When one Mr. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez opened fire on the white house last year November 11th, all attention was on the security detail assigned to the president and the white house family. The moment the man opened fire, the security detail of the country’s top office, and debatably the most powerful office in the entire world, sprung into action. It was not long before the culprit was brought to book, thanks to the efficiency and effectiveness of the president’s security team. This was not the first incident of this nature. The likes of Hernandez had hit on the white house a couple of times before, during times of the then presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. When the incident took place again last year, the Security Council in charge of presidential protection was convened to discuss the alleged assassination plot of president Barrack Obama. It is from such incidences that questions arise on the justice, competence, equality and power in relation to presidential protection. This paper seeks to explain all these in the context of the security detail assigned to the top office of the country.
The presidency is a type of entity referred to as a corporation sole in the law of persons. This means that the presidency can only be occupied by one individual at a time. Therefore, it is for this reason that the presidency is such a sensitive issue. It causes so many wrangles among the many interest groups in the country (Brooks et al 521). The sitting president determines the direction of the country with regard to foreign policy as well as the internal public policies relating to many fields and spheres of life. Hence, various interest groups are usually for or against the sitting president. They are never indifferent about it. The interest groups in America are more than the legally recognized human rights groups. There are power circles run by the elite and who are always determined to influence presidential elections of the nation. These, according to intelligence reports over the past century are the people behind assassinations of the top political figures and presidents. It is for this reason that Homeland Security provides tight protection to the U.S president.
The principles governing the presidential security are outlined in the National Security Act of 1947 (Loeb 74). The Act provides for justice and freedom with regard to the presidential protection. The question is: is the justice observed, and is there freedom in the protection of the presidency. Going back to the times of, John F. Kennedy, Arguably, America’s favorite president of all time, the issue of justice was not observed. Justice was not practiced within the inner circles of the presidential security. This was because of the immense involvement of the secret service. The gross lack of justice in the system was seen in at the time when the president was assassinated in what was later to be referred as the most intelligently planned assassination.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Abraham Bolden, a member of the protection team offered to testify and give evidence on the mysterious killing of the president. He was invited to testify, but on his way to the commission headquarters, he was ordered to go back home. A few days later, the man was accused of conspirator felonies and corruption deals which he did not engage in (Loeb 74). The man was last seen at the command center of the secret service. He was never to be heard of again. Such is the injustice in the inner presidential protection circles. The destruction of evidence, the killing of witnesses and the concealing of the truth are the features of the presidential protection services. The mysterious disappearance of the witness caused a lot of suspicion and claims that the president’s killing was an inside job planned by top government officials who were not for the ideologies of Kennedy.
The issue of freedom within the security circles of presidential security is also on the balance. The members of the presidential security team are not accorded the freedoms that are outlined in the constitution of the United States (Brooks et al 520). The rights and freedoms that an American citizen is entitled to are not observed or respected in the service of protecting the president. The oaths that the officers are subjected to, end up reducing the individuals to machine like entities that are operated like puppets. This is because the members of the security team work under the command and have nothing to their discretion. The individuals are deprived of free will and cannot act out of conscience except where and when the situation dictates so. Such deprivation of such freedoms as the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression, as well as the freedom of association amounts to domination and degradation of the individual.
The issues of equality and power are also paramount in the inner circles of presidential protection. Equality is neither given priority nor prominence when it comes to making appointments to the presidential security team. The hero security personality, Abraham Bolden, was appointed by Kennedy himself at a meeting in Chicago (Hurlburt 431). The security team is selected in such a manner. There are no parameters observed in the selection of the members that serve in the team. This implies that not all competent and professionally qualified security men stand an equal chance of serving in the security team. The appointments are therefore said to be subjective. Such subjectivity undermines the provisions of the constitution that state that all people ought to be treated equal and subjected to the same conditions under similar circumstances.
The lack of freedom, equality, proper use of power and justice within the presidential security circles in the United States of America, are the causes of inefficiencies in the services they provide (Brooks et al 523). The assassinations of such key men as Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, James Garfield, and John F. Kennedy point to these inefficiencies. The late president Kennedy’s death called for justice. It is because of the realization that such cases are not justly handled that subsequent assassinations come about. The assassinations of four American presidents and the attempted assassinations of fourteen others are a clear revelation that there is no objectivity in the evaluation of the security teams. It also implies that there is little justice and equality. Subjectivity in the inner circles of the presidential security service is the key cause of such protection failures.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the presidential protection is an essential function of internal national security. Terrorists target the American presidency, and this is more reason why the presidential security that according to the American law should watch over the sitting president, the former presidents and their nuclear families, as well as the vice presidents and other high profile leaders in the administration, should be enhanced. The injustices and limited freedoms and equalities coupled with abuse of power should be checked on in a bid to cut back the negative brunt of insecurity.
Brooks, Clem., Dodson, Kyle & Hotchkiss, Nikole. National Security Issues and Us Presidential Elections, 1992–2008 Social Science Research. Jul2010, Vol. 39 Issue 4, P518-526.
Hurlburt, Heather. Leadership, Belonging, and National Security in the 2012 Presidential Race. Society. Sep2012, Vol. 49 Issue 5, P430-432
Loeb, D. Homeland Security Presidential Directives. New York. Lulu Press. 2007. Print