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Warren Commission Report: Page 428« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VIII - The Protection of the President)

The degree of security that can be afforded the President of the United States is dependent to a considerable extent upon the degree of contact with the general public desired by the President. Absolute security is neither practical nor possible. An approach to complete security would require the President to operate in a sort of vacuum, isolated from the general public and behind impregnable barriers. His travel would be in secret; his public appearances would be behind bulletproof glass.


A more practical approach necessitates compromise. Any travel, any contact with the general public, involves a calculated risk on the part of the President and the men responsible for his protection. Such risks can be lessened when the President recognizes the security problem, has confidence in the dedicated Secret Service men who are ready to lay down their lives for him and accepts the necessary security precautions which they recommend. Many Presidents have been understandably impatient with the security precautions which many years of experience dictate because these precautions reduce the President's privacy and the access to him of the people of the country. Nevertheless the procedures and advice should be accepted if the President wishes to have any security.7

EVALUATION OF PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION AT THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY

The history of Presidential protection shows growing recognition over the years that the job must be done by able, dedicated, thoroughly professional personnel, using the best technical equipment that can be devised.8 The assassination of President Kennedy demands an examination of the protective measures employed to safe guard him and an inquiry whether improvements can be made which will reduce the risk of another such tragedy. This section considers first the means used to locate potential sources of danger to the President in time to take appropriate precautions. In this connection the information available to Federal agencies about Lee Harvey Oswald is set out and the reasons why this information was not furnished to the Secret Service appraised. Second, the adequacy of other advance preparations for the security of the President, during his visit to Dallas, largely measures taken by the Secret Service, is considered. Finally, the performance of those charged with the immediate responsibility of protecting the President on November 22 is reviewed.
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