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Who Will Protect Hillary Clinton?

By Ed O'Keefe

Hillary Clinton's nomination to serve as secretary of State creates an unique jurisdictional battle between the U.S. Secret Service, which protects current and former presidents and first ladies, and the the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which protects the secretary of state, visiting foreign dignitaries and all American diplomatic missions abroad.

The two law enforcement agencies may strike a compromise, allowing Diplomatic Security to protect the former first lady during the day while she's working at the State Department or traveling abroad and the Secret Service to keep watch when she's at home in Northwest D.C. or in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Such a compromise likely would be in Clinton's best interest, from practical managerial purposes.

"If you come into a new department to be the executive and you don't choose your own employees to protect you, how do you think that makes them feel?" said one State Department official granted anonymity to speak frankly on the matter, who added that Clinton's unique predicament has been a topic of conversations around Foggy Bottom.

The Federal Eye doesn't purport to be a security expert, and can't tell Mrs. Clinton which agency would best serve her security needs, but we thought it might be helpful to provide a side-by-side comparison of the two storied agencies:

Compare and Contrast

Secret Service Diplomatic Security
Year Founded 1865 1916
Department Homeland Security State
Current Director: Mark Sullivan Eric J. Boswell
Jurisdiction Protect current and ex-presidents and first ladies, visiting foreign heads of state and spouses, other distinguished foreign visitors, presidential and VP candidates. Investigates crimes against the financial infrastructure of the United States. Protection for Sec. of State, U.S. Amb. to U.N., all U.S. diplomatic personnel working in every U.S. diplomatic mission worldwide, cabinet-level foreign dignitaries visiting U.S. Investigates passport and visa fraud violations.
High-Profile Protectees Barack and Michelle Obama Condoleezza Rice, Dalai Lama
Staff Size 3,200 special agents, 1,300 uniformed officers, 2,000+ support personnel 34,000 worldwide, including special agents and support staff
Pluses Already protects her and knows her routine Would help boost morale at State Dept.
Minuses Picking S.S. over D.S. creates immediate tensions at State. Potential logistical nightmare and turf war with S.S. when she travels with Bill Clinton.

SOURCE: Secret Service, State Dept.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 1, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Nuts and Bolts  
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This kind of thing is always fun for the press but I believe that it will be simple for Hillary to work this out.

The press should find something important to write about.

Posted by: peterdc | December 1, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

O has a moral duty to keep Americans safe. The Gates and Clinton nominations put Americans at greater risk and represent the war status quo.
Call, write, email Congress to defeat these nominations if you feel the same.

Posted by: lockmallup | December 1, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Ed you have to stop drinking coffee. Hillary as more protection then Homeland Security. Yes the coverage as First Lady and now more with Secretary of State plus 18 million voters have her back along with millions around the World. Now you should be worried about Bush/Cheney as they will be left for the animals after Jan. 20th. Now before you say both have Secret Service protection those guys can't stop the two killers from seeing the millions of innocent dead people they killed. As Justice Thomas who still sees his GrandFather and Mother because he turned his back on their guidence and sold out.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | December 1, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

with 34,000 personnel it makes you wonder why they needed blackwater...

Posted by: faithfulservant3 | December 1, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

As faithfulservant3 remarked, the Diplomatic Service has been outsourcing its work. Blackwater may have contracts to protect diplomatic persons, but what if someone buys out that contract for a higher price? Where is your protection?

Let's stay with the Secret Service.

Posted by: flgrossmann | December 1, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

This is a good article by Ed O'Keefe, but his information on the Diplomatic Security Services' (DSS) numbers are very misleading. In fact, the DSS has about 1,500 agents, the majority of whom are posted at U.S. Embassies worldwide in charge of security and law enforcement. The 34,000 number would include drivers, foreign security guards, secretaries, escorts, etc. This is why faithfulservant3 and flgrossmann above are confused. The State Dept. had to contract security in Iraq because it simply does not have the agents to do the job.

In the case of protection of the secretary of state, it is mandated by federal law that DSS will do the protection, so it may not be contracted out. flgrossman should check the facts before commenting.

DSS Agent

Posted by: 1dssa | December 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Who will protect Hillary? Oh, that's easy. Bill will. Just give him a gun and a fresh cigar and he will do all the rest. She will be a bigger disaster as Secretary of State than Kindasleazy Rice.

Posted by: dsrobins | December 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

To dsrobins,
Your comment, "She will be a bigger disaster as Secretary of State than Kindasleazy Rice" is totally uncalled for and is totally un-productive in supporting The USA in solving our current problems. The People voted, Obama won, and the people need to stand behind him! The majority will!

You may not like the fact the she is a woman or that she is black, but millions of Republicans defected and voted for Obama because John McCain refused to listen to the people that supported him the most. Bringing in an "Un-Fit person to be his Vice President, finished the job of sinking his Battleship, and you know it!

The time for politics is over, and the time to show the World what America is made of is here. The choice to sink or swim is yours! Remember, Negative people can't accomplish Positive things! They don't know how!


