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  » Chapter 8
  » Appendix I
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  » Appendix IV
  » Appendix V
  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 427« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VIII - The Protection of the President)

The President's views of his responsibilities as President of the United States were that he meet the people, that he go out to their homes and see them, and allow them to see him, and discuss, if possible, the views of the world as he sees it, the problems of the country as he sees them. And he felt that leaving Washington for the President of the United States was a most necessary--not only for the people, but for the President himself, that he expose himself to the actual basic problems that were disturbing the American people. It helped him in his job here, he was able to come back here with a fresh view of many things. I think he felt very strongly that the President ought to get out of Washington, and go meet the people on a regular basis. 6

Whatever their purposes Presidential journeys have greatly enlarged and complicated the task of protecting the President. The Secret Service and the Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies which cooperate with it, have been confronted in recent years with increasingly difficult problems, created by the greater exposure of the President during his travels and the greater diversity of the audiences he must face in a world torn by conflicting ideologies.

If the sole goal were to protect the life of the President, it could be accomplished with reasonable assurance despite the multiple roles he must play. But his very position as representative of the people prevents him from effectively shielding himself from the people. He cannot and will not take the precautions of a dictator or a sovereign. Under our system, measures must be sought to afford security without impeding the President's performance of his many functions. The protection of the President must be thorough but inconspicuous to avoid even the suggestion of a garrison state. The rights of private individuals must not be infringed. If the protective job is well done, its performance will be evident only in the unexceptional fact of its success. The men in charge of protecting the President, confronted by complex problems and limited as they are in the measures they may

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