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Tag: Secret Service

Secret Service Agent Dies While Training at Bush Family Compound in Maine

By Steve Neavling

A funeral service was held Saturday for Keith Mills, a 50-year-old Secret Service agent who died last week while training during his shift at the Bush family compound at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. 

The Secret Service and law enforcement officials attended the service to honor Mills, who helped protect the late President George H.W. Bush and former President George W. Bush, The Portland Press-Herald reports.

Mills had worked for the Secret Service since 2002. Before that, he worked at the Kennebunkport Police Department.

An autopsy was performed, but Mills’ cause of death has not been revealed. 

Because Mills was working, his death is considered a line-of-duty death. 

Mills left behind a wife and two children, 15-year-old Evan and 12-year-old Avery.

“Laura and I were saddened by the sudden loss of Keith Mills,” George W. Bush said in a statement. “Keith was a dedicated public servant and exemplary member of the United States Secret Service. My family had the good fortune of knowing Keith well, and now our thoughts are with Keith’s family – particularly his children. We join them in mourning the loss of a kind, funny, patriotic man.”

Florida Nurse Accused of Threatening to Kill Vice President Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris.

By Steve Neavling

A Florida nurse has been charged with threatening to kill Vice President Kamala Harris.

Niviane Petit Phelps was arrested last week after authorities said she recorded and sent a series of videos to her husband in jail, according to a Secret Service complaint, USA Today reports.

In the videos, Phelps allegedly said she planned to murder the vice president and was practicing at a gun range and applying for a concealed weapons permit. 

She also claimed Harris “isn’t actually Black,” the complaint states. 

The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida states that Phelps “knowingly and willfully made threats to kill and inflict bodily harm upon the Vice President of the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 871.”

Phelps faces up to five years in prison if convicted. 

Phelps, a 20-year employee of Jackson Health System, was suspended from her job. 

Secret Service Study Finds School Shootings Are Preventable

By Steve Neavling

A Secret Service study concluded that school shootings are preventable if officials pay attention to warning signs. 

The agency’s National Threats Assessment Center analyzed 67 thwarted school attacks in the past 12 years and found that in a vast majority of the cases the plotters gave off warning signs. 

The report concludes that early intervention is the key to saving the lives of students. 

In 75% of the cases, school attacks were “detected” because the would-be shooters spoke publicly about their plans. Others had “histories of school discipline and contact with law enforcement” or exhibited suicidal thoughts, harassing behavior or an interest in past violent attacks. 

In many of the cases, the plots were planned for months. 

“The key findings of the study are clear and consistent: Individuals contemplating violence often exhibit observable behaviors, and when community members report these behaviors, the next tragedy can be averted,” Secret Service Director James M. Murray wrote. “The Secret Service encourages its educational, medical and public safety partners to review the information within, and use it to guide best practices for maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for all children.” 

Secret Service Arrests Two People with Weapons And Letter to Biden Near White House

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service arrested two people near the White House after one of them told agents they were in possession of weapons and a letter to President Biden. 

One of them had a BB gun, and the other was in possession of an unregistered pistol and ammunition, The Hill reports.

“During the course of the encounter and subsequent arrests, the individuals posed no immediate danger to any Secret Service protectee,” the Secret Service said.

The pair voluntarily approached the agents on Friday and said they “were there to meet with the President of the United States and had a letter to deliver to him.”

“On Feb. 13 at approximately 5:24 p.m., two individuals approached U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers near 15th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave,” a Secret Service spokesperson told The Hill.

“One of the individuals disclosed the possession of a weapon and was immediately detained and the second individual disclosed the location of an additional weapon in a vehicle nearby. Uniformed Division officers located the vehicle and took possession of the weapon. The first individual was arrested for possession of a BB gun and the second individual was arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition,” the spokesperson added.

Biden was on the way to Camp David at the time and was not at the White House. 

Secret Service Honors Its First Black Secret Service Agent Charles L. Gittens on 65th Anniversary

Charles L. Gittens, first black special agent for the Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling

Monday marked the 65th anniversary of Charles L. Gittens becoming the first black special agent for the Secret Service. 

“February 1 carries special meaning to the men and women of the United States Secret Service,” the agency wrote in a tribute to Gittens.