Posted by: theonejrs | December 1, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

To my mind the SS would continue they role, they know her been working with her for years knows her routine for the past 16 yrs why would that change? In her case she might opt for a combination a smaller contingent of SS plus DS abroad and SS at home. I would stay with those who know me. Hope she does it as well for her own good.

Posted by: myBuddy | December 1, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

You'all have short memories. When Henry Kissinger moved from being National Security Adviser to SecState, he brought his USSS detail (granted on an exceptional basis by President Nixon) with him. The turf battle was of epic proportions. As I recall, State DSS got him back as a protectee after a few years. Nice to see if we can do better this time around.

Posted by: Ex-DOS | December 1, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

All of you guys are soooo dumb! The Secret Service protects the Sec of State.....always has and always will. I worked on capitol hill for 2 years and dated a secret service agent, so I saw this stuff up close. The Diplomatic Security guys are merely contract guards who work at the State Dept building--they have no say in the Sec's security. The Secret Service guys are professionals who travel with the Sec of State. Let's get the facts straight!!

Posted by: washinsider | December 2, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse


It's always good to have folks like you who get to decide what's relevant or not, based, I assume, solely on your long experience in press-related matters. Thank you so much for your insight.

Every article by the press doesn't have to be so serious. It's good to bring a little levity to daily life, you should try it.

Posted by: ajvbeach80 | December 2, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

washinsider, you cannot call them dumb when you don't have your facts straight. I am not sure who you are talking about but DSS Agents have always protected the Sec of State (except as mentioned kissenger for a time). They are federally mandated by law to protect the Sec state and other foreign cabinet level dignataries visiting the US. The also protect embassy/consulates around the world, and investigate passport and visa fraud. While DS employs foreign contract guards at embassies, they have roughly 1500 agents who attend federal law enforcement training have authorities to investigate and arrest in the US. Get your facts straight before mouthing off.

Posted by: 241girl | December 2, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse


You're kidding right? The USSS does not protect SECSTATE. The guards you are referring to are Diplomatic Security Uniformed Officers, and yes they protect domestic State Dept facilities.
The DS Special Agents are the guys protecting the SECSTATE, along with their support personnel (which I am part of).

Posted by: strickjb | December 2, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

241girl and strickjb...

Ok, I've checked back with Brad (a SECRET SERVICE AGENT)and he confirmed what I have already told you. State uses contractors like Blackwater, Triple Canopy, etc. You guys in D.C. work for a company named Inter-Con security systems who employs a lot of blacks, but they are a far cry from federal law enforcement. Clinton deserves to have the real professionals taking care of her. strickjb--If you still think you are an agent.....well, that's fine with me. I see why the new Sec State will stick with the Secret Service.

peterdc is right--this is a non-story.

Posted by: washinsider1 | December 2, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

washinsider - check again - you're still off base and so is Brad. DSS (Diplomatic Security Services) employs contractors who work security at DoS buildings (and who cares about their ethnicity?), those that work for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (a Bureau at DoS) are special agents trained at FLETC along with ICE agents, ATF agents, and others. Special agents for DS work the detail for the Secretary of State and other dignitaries, and are posted in various cities in the U.S. and at U.S. embassies around the world. Check the Department of State's website for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and it will give you the correct information.

Posted by: AshleyDC | December 2, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow washinsider1 you and your source Brad have no idea what you guys are talking about. I had a lot of fun reading your post because it made me laugh at your complete ignorance. I love your quote regarding "real professionals". DSS Agents (Not contractors) do protection regularly in fun places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, West Bank etc.... Read the website because you sound silly criticizing DSS. You worked on the hill huh. Pretty special just like the other gazillion people that "work" there. Yes it must be such a privilege to be so well informed.

Posted by: Redsox101 | December 3, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

LOL yes these guys are a "far cry from federal law enforcement" Good one washinsider1 ;)

Posted by: Redsox101 | December 3, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

the only thing in your statement that is correct is that DSS employs Blackwater. They employ blackwater and other similar companies in place like afghanistan and Iraq. There were not enought agents to go around so they are used there. This is a silly conversation to have with someone who has know idea what they are talking about. Redsox101 and AshleyDC pointed you to many informative sights to learn about DSS, but in the end they are federal law enforcement agents who give of themselves and there life to do the job they do. They are as professional as any agency I have seen.

Posted by: 241girl | December 3, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

You really make me laugh again! Thanks for getting my day off to a great start!
First, read my post. I am not a Special Agent...I'm a support guy for Diplomatic Security...a member of the Foreign Service.
Maybe your buddy Brad works for Intercon and is telling you a story. Are you sure he's in the Secret Service? Who knows! Just look at the State and DS websites. Thanks again for giving me a chuckle today!

Posted by: strickjb | December 4, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

The following is good article by the Washington Post about the DSS (the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS)) Also try, AND

Posted by: AMessagetoGarcia | December 5, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AMessagetoGarcia | December 5, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AMessagetoGarcia | December 5, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It should be obvious to even a moron that Blackwater CAN NOT be trusted. They are MERCENARIES who will kill or lick anyone for a fee.

Posted by: ElMugroso | December 8, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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