 airport; bomb-sniffing dog teams in the arena; police in the motorcade;
 screeners who carefully check every audience member; and ever-alert agents
 watching every door, curtain and catwalk in the giant space.  After the
 President's address, the cameras stay with his guardians as they prepare for
 an "impromptu" close-up encounter with supporters at the airport before Air
 Force One's ultimate departure.
     Responsible for more than protecting the President, agents are on the
 front lines in the battle to keep this country safe -- from our enemies within
 and those abroad.  "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" takes viewers inside the
 agency's elite investigative and protective units: the Joint Operations
 Center, which monitors the White House complex, including every move of the
 President and Vice President; a crisis center, which served as a central
 communications hub on 9/11 linking government agencies and international
 leaders; the Forensic Services Division, where the Secret Service analyzes
 evidence such as threatening letters and phone calls; and the Criminal
 Investigative Division, which battles high-tech financial and computer crimes
 in the information age.
     The special also shows how candidates for the Secret Service go through
 intense training and extreme physical conditioning.  The cameras are with them
 as they prepare for the worst at their 493-acre secure training compound with
 live firing ranges and a fake city, where trainees are drilled in mock attacks
 on the President's motorcade and Air Force One.  Here they test their
 precision shooting skills and learn the art of the "J" turn-driving a vehicle
 in reverse into a screeching pivot, turning on a dime and blasting off, front
 end first, while maintaining a high speed.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" offers rare, candid accounts from agents
 past and present, and from those they have protected.  Firsthand testimony in
 the special includes three former Presidents: Gerald Ford, who speaks of two
 attempts on his life while in office; and Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush,
 who talk of the delicate balance between privacy and trust that must exist
 between the President and his agents in confidential matters of security and
 family.  Senator John Kerry, on the campaign trail, confides about the
 compromises families must make in exchange for Secret Service protection --
 now required for all major candidates 120 days prior to Election Day after
 Senator Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.  In addition, ABC News veteran
 Sam Donaldson shares his behind-the-scenes observations garnered during his
 coverage of the political scene during each of these administrations.
     Viewers also will hear Secret Service Directors and agents relive some of
 their most monumental moments of service.  Current Secret Service Director W.
 Ralph Basham and former Director Brian Stafford provide details about the
 enormous planning -- and lightning-quick responses -- required in protecting
 the President and the nation.  It was Stafford who was in charge on 9/11 and
 responsible for the split-second decisions made that day to protect the
 President.  Former Agent Jerry Parr recounts when John Hinckley attempted to
 assassinate President Reagan, giving viewers a personal look at the chaos of
 the moment and how he helped save the President's life; Clint Hill talks of
 leaping onto the moving presidential vehicle to push Jacqueline Kennedy out of
 sight, to protect her life, after President John F. Kennedy was shot in
 Dallas; Larry Cockell, one of the highest-ranked African-American agents in
 the history of the Secret Service, speaks of his service and being called to
 testify during the most turbulent times of the Clinton administration; and
 Larry Buendorf describes grabbing Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme's gun during her
 attempt on President Ford's life.
     The Secret Service has a rich history dating back to 1865, when it was
 part of the Treasury Department and responsible for stopping counterfeit
 currency -- a duty it still assumes today.  After the assassination of
 President William McKinley in 1901, the third Presidential assassination in 36
 years, protecting the President became the agency's second primary mission.
 In 2003, the Secret Service was relocated into the Department of Homeland
 Security.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" is produced by Partisan Pictures and
 National Geographic Television and Film (NGT&F) for National Geographic
 Channel. Peter Schnall is Executive Producer for Partisan Pictures and
 Producer/Director of the program, along with Co-Producers Erica Sashin and
 Lise Zumwalt.  Coordinating Producer is Tina Ver.  Executive Producer for
 NGT&F is John Bredar.  For National Geographic Channel, Executive Producer is
 John Bowman; Executive in Charge of Production is John Ford.
 
     Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the
 National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic
 Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic Channel
 debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001, and has been one of
 the fastest growing networks in history.  The Channel has carriage with all of
 the nation's major cable and satellite television providers, making it
 currently available to more than 52 million homes.  For more information,
 please visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/channel.
 
 