Gittens spent 23 years rising through the ranks of the Secret Service, first serving in Charlotte, N.C., before moving on to posts in New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Washington D.C. Field Office, where he became special agent in charge in 1971.

Gittens continued to break racial barriers. In 1977, Gittens became the first African American to serve as the agency’s deputy assistant director of the Office of Inspection, a position he held until he retired in 1979. 

During his career, he protected Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B .Johnson, in addition to Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He also participated in notable undercover investigations and was a member of “The Special Detail,” which was tasked with curtailing counterfeiting actives in the U.S. and abroad. 

“Looking back, when I enlisted in the Service, I knew everybody,” Gittens later said. “Knew every agent personally. It is a lot different now. We have steadily expanded, both in size itself or in the area of our responsibility. But the Service is a lot like home, even now. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Gittens died on July 27, 2011 at the age of 82. 

At the time of his death, then-Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said, “The passing of Deputy Assistant Director Gittens represents a sad day for the Secret Service family. Mr. Gittens’ legacy of accomplishments will live on with all those who knew him, as well as all of us who benefitted from the path he created and standards he set as the first African American agent in the Secret Service. His contributions to this agency and this country cannot be overstated.” 

Secret Service Changing Presidential Detail Amid Concerns about Trump Loyalty

By Steve Neavling

Some Secret Service agents who previously worked with President-elect Joe Biden when he was vice president will return to the White House to serve in his presidential detail in the coming weeks, The Washington Post reports.

Such staffing changes aren’t unusual when a new administration assumes office, but allies of Biden have expressed concerns that some Secret Service agents may align themselves with President Donald Trump, who refuses to concede defeat in the election. 

Trump continues make unfounded allegations about widespread election fraud, a position that courts have repeatedly rejected. 

Some Secret Service agents also have come under fire for defying COVID-19 guidelines to wear a mask, parroting Trump’s reckless behavior during the pandemic. 

More than 150 Secret Service officers and agents tasked with protecting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have either been infected with COVID-19 or have been quarantined. 

“That is smart to give the incoming president the comfort of the familiar,” said one former Secret Service executive, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel changes. “You want him to be with people he knows and trusts, and who also know how he operates.”

Secret Service Ramps Up Protection for Joe Biden Ahead of Potential Victory

By Steve Neavling

As Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gets closer to the 270 electoral college votes needed to clinch the election, the Secret Service is sending more protection to Wilmington, Del.

The Secret Service deployed additional agents for added protection around the Wilmington convention center, which the former Vice President plans to continue using for at least another day, The Washington Post reports, adding that Biden is preparing for a potentially major speech Friday. 

Biden has already been receiving security from dozens of Secret Service agents. 

Despite the influx of new agents, Biden still doesn’t have the full protective detail he’d receive as president-elect. In the past, protection is ramped up after a candidate gives a victory speech, and the opponent concedes defeat. 

As of Friday morning, Biden held razor-thin leads in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. President Trump’s lead is narrowing in Pennsylvania, where thousands of votes have yet to be counted in Democratic strongholds. 

But it doesn’t appear Trump plans to concede the election anytime soon, claiming widespread fraud without any evidence Thursday. Even Republicans have acknowledged there’s no evidence of widespread fraud. 

Under agency protocol, Biden would be treated as president-elect after he electoral college gathers in mid-December to certify the election results. 

Secret Service Agents Often Don’t Wear Masks While Accompanying Trump to Events

By Steve Neavling

Secret Service agents are tasked with protecting the president, but they often don’t wear masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus at campaign events, according to an ABC News review of videos and photographs.

Secret Service agents are required to wear masks, and the CDC recommends the use of face coverings as a primary defense against COVID-19. 

Agents who accompany Trump to rallies and events – both indoor and outdoor– frequently don’t wear masks. Then again, neither does Trump, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus earlier this month.

Trump event mocked Democratic presidential candidate Vice President for relying on masks. 

“I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” Trump said.

At events and rallies for Biden, by contrast, Secret Service agents are seen wearing masks.

The Secret Service declined to explain why agents protecting the president often don’t wear masks, but said in a statement, “The Secret Service continues to follow CDC guidelines regarding the use of PPE. While we continually assess the environment in which we conduct our protective operations, we will not discuss the manner in which we conduct them.”

The Secret Service has been tight-lipped about whether agents have been infected in connection with the diagnosis of Trump and others in his inner circle.