Not so Secret Service

I guess there isn’t much going on in Chile, or this was a Really Big Deal: – Secret Service agent clashes with Chilean police – Nov 20, 2004

Several Chilean and American agents got into a pushing and shoving match outside the cultural center where the dinner was held. Bush noticed the fracas after posing for pictures on a red carpet with the summit host, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife and first lady Laura Bush.

Abandoning the other three, Bush walked over to the agents, reached through the dispute and pulled his agent from the scrum.

The president, looking irritated, walked away with the agent. The incident was shown on APEC television.

“Chilean security tried to stop the president’s Secret Service from accompanying him,” said White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan. “He told them they were with him and the issue was resolved.”

There has to be a lot of interesting politics in the security of international protection,and I’m sure the Secret Service has been through worse, though nothing really pops to mind from the press. Although initially I wondered at the restraint of the Agent in Question for not deliberately wounding the Chilean in front of him (and there can be no mistake, this was a very deliberate attempt by the Chileans, foiled by our “Cowboy President”). Then, I wondered if this was some sort of payback for a real-or-imagined-slight of the Chileans in the past, then the realization that I didn’t understand the politics swept over me. Hmmm.

Politics happens in all fields. In this instance, the President managed to diffuse an international incident before it got started (I have to think the Secret Service would have shot their way in, or died trying, before being locked out), and bully for Bush for stopping it before it really got started.

Update: Chileans have their revenge. No soup for you!


  1. Hmmm, imagine the reaction if Chirac’s bodyguards behaved like that on a visit to the Whitehouse. I think I can see their point. Nobody likes pushy guests.

  2. Hmm, the point is, it never would have come to that. Pros (real pros) recognize fellow pros, and treat them as such. This was Chilean machismo coupled with more than a little arrogance, and they got called on it.

    If I were Bush, especially in a foreign country, I wouldn’t go to the head without an escort.