SOURCE National Geographic Channel
    WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In a heated political season filled
 with personal attacks and unauthorized biographies, there is one constant
 among both campaigns.  It is a matter of life and death.  It involves a
 dedicated and loyal team just beyond the spotlight, monitoring each
 candidate's every move.  Its members are sworn to uphold the law and protect
 the candidate ... with their lives, if necessary.  They are the men and women
 of the U.S. Secret Service.
     Boasting remarkable access to a government agency historically shrouded in
 secrecy, "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" premieres on the National Geographic
 Channel Sunday, October 24, 2004, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT.
     The two-hour special goes on duty with agents and officers on the front
 lines and behind closed doors, including detailing the intricate precautions
 taken to protect President George W. Bush at a recent appearance in Louisiana.
 The special also features a high-level look at the Secret Service from the
 current and former Directors, as well as interviews with former Presidents
 Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, and Democratic presidential
 nominee Senator John F. Kerry.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" takes viewers inside the bubble of
 protection around the President while also providing a revealing look at the
 agency's other critical duties, including investigating counterfeiting and
 financial crimes, assessing threats made against those protected by the Secret
 Service and thwarting acts of digital terrorism.  Current Secret Service
 Director W. Ralph Basham remarked: "'Inside the U.S. Secret Service' is the
 most in-depth look at who we are and what we do on a daily basis to protect
 both our nation's leaders and its financial systems."
     Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, fears of shoulder-fired missiles,
 biological weapons and computer-generated attacks have escalated, increasing
 the responsibilities -- and pressures -- on the Secret Service.  From the
 moment the President of the United States steps into public view, he is a
 target.  With terror a constant threat, danger lurks around every corner.  If
 a bullet flies, it is a Secret Service agent who must shield the President and
 "take a hit."  The men and women of the Secret Service are, in fact, the first
 and last line of defense for the President against all threats, large and
 small.
     National Geographic Channel is granted rare behind-the-scenes access to a
 major public event attended by President Bush.  To the average citizen, moving
 the President may appear seamless, but the reality is a complex operation
 involving disciplined coordination among multiple agencies.  The preparation
 and execution of the President's safety in and around Baton Rouge is woven
 throughout the special, showing intense and fiercely detailed planning by a
 huge advance team, including special agents and Secret Service Uniformed
 Division officers, state and local law enforcement and a number of highly
 specialized teams.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" follows days of advance work as Secret
 Service agents secure roads, entrances and rooftops from Louisiana's Baton
 Rouge Metropolitan Airport to a nearby arena where the President addresses a
 huge crowd of nearly 20,000 people.  Before and after Air Force One touches
 down, National Geographic Channel cameras are with sharpshooters securing the
 airport; bomb-sniffing dog teams in the arena; police in the motorcade;
 screeners who carefully check every audience member; and ever-alert agents
 watching every door, curtain and catwalk in the giant space.  After the
 President's address, the cameras stay with his guardians as they prepare for
 an "impromptu" close-up encounter with supporters at the airport before Air
 Force One's ultimate departure.
     Responsible for more than protecting the President, agents are on the
 front lines in the battle to keep this country safe -- from our enemies within
 and those abroad.  "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" takes viewers inside the
 agency's elite investigative and protective units: the Joint Operations
 Center, which monitors the White House complex, including every move of the
 President and Vice President; a crisis center, which served as a central
 communications hub on 9/11 linking government agencies and international
 leaders; the Forensic Services Division, where the Secret Service analyzes
 evidence such as threatening letters and phone calls; and the Criminal
 Investigative Division, which battles high-tech financial and computer crimes
 in the information age.
     The special also shows how candidates for the Secret Service go through
 intense training and extreme physical conditioning.  The cameras are with them
 as they prepare for the worst at their 493-acre secure training compound with
 live firing ranges and a fake city, where trainees are drilled in mock attacks
 on the President's motorcade and Air Force One.  Here they test their
 precision shooting skills and learn the art of the "J" turn-driving a vehicle
 in reverse into a screeching pivot, turning on a dime and blasting off, front
 end first, while maintaining a high speed.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" offers rare, candid accounts from agents
 past and present, and from those they have protected.  Firsthand testimony in
 the special includes three former Presidents: Gerald Ford, who speaks of two
 attempts on his life while in office; and Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush,
 who talk of the delicate balance between privacy and trust that must exist
 between the President and his agents in confidential matters of security and
 family.  Senator John Kerry, on the campaign trail, confides about the
 compromises families must make in exchange for Secret Service protection --
 now required for all major candidates 120 days prior to Election Day after
 Senator Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.  In addition, ABC News veteran
 Sam Donaldson shares his behind-the-scenes observations garnered during his
 coverage of the political scene during each of these administrations.
     Viewers also will hear Secret Service Directors and agents relive some of
 their most monumental moments of service.  Current Secret Service Director W.
 Ralph Basham and former Director Brian Stafford provide details about the
 enormous planning -- and lightning-quick responses -- required in protecting
 the President and the nation.  It was Stafford who was in charge on 9/11 and
 responsible for the split-second decisions made that day to protect the
 President.  Former Agent Jerry Parr recounts when John Hinckley attempted to
 assassinate President Reagan, giving viewers a personal look at the chaos of
 the moment and how he helped save the President's life; Clint Hill talks of
 leaping onto the moving presidential vehicle to push Jacqueline Kennedy out of
 sight, to protect her life, after President John F. Kennedy was shot in
 Dallas; Larry Cockell, one of the highest-ranked African-American agents in
 the history of the Secret Service, speaks of his service and being called to
 testify during the most turbulent times of the Clinton administration; and
 Larry Buendorf describes grabbing Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme's gun during her
 attempt on President Ford's life.
     The Secret Service has a rich history dating back to 1865, when it was
 part of the Treasury Department and responsible for stopping counterfeit
 currency -- a duty it still assumes today.  After the assassination of
 President William McKinley in 1901, the third Presidential assassination in 36
 years, protecting the President became the agency's second primary mission.
 In 2003, the Secret Service was relocated into the Department of Homeland
 Security.
     "Inside the U.S. Secret Service" is produced by Partisan Pictures and
 National Geographic Television and Film (NGT&F) for National Geographic
 Channel. Peter Schnall is Executive Producer for Partisan Pictures and
 Producer/Director of the program, along with Co-Producers Erica Sashin and
 Lise Zumwalt.  Coordinating Producer is Tina Ver.  Executive Producer for
 NGT&F is John Bredar.  For National Geographic Channel, Executive Producer is
 John Bowman; Executive in Charge of Production is John Ford.
 
     Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the
 National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic
 Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic Channel
 debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001, and has been one of
 the fastest growing networks in history.  The Channel has carriage with all of
 the nation's major cable and satellite television providers, making it
 currently available to more than 52 million homes.  For more information,
 please visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/channel.
 
 SOURCE  National Geographic Channel