Washington – Vice President Dick Cheney is famous for his “undisclosed location,” where he is said to have been swept off to immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. President Bush apparently has locations that are undisclosed as well, except in his case, they are undisclosed to him.
Yesterday, President Bush’s Secret Service detail did not inform him of his own location until after they had safely left that location. Normally, a member of the security detail updates the president on where he is, as well as what he’s doing and what he just did, every hour on the hour. But yesterday, the agents charged with protecting the president temporarily altered that policy. A Secret Service agent, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the information was withheld from the president “out of concern for his safety and the safety of others.”
“We saw a risk,” the agent said. “There are times where it’s better the president not know exactly where he is, for his own safety, and for the safety of people in the surrounding area. This was one of those cases.”
When asked to be more specific about the location, the agent hesitated. “Let’s just say it was near a water park. And if the president knew that, things could have gotten out of hand. They could have gotten very out of hand, very quickly. I’ve seen what can happen. It’s not pretty.”
The agent said there have been several instances over President Bush’s two terms in office where he learned he was near an amusement park type location, and he jumped out of his limousine and into the park, without protection.
“He sees a water slide or something, and he just jumps,” the agent said. “And he’s going, ‘Whoo-hoo! Let’s go! Belly flop!’ And we’re chasing after him, trying to secure the location. And there’s kids everywhere. And we don’t know which way he went. We find him in the water, cotton candy in his hand, suit soaked. Smiling and giggling. Then we have to lock everything down while we can get him dried off and changed, return him safely to the vehicle. I mean, it’s a nightmare. And then he’s all hopped up on sugar, too, which you don’t even want to know about. He gets into this whole, ‘I know you are but what am I’ thing when he has a lot of sugar. And that can last for hours. My God. It’s awful.”
The agent said that type of behavior by the president is why they developed an emergency policy in late 2003 that keeps the president’s status as strictly “need-to-know,” as it relates to his location. The policy is implemented when necessary. Thus far, it has been implemented four times, including yesterday.
“Sometimes he gets upset about it,” the agent admitted. “He knows he’s not getting the whole story. He’ll go, ‘Darn it, fellas, where in the hell am I? I have a right to know. I’m the president! If there’s a water slide around here you guys aren’t telling me about, I’m going to be real upset!’ But we try to calm him down. We give him a lollipop, tell him it’s for the good of the country. We’re trying to keep him safe. He’s the president. So on. And he says, ‘I know you are, but what am I?'”